Book Review: Cold Reign by Faith Hunter

Posted October 16, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Cold Reign by Faith Hunter

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.

Cold Reign by Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock #11
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Published by Ace Books on May 2, 2017
Pages: 350
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also in this series: Blood Trade, "Easy Pickings", True Dead

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, 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", True Dead

Tenth in the Jane Yellowrock paranormal fantasy series and revolving around a Cherokee skinwalker and vampire bounty hunter in New Orleans.

If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Jane Yellowrock books on my website.

My Take

Yeah, the vampire end of things is quite scary, and Hunter offsets this with Jane’s snark: “…it was my greatest … pleasure in life to frustrate him [Leo]”. Some of her snark is only in her head — Hunter uses first person protagonist point-of-view from Jane’s perspective, so we get her thoughts and emotions and some does come out of her mouth…

Eli is quite the character. I do enjoy Hunter’s depiction of his sense of humor, so very low-key. Bruiser is changing too, putting Jane first for a change. It certainly provides an extra bit of tension with Leo.

There’s an interesting bit of French history with Hunter lining out the reigns of the Capetians, the Valois, the Bourbons, and the House of Orléans. We also get a bit of Edmund’s history, and dang, it is so sad. All due to his inability because of his position. Oh man, a bit of Eli’s history helps explain his PTSD. Then there’s Grégoire’s reveal about his treatment at Le Bâtard’s hands.

Okayyy, that bit about the funeral home was just creepy! So was Beast’s, um, “yummy” food. Ick.

The series is all about conflicts: the European vampires who want to take over Leo’s territory and the US; Jane’s need to find another skinwalker and coming to terms with her own past; her battle with Leo’s desire for her; her hatred for what Leo is; and, her conflict over his “evil” versus his decency.

Jane’s particular character arc involves forgiveness of what she learned as a child and the great wrong she did Beast. I do have to say that Jane’s relationship with Beast is such a crack-up. Yes, it is serious, but Beast has her own issues with what Jane did to her so long ago and delights in giving Jane particular pains as well as keeping secrets from Jane. Hmmm… And Alex is growing up.

Again. Why is Jane not blocking up that damned secret entrance?!? Ooh, it seems that Ricky Bo has accepted Jane’s decision with that apology of song.

There’s some pretty nasty stuff in here. The kidnappings, the torture, and the betrayals within betrayals. A ton of action with plenty of tension will keep you reading through the night!

The Story

The situation in New Orlean is rife with potential destruction, as strange vampires from around the US come to pay homage to Leo. Yet more strange vampires secretly slip into New Orleans, amping up the destruction, triggering multiple betrayals.

The Characters

Born in 1822, Jane “Legs” Yellowrock is a Cherokee skinwalker and began a career as a vampire bounty hunter. Now she’s the Enforcer for Leo and can bubble time. She’s also two-souled, sharing her body with Beast, a mountain lion. Eli Younger is an ex-Army Ranger with some mad skills, who, along with his brother, Alex, a.k.a. the Kid or Stinky — depending on his hygiene — who has his own mad skills at computer hacking, are partners with Jane in her security company, Yellowrock Securities. Edmund Hartley, a vampire who lost a duel as leader of Clan Laurent, is now Jane’s primo. Bitsa is Jane’s Harley.

George “Bruiser” Dumas is dating Jane these days. Leo’s former primo, Bruiser is now Onorio and independent. Nicolle is the blood-bond scion Bruiser acquires.

Molly Everhart Trueblood started as an earth witch who developed death magic. She’s married to Evan Trueblood, an air witch in hiding. Their children include Angeline “Angie Baby” and Evan Jr “EJ”, both witches. She’s also Jane’s best friend. Nell Ingram (Soulwood series) now works with Rick.

