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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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06/13/2008 Archived Entry: "Novel review: Vampire Hunter D Volume 5: The Stuff of Dreams"

Vampire Hunter D Volume 5: The Stuff of Dreams
Story by Hideyuki Kikuchi
Art by Yoshitaka Amano
Published by Digital Manga Publishing
ISBN-10: 1595820949
ISBN-13: 9781595820945

Review by Jilly Gee

Vampires, or Nobility, as they are more commonly called in Hideyuki Kikuchi's world, occupy the same world as humans, yet they do not coexist peacefully. The Nobility often prey on humans, and the humans in turn hunt down the Nobility and kill them. One such hunter is startlingly only half human, the other half of Nobility descent. Choosing only to call himself D, he wanders the Frontier, not necessarily helping others, but doing his job as a vampire hunter.

It is strange in many ways then, when he is called in a dream by a young girl to what seems to be a small, prosperous town. Not only is the town peaceful and rich in resources in this harsh land of the Frontier, the Nobility lived in peace with the humans in that little town in the not too distant past. No one knows why they just up and left, but one returned thirty years ago, biting the young girl seen in D's dream. Because of that wound, Sybille sleeps on, never waking, never dying, and never aging in the town's hospital, thanks to the immortality caused by that Nobility's bite. As a vampire hunter, D does not see the purpose in being there, as the vampire that marked Sybille is long gone. Leaving the town, however, proves to be an impossibility.

His first attempt results in a farmer trying to run the half human through with a spear and a subsequent attempt has D coming in again by the same road he left, despite having never turned his horse. Investigation into the town and Sybille's past cause a mysterious uprising of farm animals against him, a poisoning by an elderly woman, and numerous other incidents that could have been fatal.

While it's always exciting to read the copious amount of action and fight scenes D gets into, the mystery of the town is what kept me up at night, unable to put it down. After all, there is definitely a secret that a town like that is hiding. Unlike a carrot on a stick, the reader always gets closer to the answer. Generous hints are given, making the big reveal that much more satisfactory, having actually lead up to it instead of just pulling the conclusion from out of nowhere.

Having read only the first novel before this fifth volume, I would like to reassure people that are jumping in from the middle that this series need not be read in full or consecutively in order to be enjoyed. While there is the ongoing--and possibly excruciatingly slow--unraveling of D's origin, the novels seem to be episodic. The Stuff of Dreams is a full story all on its own, with its own full set of supporting characters and an absolute ending for those characters. Any hints to D's past are so subtle that they are not seen as hints to new readers, eliminating the kind of confusion that would be felt when tuning into a drama in the middle of a six part story arc where understanding every plot twist relies heavily on having seen the previous episodes.

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