Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pale Fallen Angel, Parts 1 and 2 (Vampire Hunter D, Volume 11) by Hideyuki Kikuchi (4/5 stars)

This is Volume 11 in the Vampire Hunter D series. This is also the first two parts of this four part epic story called "Pale Fallen Angel"; parts three and four are in Volume 12. This was a very good Vampire Hunter D book!

In this book D is hired by Baron Byron Balarge to serve as his guard. D doesn't usually work for Nobles but given that the Baron is on his way to kill his Noble father; D consents to join him. As with most of D's adventures; they are beset on by natural disasters and assassins at every turn.

This book was right up there as one of my favorite Vampire Hunter D stories. The action is non-stop; in fact the characters rarely get to catch their breath between things attacking them and "natural" disasters running into them. The assassins are all very interesting and have interesting powers. The characters that end up accompanying D and the Baron are also fascinating. D's interactions, especially with the acrobatic brother and sister, give additional incite into his character.

This book was exceptional in that you get to learn a lot more about how the Nobility were wiped out, more about D's history, and more about the history of the world in general. The Baron himself has a complicated history and character and harbors many secrets that I am eager to find out. Kikuchi really excels at coming up with creative dangers in his world and with creative characters.

This book could be read as a stand alone (assuming you read the next volume, parts 3 and 4 after this one) you don't need to read all of the books before this one to enjoy the story. This book does end with a lot of things unresolved; but it doesn't leave you totally hanging like his last 2-book story did. You could read this book and then read parts 3 and 4 later; but I would recommend getting both volumes 11 and 12 so that you can finish up the story.

Kikuchi's writing style comes across as a bit choppy at times. Occasionally I also have trouble telling who is saying what; and the constant descriptions of D's beauty get to be a little much sometimes. But, those who like this series are used to all those drawbacks.

Overall, this was one of the best Vampire Hunter D books yet and I look forward to finishing the story in Volume 12.

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