|Title: Killing Rites
Author: M. L. N. Hanover
Series: The Black Sun’s Daughter #4
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reviewed by: Julia
Jayné Heller has discovered the source of her uncanny powers; something else is living inside her body. She’s possessed. Of all her companions, she can only bring herself to confide in Ex, the former priest. They seek help from his old teacher and the circle of friends he left behind, hoping to cleanse Jayné before the parasite in her becomes too powerful.
Ex’s history and a new enemy combine to leave Jayné alone and on the run. Her friends, thinking that the rider with her has taken the reins, try to hunt her down, unaware of the danger they’re putting her in. Jayné must defeat the weight of the past and the murderous intent of another rider, and her only allies are a rogue vampire she once helped free and the nameless thing hiding inside her skin.
Dealing with unknown powers and conflicting agendas is the bread and butter of the Urban Fantasy genre, and Jayné Heller is a master among masters. Heir to dual a legacy of magic and fantastic wealth, I have enjoyed watching Jayné with all of the changes in her life, both magical and mundane. Almost all of her financial and worldly needs can be met through a simple phone call to the “ask no questions, anything you need” attorney that Jayné inherited along with her uncle’s money, but when it comes to the demons and dangers she’s faced with, Jayné turns to a blend of magical mentors and her own instincts.
KILLING RITES has dangers aplenty as Jayne explores her mysterious powers. While I could see the risks she takes (trusting a vampire, remaining vulnerable to the rider who can control her body) I was still rooting for Jayné all the same. Hanover does a masterful job with world building, making it easy to slip into Jayné’s shoes and understand the feelings that drive her choices. I’m also a sucker for “buddy” relationships, and Jayné’s band of brothers goes right to my heart. I loved Jayné’s friendships with Choygi Joe and Midian, but her conflicted relationship with Ex was less interesting to me. While I’d recommend starting with UNCLEAN SPIRITS to get a strong introduction to the cast of characters, Hanover skillfully orients the reader in KILLING RITES, making it easy to jump into the series.
Great mythology, smooth action, and a number of relationships that I was invested in, the only piece missing from the total package was an emotional reaction to the romance. Not that the friendships weren’t compelling enough to carry the story, but it was disappointing to see a key relationship fall short of the others around it. Don’t mistake KILLING RITES for the end of the series, though, The Black Sun’s Daughter is just heating up.