Release Date: April 2, 2013
Jane Yellowrock Book 6
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker who’s always up for a fight—even if it means putting her life on the line…
The Master of Natchez, Mississippi has a nasty problem on his hands. Rogue vampires—those who follow the Naturaleza and believe that humans should be nothing more than prey to be hunted—are terrorizing his city. Luckily, he knows the perfect skinwalker to call in to take back the streets.
But what he doesn’t tell Jane is that there’s something different about these vamps. Something that makes them harder to kill—even for a pro like Jane. Now, her simple job has turned into a fight to stay alive…and to protect the desperately ill child left in her care.
When a string of missing persons cases coincides with the rise of Naturaleza vampire attacks in Natchez, Mississippi, Jane Yellowrock makes a deal with the Master of the City to come in and fix the problem. But, when some of the missing turn out to be witches, and Jane has an encounter with a more deadly form of vampire than has ever been encountered before, the situation spins out of control fast, leaving Jane wondering if, this time, she’s really in over her head, and whether the events she’s set in motion will mean losing everyone she holds dear.
When I first began reading the Jane Yellowrock series, I wasn’t sure what to think of Jane, except that I always liked her strength and determination, even though it often got her, as well as anyone close to her, in trouble. Jane has always taken big chances in these novels, and the consequences for everyone involved have often been severe. But, over the last couple of novels, Jane has grown a lot and learned plenty, and I’ve found myself enjoying these tales far more than I anticipated I would.
In Blood Trade, Jane takes an outside job, seemingly against her boss’s wishes, and is quickly immersed in a battle that’s far more deadly than she was originally led to believe. On top of that, two former acquaintances from her childhood become involved, further upping the stakes. And, for the first time in as long as she can remember, Jane is surprised to find that she’s part of a family, one that’s certainly worth dying for, but, more importantly, one she desperately wants to keep. It’s a new world for Jane, but she’s determined to make it work out.
One of my favorite things about Jane is her dual nature, the lineage that makes her a “Skinwalker,” and divides her into two entities: the human part of herself, and her “Beast,” the mountain lion whose soul lives within her, and occasionally takes her over entirely. Jane is a remarkably stubborn, snarky woman who is at her best when she’s throwing herself into battle, and driving her boss, Leo Pellissier, completely insane. The latter is a lot of fun, because he really deserves it. Beast, on the other hand, is more primitive and direct, but is beautiful in both her sincerity and unfettered view of the world. She likes to fight and play and love, and it’s often highly entertaining to see Jane dragged along for the ride.
Jane’s support system has grown to include the Younger brothers, both of whom I like very much as well. A good deal of Blood Trade is spent letting Jane first adjust to, then be grateful for, then fight for the presence of these two in her life, giving a warmth to the story that I felt was lacking before. Theirs is a family chosen, not born, and I loved seeing their relationship evolve and settle into something humorous and comforting, as well as Jane’s repeated bouts of surprise at the changes that stealthily took place in her life without her really knowing. Moreover, I think Jane has simply become a better version of herself for it.
The suspense and action in Blood Trade is also some of the best I’ve read in the series yet. Jane is a vampire hunter, and it’s a deadly profession. Ms. Hunter’s enthusiasm for detail is evident in every description, be it of the arsenal Jane and Eli strap themselves into before each fight, or the battle to the death that seems to happen every time they leave their house. The language of these passages is rich and vivid, and even Jane’s visits to the spiritual realm are painted with a clarity that makes getting lost in the scene an easy thing to do.
Although it took me a while to warm to Jane, she’s easily one of the best female characters I’ve read in a long time. She is difficult, and a thorn in the side of the men around her, but I can’t imagine her any other way. Her curious mix of faith and heritage combine with a world filled with magics and mystical creatures to create a truly exciting backdrop for a story filled with action and mystery and just enough awkward romance to keep me hoping that Jane will find real happiness—and soon. The series continues to be pleasingly unpredictable, and while I have no idea what might be in store for Jane as the series progresses, I’m looking forward to continuing the journey.
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)
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