Reviewed by Tori
“It’s always blood with you people.”
“To Mithrans. You are my people now.”
The European vampire witch council has always been a deadly threat to Jane and her boss, Leo Pellister, Head Vampire of the Southern Region, but when one of their strongest is let loose on New Orleans, the threat becomes a reality. Now Jane is tasked with bringing them in, alive, or risk an all out vampire war that could destroy everything and everyone Jane loves.
The 9th installment of Hunter’s epic Jane Yellowrock series continues to expand and elaborate on a particularly convoluted storyline that developed in her 7th installment, Black Arts. In Broken Soul, book 8th, Jane learns, unsurprisingly, that Leo has once again not been completely honest with her about why the European delegate coming or how he came into power and held it all these years. She told him his games would come back to bite him in the arse and they do…in here.
Though we are at the ninth installment, this world remains as fresh and innovative as it did when first introduced. Fast reliable pacing and well plotted storylines blend well with dry humor and dynamic characterization. Hunter continues to increase her character base, introducing new players while expanding on the older more established ones. Our protagonist, Jane Yellowrock, has matured from an insecure, guilt ridden, loner into a powerhouse with friends, family, a lover, and a sense of purpose. Though she will never truly exercise all her guilt nor her ingrained need to protect those she perceives need it (she is a born alpha warrior) she is beginning to accept she is more than a paid killer and acts accordingly. Her greatest achievement is her merging with her other nature. We have watched as Jane and Beast shared a body but existed as two separate entities; accepting one another begrudgingly. Over time they have become friends and now they have become one with one another, learning to trust the other and work together.
The arc itself is at a standstill as we are still looking for the arrival of the European Vampire Council. Everything that has happened in the last two books is a direct result of their impending arrival. Hunter has spent a considerable amount of time and skill creating an elaborate and complicated web of lies, betrayal, deception, and death that is slowly coming to light as Jane and her security team work their way to the center.The reasons behind past actions become clearer as the multiple plot lines intertwine, giving us an intimate view of the complicated politics of the vampire world and possible end games. Jane has some bad times as she wonders if the things she did early in her career may have led her to where she is now. The investigative angle still remains strong and gives the world a more modern vibe while reminding us of Jane’s humanity as it reflects starkly against the self involved nature of the supernaturals around her.
“Dear God Jane. What have you done?”
“I’m trying to fix a problem that’s been in the making for over a hundred years. Not everything is going according to plan. I’m not surprised about that and neither are you.”
Romance wise, this series has been frustrating though we have started to see some advancement. Hunter has chosen to keep it a very minor storyline, allowing it to flow beneath the main storyline without too much interference. A faint love triangle has flirted throughout the series as Jane found herself drawn and hurt by one man repeatedly. Recent events knock him out of her life though noises are made he may eventually come back. I love who is in her life now. George (Bruiser) romances and courts her; showing her that she matters to him; no matter what she is or does.
“Whatever my lady desires…”
Fans will love the continued evolution of Jane and her security team. Eli and Alex are Jane’s family and she seeks to keep them by her side. Like George, they accept and care for her unconditionally. No judgement for her actions or emotional punishment for what they deem inappropriate measures used. Eli and Alex have her back and woe to anyone who chooses to take them on.
“Is this what family does? All this conniving and arguing and keeping secrets? Cause I don’t like it.”
A new friend-Edmund Hartley- looks to be an interesting conquest. A master vampire himself that, through certain unknown actions, is now a slave to Leo has come repeatedly to Jane’s side when she needed him and I’m very curious to see what path Hunter chooses to take their relationship down.
The book ends on a positive note with a resolution of the conflict though the arc doesn’t really advance beyond some additional clues to help Jane understand better why the Europeans are coming. Hunter continues to up her game as she builds a heroine whose appeal is not only her strength and fearlessness but also her vulnerability and strong grip on her humanity. Jane can and does fail and it’s how she choses to pick herself up and keep going is what keeps me coming back for more. I look forward to seeing what Hunter has up her sleeve in the next installment, title and release date to be announced.