Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc on January 3, 2012
Audio: Khristine Hvam for Audible Froniters
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.To come up with an equitable solution, he sends an envoy with the best bodyguard blood money can buy: Jane Yellowrock.
But when a group of local campers are attacked by something fanged, Jane goes from escort to investigator. Unless she wants to face a very angry mast vampire, she will have to work overtime to find the killer. It’s a good thing she’s worth every penny.
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!