I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.True Dead by Faith Hunter
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Published by Ace Books on September 14, 2021
Source: my own shelves
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Also by this author: Blood Trade, Kicking It: These Boots are Made for Stalking, Blood in Her Veins, Mercy Blade, Shadow Rites, Bloodring, Seraphs, Dark Queen, Shattered Bonds, Black Arts, Broken Soul, Dark Heir, Cold Reign, Blood of the Earth, Curse on the Land, Flame in the Dark, "Water Witch", "Explosion On King's Street", Skinwalker, Dirty Deeds, "Shiloh and the Brick", "Black Friday Shopping with Nell and Occam", Circle of the Moon, Blood Cross, Spells for the Dead, "Easy Pickings"
Fourteenth in the Jane Yellowrock paranormal fantasy series and revolving around Jane, the Dark Queen. And today, Jane goes back to New Orleans.
If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Jane Yellowrock books on my website.
This is the most confusing tale, and I really wish I had re-read Shattered Bonds, 13.
Nor does it help that Hunter is all over the place and leaves bits out or unresolved. I wish Jane had taken the time to explore Monique’s soul home. I suspect I do need to re-read Shattered Bonds and then True Dead to better understand. And even then I may need #15 to make things clearer. Hmmm . . . it appears that #15 is a collection of short stories, so that plan may not work . . .
The point-of-view, is mostly first person protagonist from Jane’s perspective. Okay, I suppose you could say it was dual first person, since we do hear quite a bit from Beast, lol. It’s always interesting to read Beast’s dialogue versus Jane’s. The rivalry they have going. It’s also becoming more obvious that Beast has more control over their shifting than Jane suspected.
Jane has her usual character arc, struggling to come to terms with her powers and influence and the need for her to stand back. There is a lot of back history, way back history, Jane considers, trying to determine what happened to affect her throughout the series, so far. It’s not just her own back story either. Interesting tidbits in here that explain quite a bit. As well as some revealing facts about DNA and tracking genetic lines. Wow! Beast expresses her own interests, and I’m suspecting what her character arc might be.
Bruiser’s character arc, in this story, is his struggle with binding vampires to him. He does have a positive that Jane notes, all that nestmaking he’s doing.
With the Mithrans their own people and still not citizens of the US, they must still deal with the State Department as an independent “country”, which always makes things interesting.
As queen, Jane is passing some radical laws including taxation for making blood slaves, *he-he, snicker*.
We finally learn what causes the devoveo! It’s a biggie and quite interesting, which leads to more questions and confusion by Jane about the Old Testament God and the New.
The wedding was certainly an action scene, and the arcenciels have some weird demands about Jodi and Wrassler’s honeymoon! It’s an event that reveals more weaknesses about the vamp HQ.
It’s mostly character-driven and with lots and lots and lots of action. Omigod. There’s action. And moodiness, guilt running free, death. Oh, boy.
It’s a wedding!
And it’s war when Jane is compelled to return to New Orleans because someone is trying to destabilize the paranormal world order. As the Dark Queen of all Mithrans, the assault is her problem.
She will do what she must to protect what’s hers. Her city. Her people. Her power. Her crown.
Jane Yellowrock, a.k.a. “Legs”, Her Majesty, is a vampire hunter, Cherokee skinwalker — war woman, and Dark Queen of all Mithrans. The Glob is a magical thingamabob that protected Jane while le breloque, a.k.a. la corona, is the all-important crown. Beast is the mountain lion whose soul Jane accidentally tied to her when she was five. Bitsa is her bastard Harley.
Bruiser, a.k.a. George Dumas, is Jane’s Consort and an Onorio, who seeks sanctuary in the winery. Bruiser has brought his own Indian out of storage. Eli and Alex Younger, brothers, are Jane’s partners in Yellowrock Security as well as Jane’s “brothers”. Eli is amazing in his battle skills yet gentle. Alex is a genius hacker. Dave Hines is the new pilot for Jane’s new PC-24, Pilatus charter jet.
Yellowrock Clan has . . .
