November 30, 2009

Sister of the Dead

Sister of the Dead (The Noble Dead)Title : Sister of the Dead
Author : Barb and J.C. Hendee
Reading Dates : 29 Nov - 2 Dec 2009

Book Summary of Sister of the Dead

Realizing that there is more to Magiere's creation as a dhampir to slay undeads, Magiere and her half-elf companion decide to investigate her past as well as the motives of her sire. For this purpose, the two accompanied by Chap, a fay in the form of a dog, and the young sage Wynn travel first to the village of Chemestuk where Magiere grew up.

At Chemestuk, Magiere is told by her aunt Bieja of the day Magiere's mother Magelia was forcibly taken away by their new lord of the fief, his son and a masked man. Bieja had no further contact with any of them until one of the noblemen who had taken Magelia away suddenly brought the baby Magiere back. The next day, Magelia's body was sent back and the noblemen disappeared from the keep. When Magiere, Leesil and Wynn investigate the keep despite Chap's protests, they find a mysterious hidden room with the bones of the 5 forgotten races of the Children of Fay killed as a blood sacrifice to create Magiere.

With nothing more to learn in Chemestuk, the 4 companions then decide to travel to the city of Keonsk in hopes of finding records on Magiere's father. On the way there, they help the village of Pudurlatsat battle Vordana, an undead creature, who has been slowly killing the village. Although they defeat Vordana, Magiere finds an unexpected link to herself when Vordana reveals he had been set to watch for the coming of a dhampir. At Keonsk, they meet Osceline who tells them that her master Ubad was there at Magiere's birth and awaits Magiere in the village of Apudalsat.

At Apudalsat, Ubad shows Magiere her creation via Magelia's ghost. Magiere thus learns how her mother was first raped by the vampire Bryen Massing, the father of one Welstiel Massing who had once purported to be Magiere's ally. Bryen died as part of Magiere's creation while Magelia bled to death after birthing Magiere. Welstiel saved Magiere from Ubad by faking her death with Magelia's cooperation but Welstiel's motives for doing so is still unclear.

Enraged by what she has seen, Magiere and Chap apparently slay Ubad before deciding to head north to find Neina, Leesil's mother whom he had once believed dead.

Book Review of Sister of the Dead.
The Noble Dead series grows more interesting. There are still many unanswered questions regarding Magiere's destiny as there seem to be at least 2 opposing forces attempting to make Magiere their ally. Neither side's motives have been explained but both have meddled greatly with Magiere's life, as demonstrated when Magiere was sired and Chap's pushing of Leesil into Magiere's life. And yet, neither side maybe absolutely wrong in what they believe about Magiere's nature. As Magiere discovered when Ubad attempted to coerce her into consuming the element of Spirit, she was in fact unable to do so. And it is these questions which continue to make the series interesting.

Another interesting aspect of the series is the role reversals between the male and female lead. In Sister of the Dead, Magiere is the hunter while Leesil is the nurturer. Often, Magiere is the one who fights the undead while Leesil is the one who keep her from giving in to despair over her nature.

Apart from that, the addition of Wynn makes Magiere and Chap's view of the undead creatures they fight seems at times too harsh. While Magiere is intent on denying any possible human emotions attributed to vampires, Wynn believes otherwise and the vampire Chane who has rescued Wynn twice because he cares for her seems proof of this. It certainly makes one wonder who is right in this case.

Links of Interest.

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