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Raiser of Gales  By  cover art

Raiser of Gales

By: Hideyuki Kikuchi,Yoshitaka Amano - illustrator,Kevin Leahy - translator
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
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Publisher's Summary

Vampires: murderous creatures in the shape of humans, they stalk the night feeding on the blood of innocents. Seemingly immortal, they can be destroyed only by the use of a stake through the heart, severing of their heads, or exposure to sunlight. By the year AD 12,090, vampires have ruled the Earth for almost 300 years, and it is only these weaknesses that have kept these foul monsters from totally overrunning the world.

But what happens when those rules no longer apply? The village of Tsepesh sits in the eternal shadow of an abandoned castle, a onetime stronghold of the Nobility, the vampire lords who rule the devastated wasteland of the future. Ten years ago, four children disappeared while playing near the castle, only to mysteriously reappear a month later. Now vampires have begun to hunt in the daylight. Are the two events connected? The villagers turn to the vampire hunter known only as D, but as he follows the children, now adults, the answers he finds may be more terrifying than anything he could ever imagine.

©1985, 2022 Hideyuki Kikuchi; All artwork Copyright Yoshitaka Amano; English translation Copyright 2005, 2022 Dark Horse Comics, LLC. (P)2022 Tantor

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As long as you don’t mind the tropes, you’ll like it!

Long review so buckle up!
I’m guessing if you’re reading these reviews, you’ve likely already read/listened to the first novel, but let me present you with a disclaimer:

It’s important to remember, at the jump, that the first 7 books of this series were published in the 1980s. It therefore suffers from a lot of the more obnoxious tropes of the era (as well as a few of its own making). Among the worst are the obnoxiously misogynistic overtones which are a bit embarrassing by 2020’s standards (huge focus on the women’s bodies, lots of gratuitous assault scenes, hypermasculinity, etc). We also hear an awful lot about how hot D is, which I personally learned to tune out during my first read-through of the novels over 17 years ago, but can totally understand dislike for this kind of repetition. So just be ready for that going into the series.

ALL THAT BEING SAID!
Despite all the pitfalls of the obnoxious romance/action tropes characteristic of the 80s, Hideyuki Kikuchi manages to create a world that’s more science fiction than horror, while subverting major tropes for both. Again, I read these books for the first time 17 years ago as soon as they were published in English, and I can say with sincerity that the world building holds up!

If you decide to get further into the series, you’ll notice that these novels, while containing a basis in the horror genre, don’t really follow the same storytelling tropes of horror novels. The center of the story being villagers trying to discover the root of recent vampire attacks that are seemingly related to the people who disappeared as children, who later reappear with no recollection of what had happened, but with improved intellect. The setup feels very similar to an alien abduction story, but the story itself is such a bizarre and refreshing blend of horror, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, spaghetti western, and thriller, that it’s really and truly a genre all its own.

Our hero is incredibly skilled, and approaches the edge of “this guy is too perfect to be interesting,” but stops short of impervious, and relies JUST ENOUGH on his symbiotic relationship with Left Hand to balance things out. While D has a couple of moments in volume 1 where his behavior is mysterious, and later recognized as kind in his own way, this novel we see more actual development of his character’s human side. While still written as a consummate professional, there is warmth added here that makes him more approachable than the cold, mute stoic of the first novel.

Anyway, if the first novel didn’t put you off, and you don’t mind the 80s tropes, you will likely enjoy this novel (and this series!). I, personally, look forward to listening to all of them as they become available,

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Grate ending

One of the best book conclusions iv heard. I can't wait till the water town book. I think it's book 8, it's very Steampunk and Dark.

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Paul Boehman does a good job!

I'm already very familiar with the story, this is definitely where the series picked up in my opinion. this is a fine underbridge rendition of the book and I can recommend it.