Review: Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter

Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock #3)Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Roc on January 4, 2011

Audio: Khristine Hvam for Audible Froniters

Source: Purchased

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Things are heating up in the Big Easy for Jane Yellowrock.

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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.

What books have you read that offer a new take on a beloved genre? Who are your favourite diverse SFF protagonists? Are you a fan of Jane and Beast? Let me know in the comments!

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  • I want to start this series! I just haven’t made time, though. I love the sound of the different take on paranormal creatures, something I’m always on the lookout for.

    • I know you’re not big on audiobooks, but if you want to squeeze an audiobook into your reading schedule I highly recommend these! The narrator does a fantastic job and it might help you make the time. 😉

  • Oh, another urban fantasy series I want to start. This one, The Hollows by Kim Harrison, and Seanan McGuire’s October Daye are the three that’s been on my reading list forever. Last year I randomly picked one of the first books and Rosemary and Rue won out. Maybe I’ll choose Skinwalker this year 🙂

    • Oh, The Hollows…I have a LOT of opinions on that series. Haha. For what it’s worth, I would recommend the Jane Yellowrock books (and the Toby Daye series, too haha) over The Hollows just because it goes SO downhill as the series progresses.

  • I do like my fantasy dark and on the urban side of things (okay, well, about 50% of the time, I do). This sounds so good. Jane sounds awesome! And… too badass for either of these dudes?! You go, girl!

    • HA! Yeah, I like urban fantasy about 75% of the time. But when I’m reading high fantasy I tend to prefer YA because it’s less “manly” and doesn’t suffer as much from toxic masculinity issues, haha.

      Jane is the best, I want to be her when I grow up! She even built her own motorcycle! 😀

      • I’m the same with high fantasy a lot of the time, actually! There are a few exceptions, but I do tend to like YA fantasy more..!

        Ugh, I already want to be Jane too and I haven’t even read it yet 😉

  • I want to start this series a lot. It sounds like such an interesting urban fantasy series. Even though, bleh to the cliffhanger in this one. I don’t do well with those. 😛

    • It’s definitely among my top urban fantasy series, which is saying a lot because I read a lot of UF! I’m not gonna lie, the cliffhanger was brutal…but it’s the only one in the series so far, so hopefully there won’t be anymore!

  • You’re so right about it being hard to find unique urban fantasy. Clearly, I need to check this series out!

    • Yay! I really hope you end up enjoying this series, Lorraine. It’s one of my absolute favourite urban fantasies out there right now!

  • Jan

    I haven’t read any Faith Hunter books though I think I actually own some of them. This sounds like a series I would like. I read the first book in the Mick Oberon series which takes place in Chicago in the 1930’s. The setting is good. I liked that book quite a lot, but I still need to read the second book.

    • If you already own them, then you should definitely try hopping onto this series! Generally I’ve found that people who like the Toby Daye books like Jane Yellowrock too, even though they’re very different in tone.

      I haven’t heard much about the Mick Oberon series, but I love a good historical setting! And I really don’t know anything about Chicago circa 1930…adding it to the TBR for sure. 🙂

  • Lynn Williams

    I do like the sound of this series – it seems that there’s a few of us just waiting to pick it up!
    Lynn 😀

    • Don’t wait too long! 😉 I understand the conundrum though. So many urban fantasy series, so little time!

  • Kelsey Bogan

    Hello there future librarian! I’m a recent grad librarian, love finding libs’ book blogs! i’ve tried 2x to read the first Jane Yellowrock book and just can’t seem to connect with it. Have you read them all? Do they get better in your opinion. I keep comparing it to Patty Brigg’s Mercy series. 🙂

    • Hello right back! 😀 Welcome to the blog. I haven’t read all of the Jane Yellowrock books (I actually just finished book 4), but in my opinion the style is pretty consistent. If you didn’t enjoy the first one you probably won’t enjoy the rest of the series. Have you tried listening to it on audio? That might help!

      As for series that are similar to Mercy Thompson, maybe try the October Daye books by Seanan McGuire! They’re about the fae and they’re a ton of fun.