May 22, 2010 Books, Reading, Reviews 4 ★★★★


(Read my review for Skinwalker here)

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Book #1, Skinwalker!!

With the death of Leo Pellissier’s “son” at the end of Skinwalker, Jane has one more enemy where she might otherwise have found an ally in New Orleans. Having agreed to stay in New Orleans until Katie returns to health, now Jane Yellowrock finds herself embroiled in a fight for the rule of New Orleans even while she tries to discover more about herself and about the vampires. And babysits.

I knew that’d get your attention.

We meet up again with characters who are part of the vampire aristocracy of New Orleans, and none of them are looking for new friends. At best, because Leo holds Jane responsible for his son’s death (a particularly good scene unfolds when she repeats over and over again to an incensed Leo that what she killed was NOT his son, but was in fact his son’s murderer), the rest of them stay away because they know she is his kill. There’s certainly no one coming to her defense as she tries to investigate the vampire who is making children and releasing them before they’ve been tamed. The two she encountered in Skinwalker, the brother and sister, return to the forefront of our minds: someone is making rogues and not keeping track of them. While before she was unavailable to help, this time Jane’s witch friend Molly won’t be left out of the action, and she brings her children with her. (Admittedly, though one is supposed to be as fond of Molly as Jane is, it was Molly’s daughter that interested me more – Molly herself I could have done without.) Author Hunter has now started introducing the other elements of her world, such as witchcraft, which have previously only been mentioned in passing. Jane also continues her meetings with Aggie, trying to ascertain her lineage. She begins to remember her father, and I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m starting to get the idea that our skinwalker is a helluva lot older than she looks. The descriptions of her childhood do not recall modern-day reservation living, but rather bring to my mind William Golding’s The Inheritors – a story of early humans.

In her quest to discover who is breaking vampire code with the young rogues, Jane meets a few of the eldest vampires (in varying degrees of mental health), discovering new information about their fall from grace – the secret they’ve been trying to keep since their existence was revealed to the world. Meanwhile, the child-stealing escalates and results in Molly’s children being taken, thus bringing in more members of the witchy community just to make things a bit more complicated. History (personal and otherwise), folklore (personal and otherwise), and crime-solving all merge amidst attempts to sort out the right and wrong sides in the power struggle – and despite their personal issues, Jane is forced to confront that Leo is the best for New Orleans and for the continuing relationship between humans and vampires.

We’re left still unresolved in the case of Leo and Jane, but steps have been taken in a direction some of us can be happy with with regards to not-so-undercover cop Rick. Personally, I’m still holding out for Leo, because while Rick is a stand-up normal sort of guy with a job and all sorts of real-world real-life crap, Jane feels just a little too out of the realm of the status quo to be completely happy with normal. (And yet I was totally rooting for George, as he straddles the two realms – but in the end I don’t think he’d be THE match for her either.) I’m waiting for a bigger confrontation with Leo, because his pain on Hunter’s page is so palpable, I want him to reach a place of closure. I didn’t realize I cared for Leo until he snapped – I thought he was, at best, a charasmatic gangster with an agenda, but his reaction to his son’s death and his paths of vengeance have done a lot to reveal his character.

This installment was a page-turner, which shouldn’t surprise me considering its predecessor. Rich character development and plenty of action keep the story flowing, and we’re given just enough information to make us beg for more. Looking forward to further adventures of our shape-changer and Beast, of the vampires of New Orleans, and of the sorta-normal folk who get caught up in it all.