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on 13 August 2009
Jane Yellowrock is a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires using necklaces made of feathers and bones. But Jane isn't just any shapeshifter; she shares her body with a conscious and independent entity (a panther) known as Beast. How she and Beast became one is one of the central plots of the book as Jane has a shady memory and can't recall a great deal of her past. Bits and pieces are revealed in 'Skinwalker' but a lot is left for future outings. Beast even narrates some chapters when Jane shifts -- these are written quite choppily in 'beast language', in short fragmented sentences. I found it difficult to read at first but you do get used to it.

In 1962 vampires were outed when Marilyn Monroe was caught trying to turn the president of the United States. Witches are also known to humans and magic users are kept track of by a government body. Today, heightened shapeshifter instincts give Jane an advantage in her profession of hunting rogue vampires. Jane is hired by a member of the vampire council in New Orleans, Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires around and madam of her very own brothel to hunt a powerful and elusive rogue vampire. The rogue has left a trail of bloody bodies and it's Jane's job to catch the sucker.

The characters Jane and Molly were first introduced in a short story in the Strange Brew anthology but it's unnecessary to have read it. Jane herself is basically Mercy Thompson meets Kate Daniels. Inexplicably I became quite attached to her. There were times when I was ready to put this book down without finishing it but I kept coming back, there was just something about Jane I really liked. I think because she reminded me so much of Kate Daniels, who I love to bits. Like Kate, Jane frowns at authority and has a subtle sense of humour that isn't over the top, and a humanising emotional vulnerability (although different from Kate's) that is very relatable. I look forward to seeing her gain a more solid group of friends and base of operations, which is what this novel was establishing in many ways. Also, thankfully, even though one or two men showed some interest in Jane it never went further than flirting. The woman has decorum.

Molly is Jane's BFF and also happens to be a witch, we don't see much of her in this book but I assume she's going to be important later on. Leo Pellissier is the Blood Master of the City and all around vampire stereotype but I think Hunter is going to go in a less cliched direction with him than I first thought -- judging by the ending. There's also the police officer named Jodi who I liked very much; it's always refreshing to have strong secondary female characters in books like this. A character I absolutely loved was Bruiser, his real name is George (something hilarious about nicknaming someone named George 'Bruiser'). Bruiser was just the right amount of snarky and I think his past will be very interesting. The characters in this novel are three-dimensional and complex; they weren't always very nice and often were not what they seemed.

Now, the plot was here and there for me. I enjoyed it on some levels but it took far too long to get going and when it was finally being investigated the case lacked being very interesting. I didn't find it compelling because it didn't hold much political or Machiavellian intrigue not until too late anyway. I hope this will improve, this novel felt very much like a setup for future books and those are always awkward. The thing that I disliked was the repetitive nature of the investigation which could have been better handled -- it mostly consisted of Jane trying to sniff out the rogue in Beast form. It was tired by the end.

Overall, this novel isn't going to win many awards for originality. But it looks to be an enjoyable dark/gritty series with interesting characters and a world ripe for expansion (elves and werewolves were also mentioned). The next book is out now: Blood Cross. I think we can agree well written books in this genre are hard to come by, grab this one with both hands!
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VINE VOICEon 7 January 2010
At last - another strong, capable heroine who doesn't dissolve into brainless mush at the first sight of an attractive man! Jane Yellowrock is more than able to defend herself and she works alone (apart from some input from Beast - who I rate!), and is damn good at what she does. Sure she'd like a man in her life but she's not going to let herself be seduced by a pretty face (or body), nor by powerful vampires who want to know just what she is. There are several strong female characters in this novel - the police officer, the shaman, Katie, Mollie, with only the head-honcho vampire Leo to balance that - the romance interest is very undeveloped, especially as Jane first flattens him, and then saves his butt big time... A sequel definitely beckons from the ending, and while a lot of her history with Beast emerges, there has to be more.
There are a lot of urban fantasy books coming out with female leads who are meant to be sassy, but sadly most are poor, with really, really stupid women you want to shake, who go all stupid the minute the love interest appears. This isn't like that one little bit. Well worth the read.
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Jane Yellowrock is an intriguing heroine with interesting abilities. She’s never met anyone like herself, and although she believes she is a Skinwalker, she knows she is something more. Residing inside her is Beast; who grants her sharper senses, speed and strength even within her human form.