New Orleans Vampires

Leo Pellisier is the Master of the City (MOC) of New Orleans and surrounding territories. Amaury Pellisier had been Leo’s uncle and the previous MOC. My eyes, a.k.a. Madam Spy, is Leo’s spy within the EVs. Girrard “Gee” DiMercy, an Anzû is Leo’s misericord. Adelaide “Del” Mooney, a lawyer, is Dacy’s human daughter and Leo’s primo. Lee “Scrappy” Williams Watts is Leo’s personal assistant. Ernestine “Raisin” is Leo’s CPA.

Wrassler, a blood-servant, is the head of operations at the Mithran Council Chambers, a.k.a. vamp HQ; Tex was turned in the 1800s; Brenda Rezk is security from Atlanta; and, Shemmy is a driver. Derek, a former Marine, is Leo’s Enforcer-to-be. His men include Team Tequila and Team Vodka. Pauline Easter and Wayne McCalla are also part of security.

There are three clans who…
…owe Clan Pellisier fealty: Arceneau, Laurent, and Bouvier. The fifteen-year-old-looking Grégoire “Blondie” is the Blood Master of Clan Arceneau, the best swordsman in North America, a Valois, and Leo’s best friend and boy toy. He’s also Leo’s secondo heir. Dominique is Grégoire’s primo and Shaun MacLochlainn is her anamchara. Adrianna had been Grégoire’s secondo heir until she betrayed them all. Brandon and Brian Robere, twins, are Grégoire’s Onorios.

Katie’s Ladies is…
…a whorehouse run by Katie, Leo’s heir and lover. Tom, a.k.a. Troll, is her primo and a several times great-uncle to Rick. Alesha Fonteneau is Katie’s sister. Ro Moore, a former MMA cagefighter, is Katie’s new Enforcer.

Sabina and Bethany Salazar y Medina are Outclan, vampire priestesses with great power.

Asheville, North Carolina, is…
…ruled by Lincoln Shaddock, the Blood Master of Clan Shaddock. Dacy Mooney is his heir. Amy Lynn Brown is a hotly wanted scion of Lincoln’s.

Joses, son of Judas Iscariot, a.k.a. Joseph Santana, is one of the heartless Sons of Darkness, one of the original vampires, and still a prisoner of Leo’s. He had turned Hugh Capet, the first sire of this line of Naturaleza with canine-like fangs, upper and lower.

The Witches

The New Orleans coven is led by Lachish Dutillet. Bliss, a.k.a. Ailis Rogan, had been one of Katie’s ladies, but is now embracing her witch side.

European Vampires (EVs)

Ruled by Titus Flavius Vespasianus, a former Roman emperor. His court includes Louis VII, a.k.a. Louis Seven, Louis Le Jeune, and Louis the Young, a Capet and the pedophile, Le Bâtard, a Valois, who is Grégoire’s sire. Fernand Marchand is of Clan Rochefort in France who came to New Orleans with his sister and Immanuel’s fiancée, Amitee. Immanuel had been Leo’s son and a liver-eater. Macario and Gualterio Cardona are the “big-gun” vampires sent as emissaries.

The vampires who came ashore include Marie Claudine Sylvie de Thiard de Bissy, Duchesse de Fitz-James, a former lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette; Charles II of Spain; and, Alesha.

A mural showed Adan, a vampire-water/air witch, of Clan Bouvier which had had the dog fangs; Ka Nvista had been a skinwalker and his blood-servant. Rousseau had been the blood-master of Clan Rousseau. Elena and Isabel were his favorites. Desmaris and his servants, Joseph, Louis, and Alene. Laurent was with her favorites, Elizabeth and Freeman. St Martin had associated with the Damours; Renee had been a servant. Josh Martin, a human, owns Daimler Straight Edge; his several-times great grandpa had been the founder of Clan Martin. Clan Damours had been led by Tristan and Renee, brother and sister who married and sired in-bred children (Blood Cross, 2).

Law Enforcement

Detective Jodi Richoux, of a witch family, is the head of their woo-woo department, an appointment meant to be negative. Ha! She’s dating Wrassler! The New Orleans Gang Task Force (NOGTF) is part of a multiagency task force with the FBI.

