If you devour dark urban fantasy like a vampire slurps down a blood meal, you’ll love Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series.
Jane is a vampire hunter for hire with the coolest motto I’ve ever heard: “Have stakes, will travel.” Jane is one of the more unusual characters in urban fantasy right now and each book in the series is multilayered and exciting. Don’t believe me? Check out this list.
1. Not Your Typical Vampire Hunter
Jane is a Cherokee Skinwalker. She has the ability to metamorphose into other creatures. Increased senses, speed, strength, and stealth give her an edge when investigating and dealing with supernatural creatures. There are limits, of course, and those situations make for some of the more interesting moments in the series.
Through a bit of dark magic back in the trauma of her early years, the soul of a female mountain lion, affectionately named Beast, resides within Jane. When Jane shifts, she often shifts into Beast, whose consciousness comes to the fore. Those chapters are told from Beast’s POV and are very clever. She uses her superior senses to help Jane in her investigations and sometimes takes advantage of the situation to do what she wants, like hunt for fresh food on four legs. Damn cats never do what they’re told.
Even when not changed into Beast, Jane can hear her thoughts and opinions and sometimes they bicker like sisters. Beast can also warn her when she’s in danger, sometimes only by a second or two, but enough to save her skin in an attack.
3. Scientific Explanations
I like it when an author gives some kind of scientific basis for their magic system. Faith Hunter does this in little bits and pieces, but eventually, a combination of scientific and magical explanations are given for the why and how Jane shifts form. Aspects of physics are addressed. I don’t want to ruin it for you, though, so that’s all I’ll say.
When it comes to weapons, sure there’s the usual crosses, wooden stakes and holy water. *yawn* But this girl packs some serious heat. In addition to several specialty knives, she uses shotguns that shoot silver flechette rounds, semi-auto handguns, revolvers, and even a little derringer. All loaded with silver for vamp killing. She knows her weapons, cares for them, and uses them like the professional she is.
Jane also studies martial arts, though when asked which discipline, she quips, “dirty.” Damn right.
When hunting fangheads, Jane’s most comfortable (and safer) wearing leather reinforced with silver, but she’s been known to wear body hugging gowns for formal occasions — and hides her weapons in some very interesting places. She’s dangerous no matter how she’s dressed.
And then, there’s Bitsa, her rebuilt, one-of-a-kind Harley. Nothing more badass than a tall woman wearing leather, bristling with weapons, and riding a Hog.
5. Different Creatures
Other than the traditional creatures found in urban fantasy such as vampires, demons, witches, and weres, Jane’s world includes skinwalkers (obviously), grindylows (aquatic creatures of English myth), Angels (not the well-known ones, either), and a Raven Mocker (most evil of Cherokee spirits). I can’t wait to see what creature Jane comes up against next.
Friends can become enemies, and vice versa. Love goes sour. Sexual heat flares up out of nowhere. Detailed plans go awry. Vamps can be employers, mortal enemies, saviors. Jane learns again and again she can depend on no one but herself.
7. Non-stop Freakin’ Action
Jane never gets a breather. One thing after another happens and she sure as hell never gets any sleep. Unless she gets shot or stabbed. These novels are constant movement and tension. Seems like there’s always at least four storylines going on in each book, always overlapping and crashing into each other. They grab you by the throat from the first page and haul you around until you are wrung out at the end.
I’m never bored and am usually fidgeting throughout because I’m reacting to all the action. In fact, when I get a new Jane Yellowrock novel in my hot little hands, I don’t schedule anything for a couple days because I know I CAN’T PUT IT DOWN UNTIL IT’S DONE. Very few books do that to me anymore.
Despite not being human and having supernat abilities, Jane is really the most normal one of the bunch. Sort of. Certainly, there are aspects of her personality we can identify with.
She’s a steak and beer kind of woman who finds herself out of her depth and treading through dangerous ground. She often has to work with faulty or little info because of her secret-keeping employer and then misunderstands and screws up.
She’s torn between her boss’s sexy-as-hell right hand man and the honorable cop who is her boyfriend, or was her boyfriend, or, well, at this point she’s not sure anymore.
She only has one close female friend and has to make an impossible decision regarding her.
Jane is a mess, but she somehow lands on her feet, like the Big Cat she is. Which is why I keep reading.
The Jane Yellowrock series can be bought here on Amazon.
So, are you convinced to give this series a try?