Friday, March 31, 2017

Series Review: Blood Cross & Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter

I am a late comer to the Jane Yellowrock series, having started after I was introduced to the world in Faith's new spinoff series, Soulwood. But I am enjoying Jane and Beast so much, that I am in the middle of a binge read/listen. The big problem with binge reads for me in a series like this is that the stories start to run together and I can't remember what happened in which book - so that is why you may see a couple of these review posts where I am reviewing the books together.

Let me take a moment to talk about this narrator, Khristine Hvam, because I think she does an exceptional job. She easily distinguishes between characters, genders, accents and animals. I love her depiction of Beast and tend to get Beast thoughts stuck in my head as I'm walking around "fast fast fast, paw paw paw." So I will be adding this narrator to my favorites list.

Following Skinwalker, we pick up with Blood Cross, and Jane has stayed on in New Orleans to hunt down rogue vampires. Her best friend Molly is visiting Jane with her kids in tow. I seriously love Molly's witchy daughter, Angie Baby. She is a powerful little girl with a sweet innocence but seemingly prescient knowledge about the world around her. She and Jane have a special relationship that grows as the the series continues, and I like that she was included as a secondary character to brighten up some of the dark fantasy elements.

While Jane has stayed in New Orleans to hunt down rogue vamps, she still has to worry about Leo Pellissier, the Master of the City, in his crazed grief over the loss of his son... that she kinda killed. So Jane has danger coming at her from all sides, and she must work really hard to keep the danger away from her friends. 

In Mercy Blade, Jane is continuing to work for the New Orleans vamps. Girrard DiMercy is introduced as a new and interesting character and species of indeterminate origin. It's hard to tell if he is friend or foe, but he does show up and the most interesting times, which leads to much suspicion of his motives. Werecats and werewolves also show up on the scene causing havoc around the city, and Jane finds herself embroiled in a dispute between the weres and the vampires. 

The action in both of these installments was great, particularly when we get Beast's point of view. One thing that surprised me about both stories is that when someone important went missing, there didn't seem to be a rush to go out and rescue them right away. I kept thinking someone would dash off to be the hero, but it was much more of a drawn out process that made me think how much the missing people must have been suffering during that time.

Possible love interests for Jane are further developed with Rick Lafleur, our undercover cop, and George Dumas, Leo's primo blood servant. I like both of these gentlemen... but I have a bit of prejudice against Rick based on what I know about him from the Soulwood series. However, I do love getting this backstory on Rick now that I didn't have when reading Soulwood. I love that Beast is mate-obsessed and is constantly giving her own opinion on who would make suitable bed partners. It leads to some interesting and funny conversations between Jane and Beast.

I'm happy this is still an ongoing series so that once I run through the ones already released, I will have more to look forward to. I recommend this series to any fans of urban fantasy or dark fantasy, or those who enjoy strong female leads. I should have reviews up next week for Raved Cursed and Death's Rival, as well as some of the novellas. 

Series:     Jane Yellowrock #2
Pub. Date:April 13, 2010
Publisher:Audible Studios
Narrator:Khristine Hvam
Length:14 hrs 48 min

Series:     Jane Yellowrock #3
Pub. Date:Jan. 4, 2011
Publisher:Audible Studios
Narrator:Khristine Hvam
Length:14 hrs 43 min