Sylvia Turpin is the sheriff of Natchez, and there is trouble in her and Eli’s relationship. Pansy Knight, the sheriff of Plaquemines Parish, really dislikes supernaturals.

PsyLED is…
…the Psychometry Law Enforcement Division of Homeland Security of which Soul, an arcenciel, is assistant director. Senior Special Agent Rick “Ricky Bo” LeFleur, a former NOLA detective-turned-werepanther who cannot change, is in charge of the Knoxville, Asheville, and Chattanooga PsyLED office. He’s also Jane’s ex-boyfriend. Paka is gone. Brute is a white werewolf confined to his animal form by Hayyel. Pea and Bean are the grindylows born in Raven Cursed, 4?? Their function is to enforce were-law.

More Info

There are two types of vampires: Naturaleza who saw all humans as cattle to be drained at will and the Mithrans who work to limit their intake. The Vampira Carta is the vampires’ charter of laws. La Destreza is the Spanish Circle of sword fighting. Revenants are vampires who weren’t properly killed and who came back. A primo is a vampire’s main servant: butler, bodyguard, secretary, personal healer, financial advisor, fighter…and hairstylist. Onorios are rare and powerful. The devoveo is the insane period when a vampire is first turned. Acton House had been a vamp boardinghouse; St Emilion House still is. Callan “Corpse” had served De Allyon, a Naturaleza (Death’s Rival, 5).

Mateo and Laurie Caruso, dog-fanged vamps with Clan Bouvier, run Caruso Family Funeral Services catering to vampire burials. Oliver Estridge, a human, and Mitchel Hopkins, a vampire, were buried together in 1909. Davide Berkins, a pedophile turned vampire in 1512, revenant in 1825, and again, today. Joan Bennett also came back as a revenant. And was not a child.

Carolyne Bonner is the reporter from the news channel. Rinaldo is an Uber taxi driver who will always pick up Jane. His daughter is the one who gets him to stop smoking. It was a good ploy, lol. Mrs Marillett is Rinaldo’s neighbor. Belinda is the house mother Jane had loved best at the Bethel Nondenominational Christian Children’s Home. Bobby had been the sweet, mentally handicapped boy Jane had befriended at the Home. Babeaux is a church janitor. The St Louis Cemetery is the oldest in New Orleans. The Bloods and Crips are human gangs whom Derek has fought. The Royal Mojo Blues Company is a bar and grill and dance hall that belongs to Leo.

Aggie One Feather is Tsalgi (Cherokee), an Elder whom Jane visits for advice and spiritual counseling. Aggie now has a beagle puppy. Uni lisi is a term of respect Jane uses for Aggie’s mother. The Angel Hayyel (Raven Cursed, 4) changed Jane/Beast and Brute, changes which included the ability to bubble time. An arcenciel is a shapeshifting rainbow dragon that can manipulate time, and if captured, can be “ridden”. Opal and Cerulean are more arcenciels.

Le breloque is a laurel-leaf crown, a magical artifact Jane got in Blood in Her Veins: “Cat Fight”, 9.5. The Glob is a blood diamond that Jane has transformed into her weapon. The Gray Between is between planes of existence and is where Jane goes to change shapes.

The Cover and Title

The cover is cold in a bluish white background, a slightly darker blue twisting around a black leather-clad Jane (long sleeves this time!) in action, her long black braid swirling, one dagger held behind her and another in front, as Jane herself swirls into action. The left border is a stylized series of bats gradating from the pale blue to the dark blue. The author’s name is at the very top in a grayed blue with an info blurb immediately beneath it. The title is in the dark blue, tilted at an angle. The series info is stacked just beneath it on the right. At the bottom right is a testimonial in dark blue.

The title is what Leo calls the rule of the European Vampires, the Cold Reign Leo intends to end.

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