Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi

The year is 12,900 AD. Vampires known as the Nobility have had control of Earth and kept humans as slaves and walking meals. But when humans revolted and started killing off their masters, they also had to learn to live without most tech in a hostile world populated by the Nobility's creations. Those who have the strength and skill to fight these monsters are called Hunters, and their services come at a hefty price.

On the outskirts of a little village, a beautiful orphan farm girl has been attacked by a vampire who wants to turn her and marry her. Doris was strong enough to get away once with only a bite, but if she wants to live and protect her kid brother she is going to need help. She hires a Hunter by the name of D, who specializes in killing vampires. But even the greatest Hunter on the Frontier is going to have a hard time fighting the powerful Noble that Doris has made an enemy.

This book, and indeed the whole series, is simply genre-defying. It contains strong elements of Sci-Fi, Western and Horror with occasional dashes of Fantasy, Romance and Mystery/Thriller. It also may be the best escapist novel I have read, as the complex universe it is set in is almost impossible to leave behind and the characters will stay in your head for months.

The writing is spookily similar to 18th century horror/thriller classics such as Dracula and/or Carmilla. It is a bit overwritten and stilted at times, but fits the characters and setting nonetheless. The characters feel solid and realistic; even D, who constantly runs the risk of becoming a Gary Stu, but never quite crosses that line.

Fans of old-style vampire stories (hint: no sparkling and plenty of blood), old sci-fi or lovers of creatively-mixed-genre stories should take advantage of the fact that the FLLS has this frequently hard to find book.

5 Stars


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