|Title: Mercy Blade
Author: Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock #3
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Urban FantasyPaperback: 320 pages
Published: January 4, 2011
Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker − and a vampire killer for hire. But lately she’s found herself taking blood money from the very vampires she used to hunt…
Things are heating up in the Big Easy. Weres have announced their existence tot he world, and revived the bitter tensions that run between them and their old enemies: vampires. As a trusted employee of Leo Pellissier, Blood Master of the City, Jane finds herself caught in the cross fire.
When Jane is attacked by a pack of marauding were-wolves, she is thankful for the help of a mysterious stranger named Girrard. He explains that he used to be Leo’s “Mercy Blade,” a sacred position charged with killing vampires who have gone insane. What Jane doesn’t know is why this powerful assassin left New Orleans − or, more troubling, why he’s now returned. It’s definitely not to make Jane’s life easier…
MERCY BLADE swept me back into a familiar series, carried me along without breath, and then spit me back out at my desk to write a review. In hindsight, I do have a few minor criticisms for this book, but at no time while reading did any of these issues slow me down. I gulped down the story and loved every minute, putting it down at 3 a.m. with an audible “Oooooh.” Talk about your cliff hanger endings, I can’t wait to pick up RAVEN CURSED when it comes out.
Cliff hangers are familiar ground in the Jane Yellowrock series. BLOOD CROSS left us within the first few moments of Jane’s relationship with undercover cop Rick La Fleur, and this book starts one month later. With Weres coming out of the woodwork (and Rick disappearing into an undercover assignment with a casual kiss on Jane’s cheek), Jane has both supernatural mysteries and relationship insecurities to unravel. Her alter-ego Beast is no help, offering the statement “Big cats don’t mate for life,” and pushing Jane towards “strong mate” George Dumas. One thing I have enjoyed throughout this series is Jane’s note perfect reaction and analysis of the men in her life. Not that she always makes the right decision, more that she always has a realistic inner monologue about each man’s pros and cons (with and without Beast’s two cents). In real life, being in a relationship doesn’t make all the other attractive men in the world disappear, and I really enjoyed reading along as Jane wrestled with the nature of her relationship with Rick.
Not that I’m an expert in the field, but I also felt Jane’s investigative style was very realistic. Researching on-line, going through old files, following up leads and tying together loose ends, Faith Hunter presents some of the grind of an ongoing investigation without losing momentum. I was interested in events as they unfolded, although when the primary crime began unraveling it fell a bit flat for me. Even more so, Rick’s place in it all was both over the top and not sufficiently developed for my tastes (and Jane’s too, I’m sure. Rick’s got some ‘splainin’ to do). Outside of the “who done it” mystery, I really enjoyed learning more about Jane’s past and the origin of Weres in this particular world. Also, the changes in Jane’s relationship with Beast from previous books came to fruition here, giving us a glimpse into their day-to-day partnership that I found fascinating.
In addition to the main cliff hanger at the end of this book, Hunter left a number of plot loose ends as well. One of my favorite things about Kim Harrison’s Hallows series is the natural interweaving of plot lines over the course of all of the books (a more realistic, organic chain of events, rather than tying everything up at the end of a book). I’m still on the fence about whether or not this is the start of Hunter employing a similar technique, or if certain issues were simply lost in the shuffle. The only way to answer this question is to continue on with the next book in the series, something I eagerly intend to do.
Sexual Content: Allusions to sex, explicit sexual situations, mentions and flashbacks of rape.
Click HERE to read Chapter One of MERCY BLADE
Previous books in the series:
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