Raven Cursed by Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock #4
Source: Personal shelf (e-book)
Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker and vampire hunter for hire. But lately instead of just slaying vampires, she’s been working for them.
The vampires of Asheville, North Carolina, want to establish their own clan, but since they owe loyalty to the Master Vampire of New Orleans they must work out the terms with him. To come up with an equitable solution, he sends an envoy with the best bodyguard blood money can buy: skinwalker Jane Yellowrock.
But when a group of local campers are attacked by something fanged, Jane goes from escort to investigator. Is it a rogue-vampire, shapechanger, or witch? Or something else magical? Unless she wants to face a very angry master vampire, she will have to work overtime to find the killer. It’s a good thing she’s worth every penny.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Om nom nom. Each Jane Yellowrock book is more delicious than the last! And I’m really enjoying my back-to-back reading experience as I’m ploughing through the series. This week’s post is all about Raven Cursed, the fourth novel in the series, which moves us out of New Orleans and back to Jane’s old stopping ground of Asheville.
Still in Leo Pellissier’s employ, Jane is tasked with guarding a parlay between Leo’s representative Grégoire and the local Mithran leader, who is petitioning Leo for the right to become his own MOC, instead of being part of Leo’s domain. Grégoire is there to assess Lincoln, the Asheville vampire with the ability to have his scions experience a much shorter devoveo. (Devoveo is the insanity that vampires experience after their initial transformation, spent locked away until they regain their memories and selves. It takes most vampires ten years but Lincoln’s can do it in five or sometimes less.) This plot was really great for a number of reasons: we learn a lot more about vampire politics, we get to see Jane in her old territory (which means time with Molly and her family!), and we get a lot more emotional turmoil, as Jane is forced to confront what her new lifestyle means and decide if she can live with the things she’s done and will be doing. I love it when authors force their characters to grow and Jane’s reflection is definitely painful. She’s forced to confront the decisions she’s made in previous novels and deal with the consequences of her actions.
The storyline involving Rick was also really interesting. He was infected by a were-cat in the Mercy Blade and he has to deal with it in Raven Cursed. He’s so lost in this new world but he’s doing the best he can to cope. It was really cool because we get to learn a lot more about what it means to be a were in Jane Yellowrock’s universe, and we get hits at the greater implications of weres showing themselves to humans (also in Mercy Blade).
I think my favourite parts of Raven Cursed involve Molly’s family. We’ve heard a lot about her family and spent time with Evangelina when she was staying with Jane in New Orleans but this is the first time that we see Jane interact with Molly and her other many sisters. Of course, it wouldn’t be a good novel if everything was rosy but there are some nice light moments where it’s clear how much Molly and her family means to Jane.
All in all, Raven Cursed is a great addition to the Jane Yellowrock series and an all-around excellent urban fantasy. I flew through Raven Cursed in a single sitting and I bet you’ll do the same, so make sure you start the novel early enough in the day that you won’t lose too much sleep!