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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jane Yellowrock is not prey!
Jane Yellowrock is a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she wishes using necklaces made of feathers and bones. Jane shares her body with a conscious and independent entity (a panther) known simply as 'Beast'. There's markedly less narration from Beast in 'Blood Cross'; I think she was better utilised here with only short snippets from her point...
Published on 4 Jan 2010 by Persephone

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed - not as good as the first one
3.5 stars - It's a shame as parts of this series make it brilliant dark urban fantasy which could be 4.5 stars, but there are also parts of it that, for me, made it boring and repetitive at times!

Unfortunately the flaw of the first book with irrelevant lengthy descriptions of things seems to still be here - this time, its that we get subjected to the same...
Published 14 months ago by borderstar


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jane Yellowrock is not prey!, 4 Jan 2010
Jane Yellowrock is a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she wishes using necklaces made of feathers and bones. Jane shares her body with a conscious and independent entity (a panther) known simply as 'Beast'. There's markedly less narration from Beast in 'Blood Cross'; I think she was better utilised here with only short snippets from her point of view. In this world the 'Mithrans' or vampires are out to the public as are the witches, with complicated politics and ancient resentments the effects of which can impact all races. At the end of the prior novel Jane was hired by the vampire council in New Orleans to work for them hunting rogue vampires. Here we join Jane as the council asks her to hunt and kill one of their own who has broken some deeply sacred rules. Jane soon finds herself embroiled in some deep rooted politics, the origins of which stretch back thousands of years...

I really enjoyed this book! I had some minor issues with the first one, but found those fixed here. The plot was well paced with some very interesting developments that should be relatively far-reaching in terms of the series -- the story itself was clever and expertly woven with numerous threads of plot coming together at the end. One thing that surprised me was the excellent worldbuilding. I didn't think 'Skinwalker' was particularly original but I don't think that's true anymore; Hunter's worldbuilding was fascinating and unique -- the way she combined vampire history with religion and myth was quite masterful. I was pretty surprised with the idea she went with too, it was nice to see some daring (the good kind of daring) in this genre. As a result, I can't wait to see her apply this deft touch to the other races that may be crawling around in the shadows of Jane's world in future instalments.

The great strength of this series is its characters: Bruiser, Rick LaFleur, Leo Pellissier, the twins, Troll, Jodi and Molly Trueblood. It's rare for me to like pretty much every character in a series, but I do here. I was relieved to see that the twins made it as their existence at the end of 'Skinwalker' was a little touch and go there for a while. I like having them around because they're a kind of comedic double-act, so I was disappointed there wasn't much of them or Troll aside from a token appearance. Although, I was happy that the author avoided the cliched love interest route with Leo Pellissier -- as it stands he's much more formidable as a vampire for being an antagonist. I always think vamps lose their mystery when they start falling in lurrve. Plus there's more interesting plotlines to be explored in that, Bruiser (Leo's blood-servant), likes Jane. I think the way Hunter has set this up means that the potential plot conflict is far more unusual and textured as a result... the menfolk tend to suffer a bit in some UF, but Hunter writes them realistically. I love that Bruiser's not an alpha male; he's not a jealous and impatient man. Rather, he's quite snarky and charming, but somehow manages to remain stoic and distant at the same time. I was impressed with Rick too. He had his sleazy moments but generally showed more of his true character; which was actually that of a normal guy. These issues were less handled in a love-triangley kind of way and more in a sensible adult manner, which I enjoyed.

Jane herself was great, she learned a little more about her mysterious past as she engaged in shamanic rituals to unearth her memories. The rituals were well written and evoked a rich sense of atmosphere that drew me in -- the depth of the research into the Cherokee really shows in the great writing. If I'm not mistaken, Jane has also learned to mouth off less and her respect for authority has upped its anty a bit too! Jane and Beast's relationship was more compelling to me in this book, I enjoyed the subtle humour shared between the two of them.

The only thing I could possibly criticise about this novel is that I still feel as if Jane needs to emotionally invest in the other characters: namely the twins, Troll, Jodi and Bliss. I think I just want her to be BFF with these people, heh. But books always hit gold for me when there's a familiar group of allies around the protagonist creating a kind of family vibe -- since this is a first person narrative; Jane needs to invest in them in order for the reader to do so. It'll also raise the emotional stakes and give everything that extra 'zing'. I think I realised this when I was reading one of my favourite scenes in 'Blood Cross' in which Jane, Bruiser, the twins and a bunch of other blood-servants were having a mini social showdown. It had that great bantery vibe and the vampire politics from the blood-servants perspective was intriguing, and a new way to see things. I hope there's more of that in the future. Actually, that scene reminded me quite a bit of servants gossiping about their rich masters in period costume dramas.

