14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Any list of the best writers of vampire novels working today must include the dynamic duo of Barb & J. C. Hendee. Their first collaborative effort gave the world Dhampir, a truly engaging vampire tale set in a rich atmosphere suggestive of mediaeval times. It was there that we first met Magiere, the acclaimed vampire hunter; her half-human, half-elf partner Leesil; and Leesil's extraordinary dog Chap. Magiere and Leesil used to be con artists, staging vampire kills to rob superstitious villagers of their collective wealth, but Magiere grew tired of the game and the guilt that came with it, choosing to settle down in the town of Miiska and run a tavern. As luck would have it, though, Miiska was the home of three very real vampires. The game had become real, and Magiere, Leesil, and Chap endured great pains as they sought to rid the city of its undead killers. Magiere struggled most of all with the newly-acquired knowledge that she was a dhampir who could, she feared, kill Leesil unintentionally when she needed blood to survive a life-threatening injury.
Thief of Lives begins right where Dhampir left off. The vampire threat in Miiska has been dealt with, although one of the vampires is unaccounted for. Magiere's hope that her vampire-hunting days are over is soon dashed when a letter arrives from Bela - it seems the metropolis is dealing with a vampire menace of its own, and a councilman's daughter is the latest victim of a truly vicious attacker. A certain little matter of a burned warehouse in Miiska and the economic impact it has wrought on the town leaves Magiere little choice but to reluctantly head to Bela. By the time she arrives, she has already had to survive one attack on her life. Awaiting her and Leesil is a blast from the past - good old Ratboy. Now freed from the grip of his creator, Ratboy has cleaned himself up pretty impressively and taken on the airs of a nobleman of sorts, creating his own special minions to protect him and, in the case of the tempestuous Sapphire, arouse his ardor. I had my doubts that the Ratboy we met in Dhampir would prove a worthy opponent for Magiere and Leesil in this novel, but the Handees did a great job redefining him.
The vampire hunting action is just as exciting as it was in Dhampir, but Thief of Lives adds a new mixture of potentially noxious potions to the pot. Magiere and Leesil are forced to come to grips with their emotionally troubling pasts, and questions are answered that neither partner ever dared ask before. New foes - and one all too familiar one - stand in opposition to them, posing altogether new types of threats to those who would take their heads. A startling revelation about the duo's uncommonly intelligent dog Chap is revealed, forcing Magiere and Leesil to reevaluate their own history together. As coincidences begin to add up, it eventually becomes clear to our heroes that something fishy is going on in Bela; it's as if someone is playing with them, manipulating their every encounter with their foes. Running around in the shadows is Welstiel Massing, Magiere's mysterious "benefactor" from the earlier novel. You had to wonder what this guy was really up to; Thief of Lives begins to give the reader some answers. Did I also mention that an elfin assassin has come to Bela to deal with Leesil as a traitor to his people?
With so much going on, Thief of Lives gives the reader an even more immersive story than that of Dhampir. You get plenty of plot and subplot for your money, and the increasingly complex characters are explored much more deeply, as we see them forced to deal with the discomfort of painful memories. By the time all is said and done, Magiere and Leesil have begun to forge an entirely new type of relationship.
Readers will be thrilled to know that the story of Magiere and Leesil does not end here. A new and unexpected quest is revealed at novel's end, and some intriguing questions - such as the actual fate of Leesil's elfin mother - jump to the forefront. Clearly, there is fertile ground in which to plant the seeds of a third exciting novel in this uncommonly compelling series, and I will be one of many readers anxiously awaiting its publication.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2005
This is the second book in the series. The first one is called "Dhampir", and the action in this book picks up right after the first finishes. This means that the book is full of references to events in the first book and it might be a bit difficult to follow everything.
The book itself has several good points that lifts it a little bit above most books of this kind. Most specifically it has a couple of main characters as well as villains which actually have a bit of character to them. That is to say that they are very different from each other, and it is not difficult to keep them apart from the first time you are introduced to them.
Generally I would say that this book is as good as, if not a little bit better than, the first book and I will definitely be looking for the next book too.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2006
Following on from the first book `Dhampir` this book shows a major improvement and jump forward.
We find Magaire & Leesil a little after we left them in the first book on the eve of their opening night of the newly built Sea Lion Tavern which got burned down fighting the undead.
But now they get news from the Kings Capitol and a request to come investigate some mysterious deaths that appear unnatural.
So once again Magaire & Leesil are back on the road and off to battle the undead with their faithful hound Chap at their side.
The book moves at a good pace giving more background on the main characters and revealing new information about their relationship as the book goes on.
It is well written, exciting, entertaining and gripping.
Deffinately a great read, although if you haven`t already read it I suggest starting with book one `Dhampir` to get the background information you`lll need to follow the plot.
But if you`ve read book one you won`t be disappointed by book two - I garuntee it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 March 2004
This was a rocking good read. The world of Magiere and Leesil is imaginative, interesting and action-packed. The heroes are human (well, nearly) and wrestle interestingly with their consciences and feelings of inadequacy as well as outside influences. Couldn't put it down til I'd finished it. I look forward to reading more in this series and finding out what happens to these two. Thoroughly enjoyable read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2004
I didnt like the first book much, but read the seconed anyway. My faith in the writing team was restored! This book is much better, faster paced and full of interesting new and old characters.
I carnt wait for the next one. The relationships grew, and the characters developed throughout the story.
I couldnt put it down.
on 25 July 2008
This is the second book in Barb & J.C. Hendee vampire series with Magiere Leesil the fearless vampire hunters, now for a bit of the story.
We start back in the small fishing town of Miiska, Magiere and Leesil have rebuilt their inn after the battle with the noble dead, just as life was getting better they receive a message from the near by city of Bela, here they will face new perils in the form of new noble dead as well as the evil blast from the past, we also see Leesil learning more about his past and also being hunted by elvin assassins, with Magiere we see her learning more about her powers as the Dhampir and the new mortal threats to her life and lives of her friends.
As with the first story we see a well written novel, filled with action adventure and great characters, this book is a bit better than the first, i'm just about to start book three and i'm hoping it will be as good if not better the the previous two.
on 1 May 2009
Thief of Lives is a direct sequel to Dhampir. The action picks up a few months after the end of the first book and sees our two heroes, Magiere and Leesil, travel to Bela to get rid of their undead problem. The plot is fairly reminiscent of the first book but we get to explore of Magiere and Leesil's past which is good because the main strength these books have are these characters.
The sexual tension between the two of them is what elavates this book from a 3 star rehash of the first book to a near genius 4 stars.
Still a lot better than most trashy female vampire/demon/werewolve hunter books out there!