Anna's Reviews > Memories of Envy

Memories of Envy by Barb Hendee
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Mar 06, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: horror, vampires
Read in September, 2010

As always, Hendee's writing is full of character driven action and a cast of diverse and complicated people things. (Vampires count as people things, right?) One of the aspects that continues to make this series stand out from the other urban fantasy fare is the lack of the stereotypically "strong" female character, the aggressive one who wears leather pants and carries a plethora of weaponry with her. The ladies here are powerful in their own right, but they don't have to physically beat people or "prove" themselves on every page. Both Eleisha and Rose are strong in their vulnerabilities, deceptively soft on the outside but with an inner strength other urban fantasy ladies only wish they had.

Also refreshing? These vampires aren't all human-loving softies. Every one of them is willing to kill, given the right motivation, and some of them positively enjoy it. Their enjoyment doesn't necessarily paint them as villains, however, since these are vampires and let's face it, blood is what they do. It's not prettied up and it's not skimmed over. These are not the romantic heroes of so many recent books.

Simone is a delightfully dark character, a manipulative woman who delights in destroying those around her. She calls it "the game" and she's very, very good at it. This is not a two-dimensional villain type, though. Simone is complex and nuanced, not exactly the kind of person you'd want to hang out with but fascinating nonetheless.

Philip fans out there (and let's face it, I'll have to count myself as one) will be pleased to hear he explores both his dark side and the "good" parts of him, the parts he wants to present to those in the Underground. He's driven right to the brink of his contradictory needs, and ends up needing to pick which lifestyle he'll embrace instead of straddling the line as he's done so far.

In some ways, the book felt like a side venture to the series. Eleisha and company begin searching for an entirely different vampire and stumble upon the discovery of Simone quite by accident. Only at the end of the book do they turn their attention back to the vampire they originally intended to seek out. It's a fun and worthwhile pitstop, but a pitstop nonetheless. That being said, I don't recommend skipping over it, because a good read is a good read, and this is the kind of book I couldn't put down once I'd started.
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