. . . a home base in the Appalachian Mountains near Asheville, Jane’s winter court. Koun, a Master vampire who had been one of Leo’s, is a powerful Celtic-tattooed vampire and older than Leo. He’s Jane’s chief strategist and the Dark Queen’s Executioner. Brute is a white werewolf cursed to remain in his animal shape. Longfellow is a large flying striped lizard with red wings (Shattered Bonds). We’re not sure which of the grindylows are with them. Martha and Jangles are Tex’s dogs. “Tex” Cooper is also part of Jane’s security. Josue Gagne is a French winemaker Bruiser hired to run the winery.
Grégoire, a.k.a. Blondie, is Jane’s warlord in Europe, the Blood Master of all France. Edmund, a.k.a. Eddie the Great, is Jane’s primo and the emperor of Europe.
Asheville, Tennessee, is . . .
. . . where Lincoln Shaddock is the Master of the City and Jane’s ally. Thema and Kojo are mates and vampires, unsworn guests of Lincoln’s. Amy Lynn Brown is a vampire whose blood pulls new vampires through their transition very fast.
The City of New Orleans is…
. . . home base for the Mithran Council Chambers where “Wrassler“, a.k.a. Homer Perkins, is holding the fort. Amaury Pellisier had been the former MOC of New Orleans. Brandon and Brian Robere are twins and Onorios; Brandon is Jane’s lawyer. Ernestine “Raisin” Frida Bisset is the very elderly accountant. Dr Northern tests DNA. Deon, Katie’s former cook, is now a chef for the Council Chambers. Larry is Leo’s former valet. Quesnel had been Leo’s wine steward and sommelier. The Yellowrock Clan Home in New Orleans is the old Rousseau Clan Home. Drs Pierre and Solange Paquet have taken over the vampire funeral home. Shemmy is Jane’s driver.
Katie’s Ladies Bordello is still there but no longer used as a bordello — Katie is now the Master of the City of Atlanta. Katie’s former ladies are now part of Jane’s clan and include Christy, Tia (she’s learning about computers from Alex), Ipsita, Rachel (she’s Shiloh’s primo), Indigo, Najla, and Bliss, a.k.a. Ailis Rogan, who is learning how to be a witch. Gee DiMercy is a glamoured Anzu who is Jane’s Enforcer. Quint is Quesnel’s niece, a sociopath, and about to be Jane’s instructor in etiquette and royal conduct, a maid, a personal assistant, and security. Signy is a recent import, a Scandinavian Mithran.
Shiloh Everhart Stone is a vampire witch and Molly’s niece. Sabina is an outclan priestess, a neutral judge in vampire matters. Bettina had been. Tau, a very dangerous senza onore, is being held in the NOLA witch null prison.
The NOLA clans who answer to Jane include Bettina Laurent of Clan Laurent; Innara and Jenna, the anamchara Blood Masters with their heir, Roland; and, Ming Zhane, who is another clan master. Cai is Ming’s blood-servant in security. Long-Knife is second to Cai. Florence is the Infermieri who will be assigned to Jane. Florence had served under the outclan priestess Susanna to become outclan herself. Melita Del Omo had written a journal back in the day. She and Soledad Martinez had practiced black magic and now live together near New Orleans. Rosebud is one of their blood-servants. Edith is supposed to be an outclan priestess. Or an Onorio?
Derek Lee runs security for . . .
. . . the New Orleans vampires using his recruits: the Tequila and Vodka Boys. The Tequila Boys include Antifreeze, Sweaty Bollock, Blue Voodoo, and Sarah Spieth. The Vodka Boys include Angel Tit and Chi-Chi.
New Orleans PD
Jodi Richoux and Sloan Rosen (he’s Jodi’s second-in-command) are police detectives. Jodi gets promoted to official liaison to the NOLA fangheads. The police chief is Walker who owes his life to Jane.
Father Juan Ramirez will perform the wedding ceremony.
Psychometric Law Enforcement Division Of Homeland Security (Psy-LED)…
. . . polices paranormals. Soul, She Who Claims the Rift, a.k.a. She Who Seeks Peace, is assistant director and an arcenciel. Agent Rick LaFleur, a wolf shifter, is the head of a Psy-LED unit in Knoxville and a former boyfriend of Jane’s. Kemnebi, an African were-leopard, had been forced to babysit Rick by Jane.
