The Review: A Wind in the Night

a wind in the nightA Wind in the Night; Barb Hendee, J.C. Hendee, 2014; Roc, NY.
Here we go with #12 in the Noble Dead Saga, in which our heroine’s Wynn Hygeorht and Magerie (with an M) are once again leading their merry, or not so merry, band of heroes across the globe in search of yes, more globes – ‘spirit’ and ‘air’.

Though Hendee and Hendee tried to split the story-line between the two protagonists, the real action went to team Wynn, not Magerie – or at least not until the end, where . . .

Can’t say as that would be giving away the story. Suffice it to say, as with any good series, the authors left us hanging and the only way to get our fix of Noble Dead, is to read the next, and last book.

As far as character and story goes, I’m thinking, not for the first time, it’s time to put the story to rest. Why? Because the trouble with all good stories is keeping the arch of character growth alive and well.

What do I mean by that? Like real people, a writer’s protagonist, even their antagonist, need to continually evolve, for good or bad, and if they don’t, the story goes flat. If the series is only three or four books long, it doesn’t usually become a problem.  It’s after that point (and the point differs for every series) that it becomes, in my not so humble opinion, harder to keep the arc of evolution alive and well. In the case of the Noble Dead Saga, Hendee & Hendee, who have put their two heroines on opposing developmental arcs, are starting to lose the strength of that arc. In Wynn’s case, hers is an upward climb into independence and maturity, in Mageries’, a downward spiral into monsterhood.

Up until ‘A Dog In the Dark’, these changes were evident and helped propel the story forward.

Now? Not so much.

Not long ago, Charlaine Harris got a lot of flack for ending the Sookie Stackhouse, Southern Vampire Series. But as an author and business woman, she did the right thing. Sookie was beginning to run out of character arc. So rather than wait for her heroine to become tedious and boring, Harris forced her into making the choice that would allow her to exit the story gracefully. An assumed disappointment to readers, a smart move for the author. As far as I’m concerned, it’s better to leave em wanting more, than bored and wishing it would just end.

Does this criticism of Hendee & Hendee’s choice to drag this particular story out longer than I think it should have been mean I don’t care for their writing or that I won’t read anything else?

Not even. Loyalty trumps short-term disappointment every time. A couple of books, out of more than two dozen, won’t sink my Loyal Reader Ship. I love Barb’s ‘Memory Series’ as well as their team ‘Hendee’ ‘Mist-Born’ Witch one. Not to mention that they’ve produced some short stories that I’m looking forward to reading. And despite my bitching over when I think something should end, the Noble Dead Saga is still a great story and one which will always have an honored place on my bookshelves.

On my reader scale of 1-5 stars, I’m giving ‘A Wind in the Night’ 3.5 for over all good story.

The Dog in the Dark: The Review

S3B2_usaThe Dog in the Dark; Barb & J.C. Hendee, 2013; ROC

“The Dog in the Dark” is book thirteen in the Noble Dead series that has been broken up into three parts. And as much as I enjoy the Hendee team books (Barb & J.C.), I have to say its starting to become a struggle to get through these last two (“Between Their Worlds”). It’s not that the writing has deteriorated or that I’ve suddenly developed an aversion to elves, dampirs, fey, and things that go bump in the night. But what I am discovering is that when a story goes over three books and finds no resolution, my attention span begins to wane. And to top that off, by the time I finish the last page I’m almost as depressed as the characters themselves.

Let’s face it folks, when an author deferrers hope for too long, not only does it make the heart-sick, but it does nothing to enhance my desire to continue reading about the character’s failure to launch. And I’m not just picking on the Hendee’s. There are several other authors whose works I follow that  have written umpteen million books involving the same character(s) and I feel the same way about them. After a while it’s just time to let the poor things die. I might be disappointed. I might even call you bad names and rant about ‘how dare you – the author – kill off so and so” (I think that happened to Dana Stabenow when she had the courage to kill off our beloved Jack Morgan in “Hunter’s Moon”), but for the health of the character an author can’t always let the readers and publishers tell them what is or isn’t good authorship.

