Shadow Rites

Courtesy of Amazon.comSo I was off for two weeks, first a vacation to New Orleans and then recovering from said vacation. ūüėČ But while on the trip (or more to the point on the way¬†to Nola), I decided that what could be more fitting that reading the latest Jane Yellowrock novel since it takes place in the French Quarter? Be warned, this book is fresh off the presses so there will be SPOILERS here!

Jane has the Everhart-Truebloods down (Molly et al) down for the witch conclave. It’s very important that this meeting happens because having the witches on the side of the vampires may mean the difference between war or survival when the European vamps come over.

Scene opens with Jane getting woken up by a witchy scan, something that doesn’t anticipate reacting with Jane’s skinwalker magic. She bolts after a couple witches trying to spy on her house but they get away. Thinking that they’ve seen the last of them for a while, Jane and her partner Eli head over to vamp HQ to report the incident to Master of the City, Leo Pellesier.

Unfortunately, the witch magic lingers somehow and triggers Gee DiMercy into attacking Jane. She’s nearly dies, surviving thanks to vamp Edward and Leo giving her blood. Somehow this translates into Leo giving Edward to Jane. Not sure what Leo’s end game in¬†that is but it should be interesting to see. I like Edward.

Angie, Molly’s daughter, inadvertently (or possibly advertently) makes a vow with said vampire, which freaks her parents and Jane right the fuck out. Which is understandable because Angie’s all of about 6. Edward is knowledgeable enough to realize that he couldn’t and shouldn’t act on the words of a child, but when she reaches adulthood…well I assume we’ll see what this means.

In the midst of all of this, a very old vampire named Ming of the former Mearkanis clan has been found after being assumed true dead in the very first novel, Skinwalker. Someone has been feeding on her blood, keeping her barely alive and pliant enough through magic. Leading to the conclusion that they’re going to hit the witch conclave but who and for what purpose.

This book wraps up some things that have been niggling around since the very first book. I have a feeling that we’re nearing the end of this excellent series and I both really want to see where this goes and dread it ending.

As always, this is wonderfully written. You get tense when it’s tense, you relax when it’s relaxing. And as an added bonus, you get a nice little culinary guide to New Orleans! Check out the Stanley on Jackson Square especially. Best food experience I had on my recent trip.¬†Rating: A+

Jane Yellowrock: Dark Heir

Courtesy of goodreads.comOnce more, I’m going to have to put a SPOILERS warning on this. Since this book is the latest in the Jane Yellowrock series, it hasn’t been out too long.

Okay, so this is take two. I wrote out this whole thing and…it didn’t publish. *sigh* So,¬†Dark Heir is Faith Hunter’s latest Jane Yellowrock novel. We come into it with Jane and her partner, Eli and Alex Younger, prepping the New Orleans vamps for their upcoming (though when exactly is unknown) meeting with an entourage from the Europeans Mithrans (yeah, I don’t really like that term for vampires. Why gussy it up?). They’re doing pretty well, things are relaxed, which is naturally when things go to shit.

New Orlean Master of the City, Leo Pellisier, is keeping a secret in the basement. One that’s a bit of an open secret among the vamps and the reason the Europeans are sending an entourage. Chained in one of his sub basements (clearly enchanted to keep out water since New Orleans is below the water table) is¬†the original vamp. The son of Judas Iscariot (not the first time I’ve seen this sort of theme but not quite used enough to be trope-y either), Joses Bar-Judas is the progenitor and therefore the strongest with the strongest blood.

Leo keeps him chained and starved in the basement to feed off from. Joses is clearly gone round the twist at some point as evidenced by his killing of fifty-two people upon escaping his confinement (with help from some conspirators against Leo). He only fed on a few of them, the rest of them he just killed for the fun of it.

Jane (temporarily) resigns her commission as Leo’s enforcer to take a contract from the city and the state to hunt down Joses and bring back his heart. The trouble is, he’s not only the world’s strongest vamp (and getting stronger the more he consumes blood), he’s a vampire¬†witch. Jane calls on some locals for help and gets a surprise visit from her best friend Molly Trueblood (I think…Maybe it’s Everhart? Can’t remember and too lazy to open the book up again right now), a witch from the Tennessee area.

Since this book is relatively new, I won’t do a play-by-play. Suffice it to say, there’s thrills and chills (I just had to. It was right there), chases and near misses. The thing I really like is that even though Jane is in a somewhat steady relationship with honorio¬†George (better known as Bruiser), Faith Hunter hasn’t turned her into a damsel in distress. So many writers start out with strong female characters who “don’t need no man” but eventually get with a man and all of a sudden, they can’t do anything without said man. If they’re hurt, they need the man to care for them and get pissed if he doesn’t. If they were a no sex until marriage¬†type, they’re suddenly porn worthy in how much sex they’re having (I’m looking at you Anita Blake).

Jane has been and looks like she always will be (knock on wood), a kick ass woman. She saves herself, even when it looks like she’s about six inches from death. And then she ends up saving the city/state/world. ¬†Awe. Some. So do yourself a favor and pick up these books. You don’t¬†have to read the other books in order to get this one, but it certainly helps. Rating: A.