Special Agent-in-Charge (and regional director) Ayatas FireWind, a.k.a. Tsu Tsu, Nvdayeli Tlivdatsi, is another skinwalker, Jane’s younger brother, and an Elder of the People. It seems there are three other skinwalkers who are family. Einisi, a.k.a. Hayalasti Sixmankiller, is Jane’s many times grandmother.
Arcenciels are . . .
. . . the rainbow dragons whose bite is poison. Storm is appointed emissary to the Dark Queen’s court. Pearl and Opal accompany her to the wedding.
The Everheart coven
Molly Everheart Trueblood is married to Evan, a sorcerer still in the closet. Angie, Little Evan, and baby Cassie are their powerful kids. Liz Everheart is dating Eli.
Ka N’vsita had been purchased back in 1803. Adan Bouvier, a weather-witch-vampire, had also become a prisoner forced to do things. Immanuel had been Leo’s son whom Jane had killed. Lucas Vazquez de Allyon had been a Spanish conquistador vampire who killed hundreds of Cherokee skinwalkers.Amelie had been meant to be Immanuel’s fiancée. Fernand had been her brother. Both were turned by Leo. The Heir of the Sons of Darkness is the vampire pulling all these strings, the master of Leo Pellisier.
Shaun MacLaughlin had been the mind-bound anamchara of Dominique, Grégoire’s heir. Now he is the representative for the Heir. The highest-ranking member of his entourage is a Russian Naturaleza, Zariyah.
The Damours had been a vamp blood-family with a witch family lineage, practicing black magic. Renee Damours had married her brother.
“Legolas” is . . .
. . . Melker and also known as “Lego”. Monique Giovanni is a senza onore, a dark form of Onorio, more powerful than Jane or Bruiser suspects. The Firestarter, Aurelia Flamma Scintilla, is also a senza onore, a former nun, and now an outclan priestess. Dovic is a master swordsman.
Hayyel is the angel who protects Beast, and the angel who rescued Jane/Beast in Raven Cursed, 4. Arcenciels are rainbow dragons from another plane of existence whose bite allow you to see parts of the future. Coreen is the oldest living blood servant in the West.
There are two conflicting methods of feeding for vampires: the Naturaleza represent the old ways and want to drain and kill humans while the Fame Vexatum, Mithrans, believe in sipping and not killing.
Anamchara is a term for soul-bonded, an eternal mating. The devoveo is the years it takes for a newly made vampire to control themselves. Blood-slaves are blood-junkies without a permanent master and no security; blood-servants are paid employees who offer work and blood meals and who develop a relationship with their master, one that might turn into being adopted into the family. Infermieri are vampire healers. An SOD is a Son of Darkness, the original vampires. A gather is a vamp ritual in which energy is shared. La Destreza is the “cage of death”, revamped by vampires from its original form.
My Lady Mother had been Bruiser’s human mother. Reach had been a majorly good hacker and researcher who betrayed Jane. Ernest J Bellocq had figured out how to photograph vampires back in the mid-1800s.
An U’tlun’ta is a liver-eater, spear finger, and an evil skinwalker who does black magic and takes the life and flesh of a living human. A gigadanegisgi is a vampire. Aggie OneFeather had been Jane’s first Tsalagi Elder. Tsu Tsu Inoli, a.k.a. Mark Black Fox, was Grandmother’s son.
The Cover and Title
The cover is primarily browns and golds as Jane, in her red armor, races through a brown-toned cemetery, her head turned to the left with her braid flying to the right. In her right hand, she carries a dagger, in her left the Glob is shining brightly. On the left is a narrow gold border with brown stylized bats. At the top is the author’s name in yellow. Below that is an info blurb, also in yellow. Below that and above Jane’s head is the title in a distressed white. At the very bottom on the left is a testimonial in white. On the right is the series info in yellow.
The title is what both sides are aiming for: True Dead.