Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, Book 1) by Faith Hunter
First in a brand new series from the author of the rogue mage novels
Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind-a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. But now she's been hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katie's Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who's killing other vamps...
No matter how many UF books I read I’m always searching for that allusive vampire hunter story. The kind where the lead lady is everything I’ve always wanted. Where the kills and plot just doesn’t seem to fall into her lap while she fumbles around like a newbie. No, the lead I seek knows what she is doing, can kickass, knows her limits, and is more than a prejudice vampire hater—oh, and smart. That’s exactly what is delivered in Skinwalker!
Jane is a fearsome character. She’s lost the memories of her past, all she knows is that she wandered out of the woods when she was 12 and was then raised at a Catholic school. After her first shift she soon realized that she was more than Cherokee, she was a Skinwalker. After that first shift Beast soon emerged, a feline soul that shares her body. Beast is just as fascinating as Jane and both of them truly make the character(s). Also they both know how to kill. Beast with her killer claws and teeth, her amazing speed and strength, and her hunting instincts. Jane has amazing weapons, the coolest hunter getup, and she can tap into Beasts super animal skills. Unlike most series where the mystery behind the lead is dragged out for an unreasonable amount of books our leading ladies pasts come to light—without crazy amounts of flashbacks.
The reason why Jane became a hunter of the undead is not brought to light, but I do like that whatever those past issues are the do not make her prejudice to the extent of being a bigot. Instead of assuming all vampires are just like the rogues she’s been haunting she takes a job from a “civilized” vampire. It’s obvious she has every right to treat them like dangerous—evil—creatures as their violent natures come out. As the hunt for the rogue continues it’s obvious that it’s more complicated in that. Even Jane accepts that she actually is growing fond of the certain vamps.
The world Hunter has created is refreshing. When Marilyn Monroe tries to change President Kennedy into a vampire the truth comes out! (Come on, that is the coolest outing ever!) Skinwalker takes place in New Orleans, a city that never fails to captivate my attention. However, I will be the first to admit that other authors in UF genre have done better jobs at it.
Ever since reading Moon Called by Patricia Briggs I’ve been hungering for a tale with a Skinwalker as the lead. The Native American Mythology has been obviously researched and is very authentic. The Vampires are very well thought out and their “government” of blood suckers is so well done that if I had to say how vampires would govern themselves this would be the way. The balance of humans and vampires is beyond fascinating from servants to blood slaves and there’s obviously more here to explore. The hint that there are werewolves and elves out there gives me Goosebumps of anticipation!
There were a few parts of the book that rubbed me the wrong way. It seemed like every male in the book was hot and was ready to jump Jane’s bones. More annoying was that Jane pretty much oogled all that man candy. For me, it just didn’t fit Jane’s personality. She’s strong, smart, doesn’t think like most women, and here she is checking out everything with a dick. That doesn’t fit with someone who can’t have casual sex and is loyal to the one they’re with. Sure she has Beast inside her and the animal magnetism makes others attracted to her, and maybe that makes her a bit horny between the two. It just feels too much like a setup for her to have to have sex, and we all know where I stand on that kind of plot. Also, her amazing super powers seem to fail so that she can have a weak, or damsel, moment so the males can have a little power over her. It’s a much loved plot device, but I felt that Jane should not have to suffer from it. These parts weren’t that blown out of proportion, but I feel like they could go to a very bad place for the series.
The hunt for the rogue is an adrenaline bomb: exploding with thrills and leaving a burning hunger for more, more, more! Between trying to guess who, or better yet what, the rogue vampire truly is left me flipping the pages frantically. Despite reviews stating that Hunter stole Briggs Skinwalker idea, I didn’t feel any thieving here. Jane is a wonderful character who knows what she’s doing and doesn’t waste time. She’s witty and may not always know when to be humble, but that’s why I love her. Even if Jane wasn’t so awesome I would have read this book for Beast alone. This is the ultimate read for anyone looking for a “real” vampire hunter!
Sexual Content: Beast is quite the dirty kitty and gives Jane some advise on what she needs. The vampires are pretty sexual, and Jane gets a lot of invitations for sex. Nothing overly explicate. Also there’s a little bit of listening in while some people get hot and heavy.
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