Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc on January 4, 2011
Audio: Khristine Hvam for Audible Froniters
Things are heating up in the Big Easy for Jane Yellowrock.Weres have announced their existence to the world, and revived the bitter tensions that run between them and their old enemies: vampires. As a trusted employee of Leo Pellissier, Blood Master of the City, Jane finds herself caught in the cross fire. When Jane is attacked by a pack of marauding werewolves, she is thankful for the help of a mysterious stranger named Girrard. He explains that he used to be Leo’s ‘Mercy Blade,’ a sacred position charged with killing vampires who have gone insane. What Jane doesn’t know is why this powerful assassin left New Orleans–or, more troubling, why he’s now returned. It’s definitely not to make Jane’s life easier…
Jane Yellowrock, rogue vamp hunter extraordinaire, has finally begun to acclimatize to her life in New Orleans. Never one to stay in one place for long, Jane is used to having few allies and even fewer friends. But her year working for Leo Pelissier has introduced to all sorts of new people who care about her…be they friend or foe, dead or undead.
Working for Leo, the grief-mad vampire and Master of the City, Jane is responsible for putting down vamps who break the accords and dealing with the other things that go bump in the night. MERCY BLADE expands the world that Faith Hunter has created, including new species of supernaturals, each with their own culture and armed with their own political and personal agendas. Because no matter what type of supernatural you are, if you’re dealing with vamps there are going to be some long-standing grudges. And given the level of secrecy surrounding vamp history, Jane’s going to need to do some serious sleuthing to stay one step ahead of whoever it is that’s gunning for Leo.
The world building in this series has always been excellent, but in MERCY BLADE Hunter kicks things up a notch. When you’ve read as many urban fantasy series as I have, you really start to appreciate how rare it is to find unique takes on supernatural creatures, mythologies, and magical rules. Thankfully I’ve had very good luck with urban fantasy lately! The vamps in this series – formally known as Mithrans – have a storied history that few non-vamps are privy to; as Jane discovers more about the vamps and her mercurial employer, she comes to respect how complex their society is. But Jane will never be one of them, and she would never want to be.
As a Skinwalker, Jane’s own supernatural heritage is just as complex as the vamps’. She has the ability to transform into other animals through Cherokee magic, but Jane also shares her body with the consciousness of Beast, a female mountain lion. Jane and Beast have a fraught relationship, but their love for each other is beautiful. Because of who and what she is, Jane thinks and moves differently from humans and other supes too. Jane’s uniqueness makes her feel isolated, which pushes her to finally reconnect with her heritage. Jane has sought the guidance of Aggie Onefeather, a local elder who knows something of Jane’s Skinwalker abilities, several times before but she offers some very interesting intel on Skinwalkers in MERCY BLADE. After this reveal I’m very excited to see what Faith Hunter has planned!
There are other noteworthy characters in this series, too. Jane’s best friend Molly is a powerful witch, and her two children are scary powerful. Molly’s sister moves into Jane’s house in MERCY BLADE and will definitely have an important role in the next book, given how determined she is to discover what Jane is…and how she can control her. The men in Jane’s life are interesting too, although I think that both Ricky and Bruiser need to sort their lives out before either one of them would be a good match for Jane. Girl is way too badass for those dudes.
Another great installment in the Jane Yellowrock series, the only thing I didn’t like about MERCY BLADE was its brutal cliffhanger. But I’ll forgive a lot for a series that brings the action and raises the stakes with each new title. I highly recommend this series, especially for those who are feeling burned out on urban fantasy because this series breathes new life into the genre.