Monday, January 30, 2012

Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter

Getting close to being caught up with this series, finally. I have to go grab the fourth book, Raven Cursed, at the library tomorrow.

Jane is still working under contract with the master of New Orleans, Leo Pellisier, when the recently "outed" werewolves and werepanthers bring a delegation to the city. The panthers appear to be friendly, while the wolves are openly hostile, having been banned from the city a century ago for violating their own laws against infecting humans with the lycanthropy disease.

Leo asks Jane to meet with "a persona non grata" with his authority to warn him away at a remote location. Jane assumes that it's a were, and heads to the meet, but encounters an entire pack of werewolves who are ready to rumble. When they attack her, the person she was really supposed to meet comes to her aid, and rescues her from the pack. His name is Girrard DiMercy, and he once was the "mercy blade" for the vampire clans in the city, the one responsible for killing the vampires who did not escape the madness that lasts for a time after a new vampire has risen from the grave. Jane is not sure what Girrard is, as he's not one of the well-known supernatural types, and he remains mysterious throughout most of the book.

Jane's relationship with Rick LaFleur has gotten very serious, and she begins to worry about him when he disappears into an undercover assignment, and doesn't contact her at all for several days, but she's got her hands full with preparations for a diplomatic meeting between the werecats and the vampires, while the negotiations with the witches are still ongoing. Unsurprisingly, the meeting at vampire central rapidly dissolves into a bloodbath, with the uninvited werewolves crashing the party and starting a brawl, and the female werepanther, Safia, ending up murdered, apparently by one or more of Leo's minions. The prime suspects include Bruiser, Leo's prime blood servant and head of security, with whom Jane has had a seriously flirtatious relationship, which gets even more "touchy" when he moves in with her, seeking sanctuary from the police and supernatural politics.

So, Jane has to unravel the whodunnit, clear Bruiser's name, get rid of the werewolf thugs, find and rescue Rick, all without revealing her skinwalking nature to anyone. Plenty of action, good plot twists, and some self-discovery on her part. The ending has really got me wondering if the series will be seeking a new venue, maybe heading to the countryside instead of the urban landscape.

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