Review: Nothing Like the First Time

  • Title:
    • Nothing Like the First Time
  • Author:
    • L.A. Banks
  • Release:
    • December 2005
    • Scumazon lists the release date as January 1, 2006, though they list anything they don’t know as Jan 1. It was given away at large bookselling chains around the release of The Damned. In a December 2006 blog post, L.A. Banks referred to the VHLS sampler as a “little red sampler that came out last December”,
  • Format:
    • Paperback
  • Series:
    • Vampire Huntress Legend 0.5

Nothing Like the First Time is a prequel short story set in 1997. It covers the story of how Damali and Carlos met for the first time. It features elements of attempted sexual assault on a minor and threats of gang rape. The events of the story differ from the first telling in book 3, The Hunted. They more closely match up to the version of events told in later books from the series and I personally consider it the canon version on the VHLS Wiki.

So the biggest appeal of this short story is getting to see exactly how Carlos and Damali meet for the first time from their perspectives as a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old respectively. In The Hunted, Damali somewhat retells the tale to Inez, though in much less detail. In a later book in the series, Carlos and Damali revisit the memory together as adults and even then, it doesn’t cover all of the details in this story or tell the full version. At one point in the series, Inez confronts her mother about her own sexual assault and the attempted sexual assault of Damali, which more closely resembles this version than The Hunted.

The supernatural/horror elements are relatively minor. Damali kills a vampire with a pipe, and she senses something watching her, but other than that, it’s all humans. Carlos does give off some stranger danger vibes, but I think that would be the case with any 17-year-old rolling up on a 15-year-old girl and telling her to get in his car, even if it’s genuinely for her safety. It manages to maintain a suspenseful and exciting atmosphere as Damali can’t seem to catch a break, bouncing from one predator to another, until Carlos saves her.

One interesting bit of lore trivia is that Carlos’ sister Mialissa is namedropped for the first and last time in this story. At every other point in the series, she’s referred to simply as “Carlos’ Sister.” (Or my sister, if from Carlos’ perspective, but whatever.)

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