Taking a case to hunt down a rogue vampire, Jane meets a variety of attractive men, and although they each show an interest in Jane, she’s not sure she can trust any of them. Also the rogue vampire she hunts isn’t what he seems, and as Jane and her Beast get closer to their prey, they realise that Jane may have more in common with what she hunts than what she wants to acknowledge.

I really liked the first book in this series and I’m pleased that there are so many books still left for me to investigate. Jane and Beast may share a common skin, but they are not the same; they have different values and priorities plus they each struggle at times to assert dominance. Chapters flit between Jane’s point of view and Beast’s which adds different perspectives to the events unfolding around them. There are also some interesting but very vague references made to the origins of vampires, which I hope will be explored further in other books.
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on 22 September 2013
This was my first book from Faith Hunter, bought just because of curiosity but I must tell that I enjoyed her Jane Yellowrock character so much that I intent to buy more books. The book is nicely written, the story is entertaining and again there is some new view to vampires and weres. It is really worth to read if you like such stories, strong and interesting woman fighting the bad asses. :-)
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VINE VOICEon 12 November 2012
A tough sexy heroine with a past even she isn't sure of, a mysterious Beast inside her, am extremely violent rogue vampire to identify and kill. So what's not to like?

This is a very promising start to a recent series which I enjoyed so much I ordered the second as soon as I'd finished. But what I really liked and which is so unusual and a refreshing change for Urban Fantasy adventures is that there's no sex and no romance which often typify this kind of novel. There is an awareness of sensuality but it's an undercurrent.

Aside: has anyone ever counted the number of UF novels set in New Orleans (as this one is)? I haven't, but it has to be an awful lot.
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on 7 August 2014
Just at the point when I was beginning to wonder if I had exhausted great UF, I found this book. It's been on my reading list for a while but the star rating isn't brilliant and my library never had it, so I didn't put high on my agenda. Big mistake. Instead I've stumbled around a number of more popular series and been increasingly disappointed. Now before I start, lets clear up a basic point: if you're looking for romance, look elsewhere. Good looking males? Yep! Hot and steamy? Nope!

Jane is a skinwalker with a memory problem. She stumbled into professional vamp killing while trying to work out her past. Vamps are short tempered, violent, unpredictable creatures who tend to over snack on their humans if they are having a bad day. Despite having a range of superpowers, they call in Jane to kill an unknown rogue. Early Laurell Hamilton fans might enjoy gruesome murders, but be aware, the rogue doesn't have the energy for sexy times. Since he smells liked a rotting carcass, Jane's interest remain professional. A welcome relief! A heroine who doesn't feel she needs to sneak into broom cupboards for a quickie between jobs. Instead we get detective work, shape shifting, and no sex.

So why aren't the reviews stronger? Well much of the narrative revolves round Jane, so if you don't like her, you're stuck. There is a dual voice: Jane and Beast, her skin walking alter ego. Beast's narrative is more fragmented in style and I can see that and the frequent internal monologues might irritate some readers. But I really enjoyed it. In terms of the animal element it was more like Men of the Underworld(with no sex.) than Mercy Thompson. As a female lead, I found Jane as interesting as Kate - (Ilona Andrews) and Dory (Karen Chance). And I really liked the way Hunter draws you in. You are dropped straight in to Jane's world and expected to keep up. a couple times I had to confirm that I hadn't missed an earlier novel, but boy was it nice to have a writer assume I could keep up, without black and white explanations or constant repetition.

#2 downloading as I write!!
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on 28 September 2013
Well that was really good - I almost didn't read this, as its just been sitting in my tbr pile for ages. Jane is pretty kick-arse with all her weapons and fighting skills. Initially she did come across as a bit arrogant but actually she was pretty funny as the story went on. She is obviously a bit socially inept as she seems rather awkward and a bit aloof with other people. I found the circumstances of her background intriguing and you find out bits and pieces with her throughout the book.

