June 13, 2011

Review: Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter

Mercy Blade
Author: Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock, Book 3
ISBN: 110147677X
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel won via GoodReads First Reads program

For more information please visit Faith Hunter's website.

Jane Yellowrock, a shape-shifting rogue-vampire hunter-for-hire, is now taking blood money from the very vamps she used to hunt. But things start heating up in the Big Easy when weres announce their existence to the world, and revive the bitter tensions that run between them and their old enemies -- vampires. Jane finds herself caught in the crossfire.

Mercy Blade, the third installment in the Jane Yellowrock series, is my first time reading anything by Faith Hunter and I can’t help but be floored and shocked that she’s somehow managed to stay off of my radar for this long! This novel truly had everything and more, from amazingly developed characters to a plot that kept me reading late in to the night to see what happened next. Fans of Anita Blake and Mercy Thompson will love this series and it’s hard hitting heroine and action packed plot showcasing a world filled with every form of supernatural creature you could imagine. Really a must read!

So, let my just start right off the bat by saying, I love Jane! She’s so fun and feisty, but completely human with her twisting emotions and inner turmoil. She's got a wonderfully developed voice pulling together a perfectly three dimensional character that is tough as nails yet hides a vein of vulnerability that makes her instantly endearing. But, for yet another layer, she is a Skinwalker, quite possibly the last of her kind, with the soul of Beast living within her, a large cat spirit/soul that becomes dominate when Jane shifts. Throughout Jane has a running inner dialogue with Beast and I loved the primal contradictions between them. Where Beast is very instinctual allowing her predator nature to dictate, Jane relies on a very moral and ethical standard. This becomes a problem to her as she is forced to hunt the Werewolves and is presented with the knowledge that she is killing a 'thinking' creature, not an insane vampire that needs putting down. There was also a lot of great duality between the two egos when it came to relationships. Where Beast sees an attribute she likes and wants it, Jane is forced to consider ramifications and the question of love and loyalty. I really enjoyed the dueling aspects and the very different personalities which really brought in some unusual and interesting elements. But, I also found myself loving the cast of supporting characters as well, from Bruiser to Leo and especially Wrassler. Each is masterfully created with greatly differing personalities, each alluring in their own way.

And while this is Urban Fantasy first and foremost, there was also some great romance and chemistry between the characters. However, that said, I really didn't care for Jane's chosen love interest Ricky Bo. Though we didn't see him much in this novel (I'm supposing that he was present more in previous ones), he comes off as being the safe choice. Of course, this is up until we find out that he's undercover and having relations with two Weres, something that I didn't see coming. It's a source of contention with Jane and honestly, it would be with me too despite the fact that in his job he has to do whatever it takes to gain his queries trust. But, there was just something over all caddish especially in contrast to the very passionate chemistry between Jane and Bruiser. I absolutely loved these two together, but with Bruiser's devotion to Leo, the vampire Master of the City, I can understand Jane's redolence to explore the relationship further. Needless to say, there's some great tension on all fronts with a twist ending that has me eager to know more!

And now for the world building. Honestly, there was a lot that I'd seen before hints my earlier comparison to Anita Blake and Mercy Thompson, however, that said, this novel managed to be it's own wholly unique and original novel. There is a wonderful rich history of the Vampire hierarchy and social structure that was extremely interesting. But, it was the lore that had me most enthralled, such as the lore of the Cursed of Artemis which refers to the Werewolves and how they came to be. I definitely loved comparing the myth to what we actually see of the wolves and how any and all of this ties back to the vampires and other shifters. Also masterfully captured was the atmosphere of NOLA, from the hot humid air that stifles to the cloying magic of the various supernaturals. There is a great texture to the novel giving it scope and dimension that I really hadn't been expecting which really brought the story to life.

All of this in conjunction to the wonderful writing really made this a must read novel that was rich in mystery, suspense, action and romance. Steeped in a great mythology, a vivid and lushly created world these characters really seemed to step off the page creating a novel that I couldn't seem to put down. I was always eager to see what new predicament Jane and company could find themselves in next and how she managed to escape and reveal the truth behind a centuries old feud.

All in all, this was an amazing read! I adored the characters, the world and the writing. Without a doubt Faith Hunter is a superb story teller and I can't wait to go back and get the previous novels in anticipation of number four due out next year. If you haven't check this series out yet, be sure to pick up a copy and give it a try! You won't be disappointed.

My Rating: 5 out 5 Scars

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