Overall, a tightly written tale with fantastic characters and a tense gritty ambience. A brilliant sequel that builds on and improves on its predecessor. Looking forward to book three, Mercy Blade: A Jane Yellowrock Novel (Skinwalker)!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Skinwalker, 23 Jan 2010
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Jane Yellowrock is a Skinwalker, a native Indian woman who can shape-shift into any form she pleases within reason in the right circumstances. That and the fact she is a professional Bounty-Hunter who deals with Monsters drew her to New Orleans in the first book, which is where we catch up with her in the second book. This time around, though, the Vampire Master of the City is unstable after suffering a terrible personal loss as a result of Jane's actions in the first book and, even though she did him a favour doing what she did, he can't quite decide if he wants her dead or not-and she knows she won't be able to stop him if he wants her blood badly enough. On top of that, someone is Creating Vampires without authorisation and carrying out odd Rituals in the process, a situation Jane has to deal with since the Master of the City is currently incapable. Then there's the fact that Jane's Witch friend and her two young children have come to New Orleans to visit "Aunt" Jane, but the fact that Witch blood is being used in the Vampire Rituals means they may not be safe for all the Witches power. Jane's Beast, which considers her friends children it's "Kits", is even less happy about the situation. Just to make things interesting, Jane's house is nearly burnt down by the Master of the City right at the start of the story with her and her friends and "family" inside, her Love life is getting into gear and the Rituals being carried out concerning the new Vampires might just have something to do with the very Origin's of Vampires as a Race...

Non stop action, with lashings of sex and magic, added to Vampires, Werewolves, the BIG questions such as is it the Cross or your Faith that protects you from the Monsters, an entertaining and increasingly interesting central character with a bizarre lifestyle and history which makes her, along with her unusual powers, one of the most original Supernatural characters around today. If you like the stories of writers like Charlaine Harris and Karen Chance you'll love this. If not? Give it a go anyway, there's more than enough intelligence and plenty of ideas in this book that most will enjoy. Here's hoping the next book will come out soon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed - not as good as the first one, 28 Sep 2013
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3.5 stars - It's a shame as parts of this series make it brilliant dark urban fantasy which could be 4.5 stars, but there are also parts of it that, for me, made it boring and repetitive at times!

Unfortunately the flaw of the first book with irrelevant lengthy descriptions of things seems to still be here - this time, its that we get subjected to the same information just jumbled around slightly, every time Jane/Beast shift! Yes, we know by now that she goes into a grey space and reaches for the "snake" and her bones... slide and she shifts, changes and there is pain, pain, pain!!!! ...which then leads to a detailed description of the meal she has after she shifts EVERY time. Seriously, I think I read something to that effect about 20 times now between the first two books. Also the description of her shotgun is exactly the same in this one when the marine describes it as when she talked about it in the first book! There were just quite a few things like this that stood out to me where it made me feel I was re-reading the same thing again and again. Although there was a lot of good story in there, don't get me wrong, I still felt like I was skimming irrelevant/repetitive information and it needed a tighter edit.

Something changed in this one too so that I felt Jane wasn't quite so tough as she had been in the first - I really loved that she could fight well, but she seemed to keep getting things happen to her in this one and almost getting killed! So I hope in the future she goes back to being as good as she was in the first book...I don't want her to end up being one of these heroines who is supposed to be tough but needs saving every 5 minutes.

I do love hearing about her Cherokee and skinwalker heritage, so every time we learn a bit more about that I was pleased - we also learn a lot of interesting stuff about the vampires that's pretty cool. Unfortunately we don't learn anything more about Rick's tattoos yet, but I'm assuming/hoping this has some relevance and to be honest its such a freaky coincidence if it means nothing that I'm surprised Jane hasn't asked him about them yet!

And that brings me to Jane's love/sex-life... hhmm I'm kinda disappointed... as long as there is a good story, then I would have been happy for this to stay as urban fantasy without any real romance thrown in, although it's always interesting when there are possible love interests and there is a bit of flirting/tension etc - although I also don't like the kind where the heroine just jumps into bed with every male character! I already mentioned in the first book how it was rather convenient that there were loads of gorgeous guys in the book and every one of them seemed to like Jane - well this one continues that and there are a couple of entanglements, but it was a bit confused. I wish that if there was going to be a romance, then it should be realistic - at the end of the book she ended up, literally overnight, in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, which kind of came out of nowhere considering how little we have actually really heard from this character throughout the two books so far! Not to say he wouldn't have been the logical choice, but if this was going to happen I just wish it had been done more realistically. Oh and after the sort-of sex scene early on in the book, I was expecting to get a bit more description than what we got when she finally spent the night with her "boyfriend"!! We got no details whatsoever - I didn't need graphic description, but I did feel kind of cheated all the same that we got absolutely no information, when it seems we get excessive detailed descriptions about tea drinking for goodness sake!

