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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.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mercy Blade (Jane Yellowrock, Book 3) by Faith Hunter


Mercy Blade is the third book in the Jane Yellowrock series. I gave the first two books in this series a 10 of 10, but Ms. Hunter has outdone herself and I find myself wishing I could award an 11 of 10.  There are no spoilers here for the third book, but if you haven't read the first two books then you may want to just read the review for them (Skinwalker and Blood Cross), as there will be a few things here that will be spoilers for the first two books.

Mercy Blade starts off with Jane and Rick getting some downtime. It was nice to see the two of them relaxed and spending time together -- lounging around, comfortable in each others' personal space. Unfortunately, that only lasts a couple of pages. Unfortunately for them, anyway. For us it is fortunate, because the story quickly jumps into the action, and then the action just keeps going and going and going. The Energizer Bunny has nothing on the Jane/Beast duo. The action does slow down every once in a while - long enough to look through security footage, to take a shower with someone, and to take a few naps here and there.

There isn't an official blurb yet, so I made one up:

Jane Yellowrock, Rogue Vampire Hunter, is working for the vampires. That means delivering unwelcome messages to snarly supernaturals, and overseeing security for parties and balls, amongst other things. And it means she's got to work closely with Bruiser, which makes Jane uncomfortable and Beast very happy.

When the werewolves and werecats come out of the closet on international television Jane begins to learn that there is still a lot of Vampire and Supernatural history she hasn't learned. Unfortunately, not knowing what happened 100 years ago can mean the difference in understanding current events and being totally out of the loop. Jane doesn't deal well with being out of the loop, but between an absent boyfriend and pieces of history she doesn't understand -- she has to survive as best she can.

I made the attempt but could not successfully fit something short and to the point in there that points out that the vampires can smell that Jane is more than human, even though they don't know what she is. So the question that comes to mind is what a large werecat, like a were-leopard, for instance... how are they going to react to Jane? And for that matter, how will a werewolf react to her? And possibly more importantly in the short term -- will she be a better fighter than them? She can't shift on the fly like a regular shapeshifter, will that immediately put her at a disadvantage? Some of these questions are answered in the book, for others we'll have to wait for later books to get an in-depth answer.

As for the writing elements:
  • There are multiple plots running through the book that mostly weave into a single plot by the end of the book. I enjoyed every plot, as well as every plot twist, and I marveled at the way everything came together in the end.
  • I've already mentioned the action - there is nothing wrong with the pacing.
  • Prose and dialogue are exceptionally well done. I love the way Ms. Hunter brings her world and characters alive in such vivid detail and with such wonderful descriptors. All five senses are brought into play, as well as ways she brings our own experience in - for instance, the way she brings something as simple as being in the woods at night alive and into play - reminding us of how it feels, how we've felt when in that situation, and not just of what it looks and smells and sounds like.
  • Character development continues to be three dimensional and well done. Not just character development for Jane and Beast, but other characters as well.
  • The attention to world-building is still there, with more details about Jane and Beast's world given to us as we learn about the were-animals and a few other critters we meet in Mercy Blade. I also appreciate the detail given to history, helping us to understand what brought this world to the current state of affairs.
I can easily give Mercy Blade and the Jane Yellowrock series a 10 of 10.
  • Book Rating: Mercy Blade: 10 of 10
  • Series Rating: Jane Yellowrock series: 10 of 10
We know that the next book in the series will be called Raven Cursed, and I can guess at what that might mean, but I'm sure that my imagination is no match for what will actually happen. 

1. Skinwalker
2. Blood Cross
3. Mercy Blade (Jan 2011)
4. Raven Cursed (Jan 2012)


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