Review+: Minion: Special Huntress Edition, The Awakening & Audiobooks

Minion: Special Huntress Edition, The Awakening.
  • Title:
    • Minion
  • Author:
    • L.A. Banks
  • Release:
    • June 4, 2003
  • Format:
    • Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, MM Paperback, Digital
  • Series:
    • Vampire Huntress Legend #1
  • Title:
    • The Awakening
  • Author:
    • L.A. Banks
  • Release:
    • January 21, 2004
  • Format:
    • Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, MM Paperback, Digital
  • Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, MM Paperback, Digital
  • Series:
    • Vampire Huntress Legend #2

Book Background

Grab some popcorn; this review is going to require a bit of background info. I’m a fan of this series and would like to do it justice. When I say fan, I mean in the original sense, meaning fanatic. Not the modern overused sense for anybody who kinda-sorta likes something. Despite this, I’ve never read the first edition of Minion.

While the cover of the Special Huntress Edition claims it has new scenes; it neglects to tell you is that scenes have been changed or deleted as well. The audiobook is the Special Huntress Edition; despite how it never mentions this and uses the first edition artwork.

The first edition has a chapter that was later cut which gives one of the two main characters an entirely different attitude. After being a fan of the series for 10 years; I read it for the first time in 2020 and found it jarring. It reads like a chapter-long exposition dump; not to say this is a bad thing as the Special Huntress Edition created a minor plothole when this chapter was cut (more on that later). On top of that, much of the lore dumped in this intro chapter is either not stated anywhere else in the main book series or is only hinted at.

This review also covers The Awakening as Minion and The Awakening were originally a single book that author Leslie Banks described as a “tome”; so she split it in half. If you read Minion, it’s suggested that you pick up The Awakening as Minion ends on a cliffhanger in the middle of the story.

Blog exclusive: Here’s the convoluted reading order of the two versions of Minion, the prequel short story, first between the books chapter and The Awakening.

Alright, now that my chapter of exposition is done, I’ll get to the story itself.

Setting

Minion is set in 2003, 20-year-old Damali is the Millenium Neteru; a heaven-made Vampire Huntress; the first one to ever cross two Millenniums. Damali was raised in Foster Care, scooped up off the streets at the age of 15 by Marlene Stone. Marlene is the owner of The Warriors of Light; a music production company. Damali and her team of Guardians spread the light using their music and slay vampires at night; in back alleyways and generally outside of the public eye.

When Damali sees in the news that her former-lover turned drug dealer’s inner circle is being ritualistically picked off, she knows it’s vampires. Carlos Rivera just lost his brother, cousin, best friend, and another close friend and is on the warpath. He and Damali run across each other for the first time since they were teenagers and Damali tries to warn Carlos; being a hardened criminal; the only thing Carlos thinks he needs is a gun.

Facing off against a master Vampire and his twisted second-gen mate, Carlos and Damali have to fight for their lives, bodies, minds, and souls while trying to keep their remaining friends and allies alive along the way.

Carlos is a master strategist and has to use every trick in his arsenal to keep The Vampire Council and Fallon Nuit from exterminating him or getting their hands on Damali. Damali is trying to prevent her own body from being used as a vessel, but save Carlos’ soul along the way; while doing what she was born to do: dusting vampires.

Audio Books:

From the other reviews I’ve seen, some people took issue with the narrator Hillary Huber. I enjoyed her narration; the voices she does for each character make them sound distinct. My only complaint with the audiobooks is that the audio is sometimes poorly overlapped; you’ll hear the narrator say something and in place of a new sentence, she’ll repeat the previous sentence. This happens numerous times throughout the two books.

My Thoughts

Minion / The Awakening will leave you on the edge of your seat, wondering how Carlos is going to escape endless no-win situations and how Damali is going to manage to be a famous artist, covertly slaying vampires, save her lovers soul, keep the members of her team alive, and not be the vampire nations breeding vessel.

The combat is satisfying, the characters all feel distinct and believable and the suspense will have you not wanting to put the book down. The first two books are light on the lore but still manage to do a great job of laying the groundwork for the series as a whole.

If you like vampires, series with deep lore and backstory, violent conflict, suspense, and romance, this series is definitely what you’re looking for.

The first two books are suitable for teenagers and young adults as the series doesn’t begin to get steamy until book 3.

At this point, I’ve tried to recommend this series to anybody and everybody I know. I feel like I’m the only person who remembers this series exists sometimes and I wish I had other people to talk about it with. The paperbacks and first editions can be found easily and cheaply online. The first two books can be obtained as audiobooks and all or most can be obtained digitally, so they’re just asking to be read.

While being part of a 12 book series with an unfinished young adult trilogy (R.I.P. Leslie Banks), four-part sequel comic (or a one-part graphic novel), over 35 between the books chapters and several short stories, Minion and The Awakening can be read (or listened to) as a one-off story, if you don’t wish to continue with the series.

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