Beast and her voice was pretty cool ... It takes a bit of getting used to but as the story went on I was looking forward to hearing beast's voice as well. The mystery surrounding who and what Jane is kind of develops throughout but there are still questions by the end.

The mystery of the rogue was pretty good too and kept me guessing throughout and there were a lot of interesting characters and politics going on.

Also something I want to know more about are Rick's tattoos! That was an unexpected revelation when you find out what they are - they must mean something otherwise they were way too much of a coincidence...looking forward to finding out more later in the series.

I did find it a bit odd that nearly every man (human or vamp) in this seems to be gorgeous and fancies Jane...although thankfully, despite flirting a bit with them, she doesn't jump into bed with any of them. I guess they are being set up as a love interest for later but there wasn't really any romance in this. It was definitely more urban fantasy, which worked well.

My only real criticism is that there were parts where the descriptions were just way too much - sometimes we hear loads of info about the decor and layout of houses or randomly, descriptions of tea, teapots and tea drinking!!?? Apart from those few instances though I found this an entertaining read.
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on 16 August 2011
Jane Yellowrock was introduced in "Strange Brew" as a character, but this series, focusing on her as an individual in the first person, is where you really learn just why you should read more. In this book, Jane arrives in New Orleans on Contract to deal with a rogue Vampire, which is what she does as a professional Bounty Hunter, but complications immediately arise. Jane is a Skinwalker who can shapeshift into any form given the time and means, but this doesn't help her overmuch in this case, although Jane turning into a bird, a dog and Beast-an animal mind and form somehow sharing her mind and body-helps to illustrate just what she can do. In fact, Jane has more success as herself-only it turns out that even Jane doesn't know who she really is that well. She doesn't know who she really is because of huge, inexplicable gaps in her memory. She doesn't know how old she is, because we occassionally get flashbacks to events which could have easily occurred 100-200 years ago and Jane's memory is so damaged she doesn't know for certain herself. This is possibly, as it turns out, the result of Jane staying in animal form for who-knows how long after, it seems, her family was Murdered-but Jane, again, doesn't know herself...

Fortunately, she's every bit as frustrated about all of this as the reader is, and enlists the help of an Indian Shaman in an effort to recover her lost memories and learn the full truth about herself. The results are fragmentary and in no real order, but I appreciate that because why would they be? Beast, it turns out, is hiding secrets of her own-and they tie into Jane's past in a way she might not want to remember. Not that will stop Jane from hunting for answers...

The plot is solid, if not spectacular, interesting characters help flesh out the story and the book is well-written. It's Jane herself who carries the book, though, and not just since she's the narrator and "star", everything we learn about her makes me want to find out more and, to be honest, there's just something very likeable about Jane. Not least her "Not sure about this" reaction to discovering the house she's been given to hole up in while in town is right next to a Whorehouse with a Vampire Mistress, despite which she ends up spending time with some of the girls, a few of whom aren't quite normal Humans themselves, which might just be a vital clue...

A really good start. I look forwards to reading more about Jane, her adventures and her world.
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on 11 December 2013
I'm a big fan of urban fantasy and strong female leads but I'm not that keen on Jane Yellowrock. I've only read this book and I won't be getting any more in the series. The author has done a great job actually and it's well written, with a good story-line and interesting characters but I just didn't warm to Jane herself, which is why I only marked it as 3 stars. Jane makes it her mission to annoy and antagonise police officers which I think is pretty juvenile; and also other characters she meets along the way such as "Troll" etc which is just unnecessary to be honest. She's quite reckless and selfish, often quite rude and generally a pain in everyone's butt. Some people might like that but I just found her to be a bit hostile and I got bored of her attitude. Other female leads in urban fantasy manage to get along without ruining the lives of everyone around them but Jane doesn't. However, like I said it's just a personal preference and no reflection on the quality of the writing or the general story which is actually very good.
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on 18 May 2010
A more easy going read than the Rogue Mage novels and you really get to like the central character and a bit more love and romance in these (for those who want that)

Good stories and plot, sometimes a little complicated but generally very enjoyable.

Worth starting with this series before you move to her Rogue Mage ones as they are much more heavy going.
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