Review: Minion Special Huntress Edition

  • Title:
    • Minion: Special Huntress Edition
  • Author:
    • L.A. Banks
  • Release:
    • October 8, 3009
  • Format:
    • Audiobook
  • Narrator:
    • Hillary Huber
  • Series:
    • Vampire Huntress Legend 1

Minion is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s the first book in my favorite series ever. I had trouble getting into it originally, back in 2010. I kinda had to force myself to read it since I had the first 10 books as gifts. Recently, I got a friend to read it and he raised a lot of issues I hadn’t previously given a second thought to.

Minion is a very exposition-heavy story. Not much ever goes down, action-wise. It’s all characters spewing lore and backstory. Even some of the lore isn’t really well defined or conflicts with lore from later books, despite the audiobook being the revised special huntress edition.

For people who may not know, Minion and The Awakening were originally one book that was split in two. So Minion basically ends on a cliffhanger at the end of a chapter. Nothing is really resolved as the book is almost entirely setup. This edition, the mass market paperback version/audiobook is the Special Huntress Edition. A version with supposedly faster combat scenes, a cut chapter/new intro, and rewording throughout.

You may be wondering how this is relevant. The first chapter of the first edition was cut. Damali had an entirely different attitude and while a bit clunky and exposition-heavy, it explained a lot of character backstory that’s lacking in the Special Huntress Edition. Another issue from that chapter being cut was it created a plot hole in the book The Awakening. The team fires their manager, Dan, and reverts back to Marlene being the band’s manager. But in the SHE/The Awakening, it’s never explained when or why they fired Dan, something I’d wondered about for a decade until I read this cut chapter. He was their limo driver in the first chapter of the SHE, then in The Awakening, he just casually brings up how he was fired, which is sloppily done.

The other issue from the cut first chapter is how a lot of what Guardians do as part of the bands, their religious affiliations, relationships, nicknames, etc. are all cut from the SHE and seldom mentioned anywhere else in the entire series. The first time I read that cut chapter, it was mind-blowing that so much backstory was cut.

The only other scene I know for sure was changed between the two versions was (minor spoiler) when José revealed that his now-deceased girlfriend DeeDee was pregnant when she was bitten by a vampire. In the original version, Damali knew about DeeDee’s pregnancy and revealed it to the team while José was down and out. In the SHE, José reveals this to Damali and it was a shock to her. It’s moments like this that cumpletely change the context of the story, scenes, and lore.

I’ve read a few forums posts about this book, people asking if it gets better. This is a sentiment I noticed in several reviews as well. While my friend was just starting out, he also had trouble getting into it. I had to explain a lot of the story for him to really follow along. The book really raises more questions than it gives answers, so if you’re worried about the series getting better; Yes, it gets better. Just hang with it.

Despite not having done it myself yet, I suggest if you read or listen to this book and enjoy it, try out both versions to get the full narrative. Maybe re-read it after book 2, once you have the proper context of the story.

I personally enjoyed the narration. A lot of people take issue with it because the narrator wasn’t the same skin color as the protagonist. I won’t even get into how stupid I find that argument. Actually, I lied. Maybe I will. The second protagonist is Hispanic and male. Does the narrator have to be half-black and half-Latino to voice these two characters?

Leslie Banks stated in interviews numerous times that she wanted her books to be inclusive of all races, ethnicities, religions, etc. José, Carlos and, Juanita are Hispanic. Damali, Marlene, Shabazz, and, Big Mike are black. Rider, Dan, and DeeDee are Caucasian while J.L. is Laotion. If these people care so much about the narrator being the same skin color as the character, then this series would need a ridiculous amount of narrators, due to the large cast.

If the skin color of the narrator matters for one of the protagonists, why doesn’t her gender matter for the male protagonist and characters as well? If a black female narrator was chosen to voice Damali, would it not then be culturally insensitive to have her voice Carlos, a Hispanic male? I can not stand inconsistent/hypocrisy or the lack of logic used in these silly arguments. Should there be a narrator for each character in the series? At what point does this representation issue get to the point of absurdity?

Leslie Banks wrote a multi-racial, multi-cultural found family series of people who all accepted each other as brothers and sisters. I think the people whining about the narrator should really look at the message the series and author were sending and rethink their whiny complaints. The whole point of the cast was to say these details don’t matter, they’re family, and nothing, not even their cultural differences will change that.

I’ve always been annoyed that only the first 2 books were narrated. This silly outrage over something that doesn’t matter and is never brought up in other audiobooks is likely the reason that the rest of the series will remain unnarrated. If you want an example, go listen to the Shelby Lake series, narrated by January LaVoy. I defy you to find a sea of reviews bitching about the narrator’s skin color not matching the characters.

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