Friday, October 19, 2012

Death's Rival by Faith Hunter

I think this book has more beheadings, dismemberments or mutilations per page than any book I've read in the last decade. The latest episode in the Jane Yellowrock series is violent from one end to the other. Appropriate for the story, yes. For young folks, not so much.

Jane is facing the consequences of killing the enforcer of another vampire family in a previous book in this series, when the ruler of that family, who is several hundred years old and quite powerful (and probably quite insane) declares war on Leo Pelletier's territory. He's also gradually taking over other territories around the country, by infecting the vampires in those areas with some sort of plague which both addicts them and slowly kills them, while not affecting humans, who transmit the disease in their blood.

Leo sends Jane to investigate the plague, and to get samples of the blood from infected vampires, but her trip is cut short when she is ambushed a couple of times along the way. It's obvious that there's an informer in Leo's family, but it takes Jane and company most of the book to figure out who it is, and they don't figure it out in time to save everyone from  lots and lots of bloodshed.

There's some good sweat lodge sequences in this book wherein Jane learns more about her forgotten history, and comes to understand her motivations a bit better. Her complicated relationship with Rick LaFleur seems like it's going to get better, then her trust issues screw things up once more. Ditto for Bruiser.

We get a couple of new characters added to the series when Jane recruits a security specialist for her team, and gets his computer genius/hacker little brother as part of the package. Not sure whether there will be some romantic angle with the older half of that team, one certainly hopes she's not tempted to rob the cradle.

In the end, Jane appears to be striking out in a new direction, trying to disassociate herself from Leo a bit, which is tough, as he has placed a mystical binding on her Beast (by accident, while trying to place it on Jane).

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