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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Blood Cross (Jane Yellowrock, Book 2) by Faith Hunter


(No spoilers for Book Two here, but if you haven't read Book One yet then you may not want to read this review yet. Click here for the review of Skinwalker.)

Blood Cross, the second Jane Yellowrock book, was just as good as the first in this series, Skinwalker.

The characters are intense, the plot is even more intense, the worldbuilding is imaginative with a firm anchor in history and myth and metaphysics, and the heroine kicks ass with the perfect mix of caring for her friends and smarting off to those who aren't her friends. And swiftly neutralizing those who would cause harm to her or her friends.

Blood Cross picks up not long after the events of Skinwalker, continuing the story flawlessly. I would not recommend reading this series out of order.

I love that the few loose ends from book one were appropriately handled in book two. We know that Jane and Leo aren't getting along so well as the story opens, and I figured that would be a pretty big part of the story. It was. There was also the question of how Jane and Rick might interact now that Rick is not going to be undercover anymore. That little bit of fun got handled well, also.

If I had anything to complain about, it would be that at times I felt like I needed to take notes to remember which vamps were with which clans, which servants with which vampires, etc. Most of the time we're given enough reminders in the prose, but occasionally there weren't enough reminders. Most books and series keep a smaller cast of characters for that reason, but this book needs the large cast of characters in order to show the complexity of what is going on.  The Anita Blake books also have a huge cast of characters, but most of those characters were added slowly, over a dozen or more books. Having that many thrust at you in the first and second books? It had to be done in order to tell the story, and it's a good story. So I'm not going to call it bad, necessarily, just saying that if I was going to have a complaint, that would be it.

The Jane Yellowrock series has the possibility of being another world as complex and as well written as the worlds of Anita Blake, Rachel Morgan, and Sookie Stackhouse. Front and center are the personal relationships, the plots, the magic - and in the background are the vampire politics, the human politics, and the sights and smells that are different for a supernatural being.

Speaking of which, I love the descriptions of The Change, I love the way Beast thinks, and sees, and smells. A gifted author can bring sights and smells and even things like humidity to life... but to bring it to life in the way a supernatural might experience it? That requires a very gifted author.

I am easily giving Blood Cross a 10 of 10, and I'll give the series the same. I can't wait for the third book in this series, Mercy Blade.

 1. Skinwalker
2. Blood Cross
3. Mercy Blade (Jan 2011)

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