Review: Raven Cursed by Faith Hunter

Raven Cursed by Faith Hunter

Raven Cursed by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock #4)

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Roc on January 3, 2012

Audio: Khristine Hvam for Audible Froniters

Source: Purchased

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The vampires of Asheville, North Carolina, want to establish their own clan, but since they owe loyalty to the Master Vampire of New Orleans they must work out the terms with him.

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RAVEN CURSED picks up after the brutal cliffhanger at the end of the previous book, bringing everyone’s favourite (okay, my favourite at least!) rogue vampire hunter Jane Yellowrock away from New Orleans and into the mountains of North Carolina.

A major vampire parley is being held to determine whether Leo Pelissier, Jane’s boss and sometimes enemy and the Master of New Orleans, will grant Master status to another powerful vamp living in Asheville. As Leo’s hired security, Jane is there scouting for potential dangers when she stumbles into an on-going werewolf struggle. Several humans have been attacked and infected with the “were taint,” the strain that turns humans into weres, which is an action that violates were law…and really ticks Jane off.

To stop the werewolves Jane has to work with Rick LaFleur, AKA Captain Douche. That’s right y’all, I’m not a fan of his. Needless to say there’s some juicy drama in Jane’s personal drama bleeding into her professional life, making for some truly tense scenes that ratcheted up the action in RAVEN CURSED so high that it made my heart race in certain parts!

Rick isn’t the only secondary character who plays a prominent role in this installment, as Jane’s best friend Molly lives just outside of Asheville and is indirectly involved in the political maneuverings of the vamps as well as the were attacks. I loved reading about Jane and Molly’s interactions, because people that she can’t completely trust usually surround Jane and she can’t let her guard down around them, but Molly helps her relax. It’s also good to see more women taking center stage in the series, since aside from Jane and Beast this series hasn’t focused much on prominent female characters. Molly’s many sisters also feature in RAVEN CURSED, as does a powerful woman in the Asheville vampire clan. Hopefully this signals the arrival of more gender parity in the Jane Yellowrock series!

Faith Hunter’s world building and the development of her vampire lore continue to be flawless. It actually confounds me how much originality she brings to one of the most over-used supernatural creatures and their mythos. Hunter’s vamps are by turns incredibly sophisticated, bound by centuries-old etiquette and rituals and blood-crazy killing machines incapable of being reasoned with the next. Jane’s skinwalker abilities and Beast’s lightning quick instincts are the only things keeping her alive when she’s surrounded by the vamps, and it’s only a matter of time before she’s really seriously injured. But for now her fight scenes are awesome, full of badass hand-to-hand combat and some pretty fancy weaponry, including silver bullets and wooden stakes. Hunter doesn’t ditch everything commonly associated with vampires.

My only real complaint about RAVEN CURSED is about the prolonged drama in Jane’s personal life. I find it very upsetting that Jane, such a strong person who always stands up for herself, allows herself to be jerked around by a guy who has treated her abysmally. As much as I love a romantic sub-plot in urban fantasy, I wouldn’t be disappointed if Jane took a break from dating in the next couple books.

If you’re a fan of dark urban fantasy, creative world building, and diverse protagonists, you should definitely check out the Jane Yellowrock series. Do yourself a favour and listen to the audiobook version, as Khristine Hvam really brings the characters to life through her masterful use of accents. She’s got Jane’s dry Southern drawl down pat!

Have you read any original takes on an old supernatural creature? What audiobooks have you been listening to lately? Let me know in the comments!

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  • I should read these instead, I tried book 1 on audio but it was not a hit with me

  • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Glad to hear this series is still going well for you! I tried Blood of the Earth and wasn’t blown away. Not sure if I would have been better off reading the Jane Yellowrock books.

    • I’m getting kind of worried about Blood of the Earth – a number of people have told me they didn’t enjoy it all that much! Hopefully going in with lowered expectations will help me like it more.

      My favourite thing about the Jane Yellowrock series is Jane’s relationship with Beast, the mountain lion consciousness she shares a body with (and the chapters narrated from Beast’s perspective). If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, you should give it a shot!

  • I haven’t read this series, but it’s always cool to see when a series takes its characters across really different locations between books. I’ll need to check out the first book in the series some time!

    • I really like that too! It’s pretty standard for urban fantasy series to have at least one “road trip” book where the protagonists leave their home city for another location; those books are often pretty weak because of the lack of established setting, but this one did it really well!

  • Like Lisa, I tried Blood of the Earth first and didn’t like it that much – but hey, at least I read my first Faith Hunter! I still think I should have started with this series.

    • Womp womp. See my comment to Lisa below…I’m scared to read Blood of the Earth now!

      • I think you’ll still enjoy it! Most fans of JY did, so I think it was having no connection to the world that hurt my experience, or at least played a huge part in it.

  • Lynn Williams

    I do like the sound of these. I wish I had more time – especially being 4 behind!
    Still, you never know.
    Lynn 😀

    • HA! It shows that you lean more towards epic fantasy than urban fantasy, since you think being four books behind is a lot! I believe this series is actually at nine books currently *gulp*

  • I’ve been meaning to start this series but…you know, too many books! One of these days, though. I’d love to find a good solid UF series to get hooked on:-)

    • So many series, so little time! The good thing about this one is that since so many books are already out, you can binge read to your heart’s content. 🙂

  • Oooo, dark urban fantasy! That cliffhanger from the previous book sounds terrible, but I’m glad this one picked up right after that. I’ll have to look into this series, maybe once it’s complete!

    Wonderful review, Danya. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • I love urban fantasy, but the darker stuff is my real go-to! Cliffhangers are soooo not my jam, but I forgive Faith Hunter because she always gets right back into the action with her next book.

      Thanks Alyssa! 🙂

  • Not a fan of much urban fantasy, but I’m glad this worked well for you!!

    • It’s definitely not a genre for everyone! I’ve read so much of it that sometimes I feel a bit bored, but this series always breathes new life into the genre. 🙂