Blood Cross

Courtesy of goodreads.comWell, I missed last week and might miss the next couple of weeks due to being in the middle of moving (yay!). So I’ll review the next book in the Jane Yellowrock series this week,¬†Blood Cross. This book starts pretty much where the last one ends, maybe a few months down the line. Leo Pelletier, local vampire master, is deep in mourning for the ‘son’ that Jane killed last book (let’s face it, the son was crazy with a capital CRAZY). This mourning state, which Faith Hunter calls dolore, can cause a vamp to fluctuate between depressed and outright nuts. For instance, when Leo Pelletier tries to burn Jane and Jane’s best friend (and her two kids) out of Jane’s home during a hurricane. Luckily enough, Leo isn’t so crazy that he’ll actually burn children alive, so when Jane’s god-daughter Angie comes out of hiding to talk to Leo, he leaves without doing too much damage.

Jane is oddly hired by the local vampire council to hunt down one of their own in New Orleans shortly thereafter. Someone is breaking the carefully crafted rules that vampires live by in order to be accepted by humans. These rules are the only things that keep humans from just eradicating them, and they know it.

The problem here is, they don’t know¬†who is breaking the rules, just that it is a vampire. That leaves Jane with very little to go on, which isn’t the worst thing in the world but it will take her longer than usual to track this rogue vamp. To make things worse, the victims of this vampire are witches. Witches and vampires generally do¬†not get along and this is just straining things further. Not to mention that vampires themselves are notoriously tight-lipped.¬†To add to the misery, little Angie and her little brother Evan are taken by the bad guy. This causes Jane, who was an orphan and therefore has this thing about protecting kids, a lot of guilt. Jane’s inner shifter, Beast, has to take over her several times to keep her functional.

We learn a lot more about Jane’s history in this book, vampire history and the New Orleans vamps in particular. I really enjoyed this book. I think that Faith Hunter hit the right balance¬†of bad ass vamp hunter and vulnerable orphan in Jane. Often times in these sorts of books, the bad ass female lead with turn into a damsel in distress at the drop of a hat and need to be rescued by Man Of The Book (or Men in the case of Anita Blake). Sure Jane is a bit more vulnerable emotionally in this book but that doesn’t stop her from doing her job. I can’t wait for the next book in this series since I’ve read them all so far and they’ve all been pretty darn good.¬†Rating: A

Skinwalker: A Jane Yellowrock novel

Courtesy of Goodreads.comI’ve read all through the Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter but I haven’t reviewed any of them yet, which is a shame because they’re really quite good books. The series starts out with¬†Skinwalker, which just happens to be what Jane is, though we don’t find that out right away. We’re introduced to our protagonist Jane Yellowrock as she rolls into New Orleans on her motorcycle, Bitsa. Bitsa is so named because she’s apparently made out of “bits of” other bikes. That tickled my fancy. ūüôā

At any rate, Jane is something of a mercenary/bounty hunter. She’s licensed to handle vamp problems, which include the right to kill them if necessary. Since vamps aren’t really citizens in this world, as yet, the US government isn’t terribly worried if you knock one off for bounty money. Vamps in this world are sort of considered foreign citizens and their compounds as foreign territory. The humans leave it up to them to police themselves because humans just can’t handle them for the most part.

And for their part, vamps police themselves very well. They¬†want to be accepted by human society. They want power that comes from being citizens, of holding property and earning money. So they don’t want to compromise that due to some nutso vamp going on some killing spree, which is what’s happening in New Orleans right now.

High powered vamp Katherine Fontanbleu has hired Jane to find a rogue vamp whose killing off not humans but other vamps. They don’t know who it is, don’t know how its killing the other vamps. They want it caught and they want it dead, which is where Jane comes in. Jane has specific requirements when she takes a job and Katherine readily agrees to them all with no argument, which rather puts Jane on edge.

Jane herself is Cherokee but with little memory of where she came from before the age of twelve when she was found wandering some woods. She was raised in an orphanage and that’s about what she knows. She knows, of course, that she’s a skinwalker and the last one to her knowledge but she keeps that from most everybody. She has few friends and no romantic entanglements and she likes it that way.

So naturally, within the course of a few days, she finds two hot guys in New Orleans that are her type and who light her fire but are also pretty suspicious fellows. She finds herself more than a little off balance with these two and the master of the city, Leo Pellisier, who is very interested in what she is. Somehow Jane has to tango around all three of these guys to get at what’s going on.

These books are a good combination of urban fantasy and engaging mystery. I liked the fact that I was kept guessing the whole time. There were some personality traits of Jane’s that I didn’t particularly care for but the world has been crafted well enough that I could see why those traits came about. I like the fact that the protagonist is a strong, independent female who is, for once, not a white girl with red hair as seems to be par for the course these days. Also, I adore New Orleans. ūüôā I highly recommend this whole series. Rating: A.