Anyhow. As a whole I like “The Dog in the Dark”. The character’s are well-developed, the storyline, though a little more convoluted than usual, is really good, and truly the Hendee team are one the better authors at being able to juggle multiple plots at once. But as for the stories continuance, I’d really like to move on.

Will I read the next novel in the series, “The Wind in the Night”? Darn Skippy I will. Remember, reader loyalty is Uno numeral with me, and whether I’m personally fed up with Lesil, Magiere, Chap, Brot’an, Wynn, Chane and Osha always being just one step ahead of disaster or not, I will stay with them until the last monster is destroyed.

S3B3_usaOn my reader’s scale of 1-5 stars, I’m giving “The Dog in the Dark” 4 stars for overall good story, and 3.5 stars making me depressed.

The Noble Dead Series

Barb & J.C. Hendee

From the Author:  From Wikipedia

Barb & J.C. Hendee live in a quirky small town just south of Portland, Oregon. They are the authors of the Noble Dead Saga. Learn more at:

Barb is also the author of the Vampire Memories series and the upcoming Mist Torn Witches series. Learn more at

J.C. and Barb share a home office with their desks pushed up against one another.

They garden year-round and grow a good deal of their own food.

They also seem to spend a good deal of time researching myths and folklore about vampires.

The Noble Dead Saga’s:

I discovered The Nobel Dead Saga’s: One & Two; about four or five weeks ago. As you know, I’m a voracious reader, so once I find an author I really like,  I”ll devour everything they’ve ever written. So between Kenneth Oppel’s – Victor Frankenstein Apprenticeship – and Stephen R. Lawhead’s latest series “The Bright Empire; Book 3, The Spirit Well, I just finished “In Shade & Shadow” (Series Two),  and am getting ready to delve into “Through Stone & Sea”.

There are several reasons I enjoy reading Hendee’s work. First off,  I love fantasy, vampires, and everything elves, dwarves, and alien lifeforms.

Secondly, the authors (husband and wife) are talented enough writers,  that they are capable of telling a story without overused profanity (not that I’m against profanity, just the substitutionary use of it when the author is either too lazy,  or too ignorant to look for something better)  or explicit sexual content (I image they just assume I have an imagination and I’m not afraid to use it).

“Whether he accepted the way Wynn saw the world or he believed any part of what she saw to come did not matter. If he ever wanted her, he had to want what mattered to her. It was necessary to believe in her. 

If he were ever to mean anything more to her, she had to be the heart of his faith.” Chane; Of Truth and Beasts. 

Thirdly, they  just tell good stories with continually evolving plot lines,  that are both entertaining and imaginative. After fifty years of Tolkien, Brooks, Anthony, La Guin and similar fantasy fiction writers, it can’t be easy coming up with a new slant on an old story. Yet somehow Barb Hendee and her husband did; damphirs, noble dead, fey dogs and Forgotten Wars.

There were one or two times (especially in Traitor to the Blood), when I got a little tired of reading about the whining desperation of Leesil trying to locate his Elven mother. But the authors managed to weave enough additional sub-plots into the stories framework,  that I was able to get over myself and keep going.

All and all I enjoyed Series One, and working my way through The Noble Dead Saga – Series Two.

The Vampire Memories Novels:

Once again Hendee has managed to put a new twist to an old tail: Vampire families with telepathic gifts. But in this series of tales, the vampire population is on the down swing and unless someone manages to eliminate the antagonist (Aren’t all vampires antagonist’s?) Julian, there won’t be any left to worry about.

The Vampire Memories are a great romp in fiction; something to take outside and read while your soaking up rays and throwing back ice cold tea. The characters are deep enough to engage your imagination, yet not so deep that your upset when one of them bites the dust (literally – vampires turn to dust when they’re killed, and it can be really challenging to breath  if your near one when it’s head gets whacked off).

So from “Blood Memories” to “Ghosts of Memories” I prophecy that the reader will have at least five great novels  to entertain themselves with.