...and then it ended with a wishy-washy epilogue...

So yeah, overall I still like where the story is going and it definitely leaves me wanting to know what happens in all the loose overarching plotlines, but I am not sure if I can be bothered (or at least not any time soon), as this one left me feeling a bit deflated and a bit "meh"...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good follow up, 18 May 2010
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J. Abraham (North London) - See all my reviews
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this was a good follow up to Skinwalker - although a little more complicated - which in itself is both a good and bad thing.

Still worth reading for those who like something you have to work at following more and would be interested to see where she goes with the next one, if there is one (?)

I liked the fact that it was quite witty and mostly lighthearted in it's approach. I can see the potential for some really good tales coming out of this writer as she is obviously fully committed to the genre and is not interested in just churning out magazine-freebie-tat... but, in my opinion, she also has a tendancy to over complicate the action and history which can make it all a little bewildering sometimes. I found myself turning back pages to re-read sections thinking I had missed something or to try and make more sense of what had just happened.

Would definitely say it's good - but with a little room to improve! I guess you will have to read it and make your own mind up!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly good, 9 Jan 2014
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Bevy "dawn- walker" (Kings Lynn, England) - See all my reviews
Yes, I know this is another "kick-ass" heroine with attitude ( and there are certainly enough of them) but I gave this series a try. Really pleased I did. Love the interaction between Jane and Beast. The vampires are evil, almost alien rather than being the " sexy, love gods" that happen to drink blood. Will continue with this series - it's got plenty of action and is different and interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Struggling to connect with the characters, 29 Jan 2013
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B. Mabbett "B. Mabbett" (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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The plot here isn't bad, but I found didn't care very much about the outcome when it came. Jane comes across as quite a cold and closed-down character, and avoids emotional intimacy with others. She has good reason for this, but since the story is narrated in the first-person, and Jane refuses to emotionally connect with other characters, the reader doesn't get to connect with them, either. Faith Hunter doesn't employ any other devices to expose her characters emotions or motivations; we only get to see them through Jane's eyes.

For example - Rick was obviously upset about having his cover blown, and was quite cavalier with Jane (locking her in the file room and without ensuring she could get out) yet she didn't confront him about it, and we didn't get to hear anything from Rick about how his life had changed or how he justified treating her like that. Yet Jane decided to jump into bed with him, anyway, quite arbitrarily. There was no payoff for the reader in that plot development. It rang very hollow.

The series has promise - I like the skinwalker aspect, the Beast, and the possible implications for Jane's power and place in the supernatural order. However, there's no joy in Jane, and spending time with her is kinda depressing. Not sure I want to read the rest of the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 7 Aug 2014
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Faith Hunter is a wonderful author. I always feel that I'm living as Jane because of the way I'm drawn into the story. Once again, this book deserves all 5 stars. I have bought all the books in this series, and can't wait to read the next one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the stories are great and the characters come alive on the pages, 3 Oct 2014
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I have bought the full series and ordered more .
the stories are great and the characters come alive on the pages .
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Series highly recommended., 27 Nov 2013
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Read the series. Highly recommended. I am keeping these as some of my favourites to read again. Highly recommend this author.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good first book, 4 Oct 2013
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I enjoyed this. I liked the insight into the different cultures. I found it a bit conflicting to have strong Christian ethics installed in Jane and then the conflicting other half of herself in the Cherokee roots. I know she herself was confused but it all but I found it a bit lumpy to read.

Jane herself is a great character and I like the others that were brought into her world. I enjoyed that vampires weren't typically trying to romance her and that there was a real sense of the danger they presented. It as nice to see a villain possibly come into play, a good adversary. There was some lack of depth in small places but that was probably me just being picky.

I look forward to the next one though I do hope that the whole strong ethics of her Christian side don't go over the top in the next few books which I have an inkling they may do... It's just my personal preference that religious beliefs don't dominate fictional, darker supernatural books. I personally don't feel that unless it plays an important part, I would rather it was left out.
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