Reviews May Contain Minor Spoilers

If you're reading a review you should expect to hear some spoilers. I try to keep them to a minimum though.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Vampire Hunter D: Pilgrimage of the Sacred and the Profane

Another travelling story! D's not stuck in a village!

Night 7
Vampire Hunter D: Pilgrimage of the Sacred and the Profane (1988) By: Hideyuki Kikuchi, Illustrated By: Yoshitaka Amano

Impressions
In a town at the edge of an impassable desert where insects dirge, several figures gather. Granny Viper, a 'finder,' offers the Bullow Brothers a commission to get her across the desert. Until a better prospect appears in the form of D. The younger Bullow Brother tries to pick a fight, but Granny implores D to join her. D ignores them both to meet with a gentleman about 'a person D has great interest in.' Thus, the group gathers to reach Barnabus, the village across the desert.

Unlike the journey in Demon Deathchase, D is allied with the other characters. They don't have the most effective of bonds, but they back each other up for most of the novel. It's nice to be on the road again since D stories usually become way more interesting with multiple locales. However, the desert ends up being far less impressive when the 'psychic attacks' start. They wouldn't be that big of a deal except that they're similar to the dream crap that cropped up last novel. As the novel continues, the dream aspect becomes even more annoying.

Our Hero
D has his own mission but lets his better side shine though in aiding the caravan. He could also just be being practical as he has a book that reveals some of the dangers of the desert. D is well on his road to being a hero, and his nonchalant claims about not caring for his companions really start to get old after he saves them once or twice.

Obscure Observers
Granny Viper is a people finder who'll do anything to get her charge across the desert. Granny Viper is a tough old bird, and her mysterious pot is one of the most original ideas in this book. Her ending is a little tacked on and contradictory. Self loathing can only go so far.

Tae is one of the 'hidden.' Having lived for eight months in a vampire's castle, she is mostly talked about in whispers. Her future likely ruined by this mar in her history. She spends so much of the novel as a liability that it's hard to take her seriously.

The Bullow Brothers serve as Granny Viper's official bodyguards, but the younger has a 'score' to settle with D. Both the brothers are the weakest links in the book. The younger is annoying and contrarian. The older is aloof and disappears for half the novel.

Wasteland Atmosphere
The Western feel bleeds from this book right from the saloon/whorehouse at the start. The Vampire Hunter series has always had something of a Western film influence, but this one really lets that aspect shine. The wasteland itself has some interesting ideas that unfortunately get explained to oblivion by the end.

In the End
The end is where Amano really messes things up. He tries to have a message about preconceptions and judging oneself, but it really ends up muddled an confused. Too much nonsensical plotting and ridiculous betrayals.

Overall
This journey is one that's mostly worth taking. Amano mentions that this is his first big attempt at characterization. He makes a good stab at it, but goes a bit too broad. He ends up generalizing on Dhampirs while noting that we've been following the exception for six books now! There is solid action and some fun ideas, but it doesn't quite cut it.
6/10

Next Time: Dark D.

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