Release Date: Oct. 2, 2012
Jane Yellowrock #5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker you don’t want to cross—especially if you’re one of the undead…
For a former vampire killer like Jane, having Leo Pellisier as boss took some getting used to. But now, someone is out to take his place as Master Vampire of the city of New Orleans, and they’re not afraid to go through Jane to do it. After an attack that’s tantamount to a war declaration, Leo knows his rival is both powerful and vicious, but Leo’s not about to run scared. After all, he has Jane. But then, a plague strikes, one that takes down vampires but leaves humans untouched, as carriers of the dread disease.
Now, to uncover the identity of the vamp who wants Leo’s territory, and to find the cause of the vamp plague, Jane will have to go to extremes…and maybe even to war.
Jane Yellowrock, Skinwalker and descendant of the guardians of the Cherokee people, has faced many threats as a vampire hunter, especially since she started working for one. Headstrong and relentless, she likes to work alone, and can’t allow herself to really trust anyone. Now, Jane is once again dealing with the aftershocks of a situation she inadvertently set in motion, and the body count is rising much faster than she can handle.
Although I liked this book, it wasn’t an easy story to get through. Jane redefines complicated. Her most consistent relationship is with Beast, her inner “big cat,” and the bond they share leaves little room for other relationships. Jane seems to crave intimacy on several levels, but can’t allow herself to trust anyone else enough to let them get close. For all her bravery and self-sufficiency, she is a very lonely woman.
Death’s Rival can’t be called a “romance.” Jane, and more specifically Beast, is a sexually animalistic being by nature. Jane has proven she is capable of loving another, but is more resigned to losing that love. Beast, on the other hand, judges their potential “mates” by their strength and fighting abilities more than any other quality. And she’s not opposed to claiming more than one of them as her own. Still, Jane is fairly ruthless in her self-denial, even though the sexual tension between her and their potential lovers is undeniably hot.
For all its seriousness, Death’s Rival is an action-packed and fast paced story. Jane doesn’t take much downtime for herself, and is more than capable of standing on her own. She takes multitasking to new extremes, being both sleuth and warrior, and I ended up feeling as anxious as Jane about what might be coming next. Ms. Hunter eradicates any notion of “comfort zones” and launches Jane into one adrenaline-fueled situation after another, adeptly taking the reader along on the journey.
While I think this is a fascinating series, it certainly cannot be considered light reading. Jane’s world is filled with danger, dubious allies, and bloodthirsty vamps who are sometimes only barely leashed, if that. Jane wraps herself in guilt as much as pride, and both prove a disadvantage at the worst possible times. At one point, Jane boils her situation down to this:
“Something like pain cut through me, a steel blade of misery and grief, sharp and burning cold. But nothing in life was set in stone and nothing in life is promised us. Not happiness, not joy, not love. Everything was variable and mutable and inconstant. Perhaps Rick and I still could be together. Someday. But I couldn’t count on that. I couldn’t count on anything except God, death, and myself, and sometimes not even myself.”
But, Jane is no quitter. She is at once cynical and angry, resilient and determined, and sensual and mysterious. She is solitary and heroic, and there doesn’t seem to be an end to her potential. Though sometimes frustrating, I can’t resist this series, and would very much like to see where Jane goes next.
Liked it – recommend (B+)
Reviews in the Series: