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Review: Black Arts by Faith Hunter

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Black Arts
Author: Faith Hunter
Reviewer: B.
Rating: A

What I’m Talking About:

As Enforcer for the Master vampire of the Southeastern United States, Jane Yellowrock has seen more crazy and impossible things than she ever wanted to. Having finally acknowledged that she can’t do the job alone, she’s been slowly adapting to sharing her home, heart, and secrets with a handful of others, and finding comfort in her small family in the process. But, when one of her only friends goes missing, and she becomes embroiled in yet another mystery alongside the very creatures she used to hunt, Jane will discover that she has more to lose than ever, and this newest challenge could prove to be the deadliest of all.

I have to say that I absolutely love Jane. By this point in the series she has become one of my favorite heroines ever, and not just because she’s as tough as she is. Jane is complex and difficult, and occasionally fragile, but she’s learned a lot since the beginning of the series—none of those lessons having been gentle. A loner for much of her life thanks to the Puma concolor she can shift into, she’s had to keep her true self hidden, only rarely putting her trust in anyone else. But, no matter how much she’s always told herself it was better that way, it isn’t what she really wants. Her secrets may have given her an edge in the face of her enemies, but they’ve kept her chained to the guilt of her past as well. Honesty, trust, loyalty, and respect are all new concepts for Jane, as is the knowledge that those she cares about have an earnest faith that she will be there for them no matter what.

Jane isn’t the only bright spot on the roster of characters in the Jane Yellowrock series, either. There are plenty of extraordinary characters on the list, not the least of which are the newest additions to Jane’s household, the Younger brothers. They’re among the only people Jane has ever been able to trust, and she’s come to consider them her family. Extremely competent and able to meet Jane head-on, they are all a perfect fit for each other, and add warmth to the stories that I didn’t even realize was so badly needed. There’s also Leo Pellissier, the MOC of New Orleans (who I’d like to kick sometimes), and his Primo, “Bruiser,” who are both extremely important to the series overall, and to Jane personally as well. Jane’s witch friends likewise play an integral part in Black Arts, and there’s not a lackluster one in the bunch.

The politics involved in the Mithran (vampire) world are often dizzying, and Jane is constantly being tested by the rules under which the “fangheads” operate. In this respect, Black Arts should definitely be read as part of the series in order to fully appreciate what Jane is dealing with. Many of the vampires are extremely old and crafty, and even informal discussions can have irrevocable bearing on future events. In formal settings, every word and action carries weight and meaning, and, as Jane continues to learn, there’s always a price to pay when dealing with the vamps. Ms. Hunter has done an exemplary job layering the intricacies of Mithran society throughout Black Arts, often leaving Jane understandably confused and angry.

Jane’s love life is equally frustrating for her, and my heart ached right along with hers when she was hurt. Her relationships with Rick, Bruiser, and Leo are as complicated as the rest of Jane’s life, the situation made even more so by Beast’s claim on all three as potential mates. While only one of the men has the power to break Jane’s heart, she’s frequently thrown off balance by each of them in different ways. And no matter how well she fits with another, love seldom makes things turn out so prettily, at least so far in the series.

Black Arts is an excellent addition to the Jane Yellowrock series. Jane has finally reconciled her heritage, her past, her strength, and even the blood that will always be on her hands with the Beast inside her, reaching an acceptance and peace that she hasn’t allowed herself before. Unpredictable and engaging, the story moves along quickly, the first-person narration allowing the reader to truly see everything happening right along with Jane. Filled with characters who, like them or not, are captivating and memorable, Ms. Hunter has crafted another challenging and entertaining tale worthy of the “War Woman” Jane has become.

Rating:   A  Loved It

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About the Book:

When Evan Trueblood blows into town looking for his wife, Molly, he’s convinced that she came to see her best friend, Jane. But it seems like the witch made it to New Orleans and then disappeared without a trace.

Jane is ready to do whatever it takes to find her friend. Her desperate search leads her deep into a web of black magic and betrayal and into the dark history between vampires and witches. But the closer she draws to Molly, the closer she draws to a new enemy—one who is stranger and more powerful than any she has ever faced.

Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: ROC
Series: Jane Yellowrock Series #7
ISBN: #978-0451465245
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book, audio
Book Source: NetGalley/Publisher

For a chance to win a copy of Black Arts, see our interview with Faith Hunter. Open until January 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM EST.

Purchase Info:
Black Arts (Jane Yellowrock #7)

Reviews in the Series:
Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock #3)
Raven Cursed by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock #4)
Death’s Rival by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock #5)
Blood Trade by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock #6)

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