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Review: Raven Cursed

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Raven Cursed
Author: Faith Hunter 
Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012
Publisher: ROC
Jane Yellowrock Series #4
ISBN: #978-0451464330
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker and vampire hunter for hire. But lately instead of just slaying vampires, she’s been working for them.
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: skinwalker Jane Yellowrock.
But when a group of local campers are attacked by something fanged, Jane goes from escort to investigator. Is it a rogue-vampire, shapechanger, or witch? Or something else magical? Unless she wants to face a very angry master vampire, she will have to work overtime to find the killer. It’s a good thing she’s worth every penny.
What B is talking about:
Against her better judgment, Jane Yellowrock has once again signed on to work for the Blood Master of the City of New Orleans, Leo Pellissier. This time, she’s in charge of security for talks between Leo’s representative and another master vamp who’s ready for territory of his own. With her crew of hired guns, and her inner Beast helping her along the way, the job should be fairly simple. But, as Jane’s learned time and again, with the vamps, nothing ever is.
Hunter doesn’t shy away from complex storytelling, leading both her heroine and her readers through a maze of subplots and conflicts. Raven Cursed and its predecessor, Mercy Blade (review HERE), are two of the busiest stories I’ve read to date. The cast of species/creatures alone is a lot to take in: witches of all sorts, a sorcerer, weres, Mithrans (vampires), blood-servants (and slaves), a grindylow, angels, demons, and humans. There is so much going on, it almost makes me dizzy to think how Jane manages it all.
But, that’s part of what makes Jane such a relatable heroine to me: she doesn’t handle it all. Not always well, anyway. She makes mistakes, and in her line of work, those mistakes are often irreversible and deadly. Sometimes, through a certain amount of vanity over her abilities, or a dogged focus on the bigger picture facing her, Jane misses things. But in Hunter’s writing, the inconsequential doesn’t really exist.
For a woman who eagerly denies that she’s beautiful in any way, Jane’s personal life is astonishingly crowded. Her relationship with Rick LeFleur is still somewhat confusing, although I found him much more likable in this story. Not that he’s the only one making her an offer these days. Her boss, Leo, wants her. As does his primo blood slave, George Dumas (aka “Bruiser”). And Leo’s number two Mithran, Grégoire, would gladly seduce her as well. As would Grégoire’s two blood slaves, who happen to be twins. Of her many potential bedmates/suitors, the one Jane considers a real candidate is Rick.
Hunter is an admirably clever storyteller, taking one small detail from the previous novel and, like an explosion, letting it burst into many separate spokes, all spreading out in a rush, intertwining intermittently, then coming back together into a seemingly cohesive ending. Except for the next small seed she plants at the end for the next novel, of course, which I’m eagerly anticipating already.
Bs Rating:
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)
Purchase Info:
Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, Book 1)
Blood Cross (Jane Yellowrock, Book 2)
Mercy Blade (Jane Yellowrock, Book 3)
Cat Tales: Four Stories from the World of Jane Yellowrock (An eSpecial from the New American Library)
Raven Cursed (Jane Yellowrock, Book 4)
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