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Blood Cross (Jane Yellowrock #2) by Faith Hunter

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the cover: As a vampire hunter and skinwalker, Jane Yellowrock is public enemy number one to the vampire community – even though she is also the key to their survival. Now, she’s about to learn that working for the enemy is just as dangerous as hunting them.

The Vampire Council of New Orleans has hired Jane to hunt and kill one of their own who has broken sacred, ancient rules. But Jane quickly realizes that in a community that is thousands of years old, loyalties run deep, mythos have real power, and the past often has more force than the present. 

With the help of her witch best friend, Molly, and local vigilantes, Jane finds herself caught between bitter rivalries – and closer than ever to the secret origin of the entire vampire race. But in a city of old grudges and dark magic, Jane will have to fight to protect both sides, even if no one will protect her.

Faith Hunter takes us once again to New Orleans. But where the first book, Skinwalker, emphasized the sights and sounds of the city (paralleling Jane’s discovery of the Big Easy,) the second novel in the Jane Yellowrock series focuses on character development and world building. An excellent direction that points to great things in books to come…

I loved Skinwalker for the action and intrigue and compelling characters. In Blood Cross, we get those same great elements and also see Jane begin a journey of personal growth. She has spent a lifetime building an impregnable wall around herself, but in this book we begin to see the first cracks in the mortar. Jane begins forming friendships, attends formal events wearing couture instead of motorcycle leathers, goes on dates and contemplates romantic relationships. She stops running from her past and begins to embrace her Cherokee heritage. Her once black-and-white world is increasingly shaded in greys and she actually takes time to research before jumping into a situation. Jane starts learning to work in a team and for the first time, she relies on others to back her up in hostile situations.

None of these changes come easily. Jane has real difficulty trusting and her first instinct is definitely not to ask for help. Even with Beast, she typically forgets to draw on the Big Cat’s strengths. Only in extremis (quite literally on the point of death) does Beast push her way forward and force Jane to accept help. Bottom line, Jane is not going to evolve overnight, but she is leaving her comfort zone and growing as a character.

Another major focus of the book is the history of vampires, both the origin of the species and the events that shaped the current political climate of New Orleans’ Mithran society. Once again, Jane finds herself playing catch up. She’s under-informed for her mission and lands in several near-death situations because of it. The secrets revealed are surprising, well placed throughout the book to maintain suspense, and a clever twist on common mythology.

If you expect more from the urban fantasy/paranormal genre than just the inclusion of things that go bump in the night – if you demand good writing, compelling and relatable characters, and gifted storytelling – you need to read this series. You won’t be disappointed.

Links:

Faith Hunter:   website   Facebook   @HunterFaith

Other reviews:   

Drey’s Library

Darker Passions

Muddy Meanderings