Book Review: Dark Queen by Faith Hunter

June 8, 2018 Book Reviews 1

Book Review: Dark Queen 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.

Dark Queen by Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock #12
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Ace on May 1, 2018
Pages: 432
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
Also in this series: Blood Trade

Also by this author: Blood Trade, Kicking It: These Boots are Made for Stalking, Blood in Her Veins, Mercy Blade, Shadow Rites, Bloodring, Seraphs

Twelfth in the Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy series and revolving around a Cherokee skinwalker who used to hunt vampires and now works for one in New Orleans.

My Take

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. We get a LOT of background on Jane’s family history! Ayatas’ presence is triggering memories for Jane: the names her father called her, when he taught her to use an axe, his fishing, and always the flashbacks on her first kills at age five. We get more on Leo’s past as well. The “reason” he and his brother were turned. Jane sees his memory of the first time Leo saw Grégoire and his vow to free him from that pedophile Le Bâtard. When Leo first saw Jane and their pivotal encounters…I think Jane’s enjoying reading Leo’s mind. And Leo admitting to what Jane’s presence has done *grin* for him.

It’s all from Jane’s perspective using first person protagonist point-of-view (it’s always easy to know when Jane is Jane and Beast is Beast, as Hunter changes their speech patterns — but always with Jane only as the POV), and you’ll want to cry as Jane realizes the truth behind Ayatas and his timing. Whoa…then Aggie points out where Ayatas was so wrong and too much like her grandmother.

Fortunately, there’s a good laugh in this when Angie-Baby and Little Evan greet Unca Leo, lol, and again with the “subtle” insults Leo provides with the meet-and-greet with the conservative emperor *roflmao* And it’s so very unlike Leo, lol. Oh, yeah, Deon’s participation will just dip. You. In. *more laughter* It got even better when Hunter described Deon’s “costume” and reminded us that Titus is a homophobe! A minor laugh are the mentions Jane makes about Alex “adulting” *snicker*.

I gotta admit, I found the first half of Dark Queen slow, even though there’s so much twisting going on in this, so much long-term planning on Leo’s part, that it’s a darn good thing Hunter is there to point it out to me! But it sped up when we finally got to the island. It could be simply because there was a lot more a*c*t*i*o*n. Kinda scary when I think on how much I do enjoy the violence and fighting…

I do enjoy the characters in this. That Leo is something else. As for Bruiser…yeah, I like him but I still have reservations, only because of his earlier actions with Jane. His about-face always felt too easy, too good to be true. As for Beast…oh lord, how can you NOT love her? She’s primal, wise, and has a wicked sense of humor, lol.

There are a few minor loose threads, like the demon who drank from Uni Lisi and why Earnestina seemed to be cooperating with the bad guys. A big issue for me was Jane’s thinking at the end, about how “alone” she is. Gimme a break. We’ve just been through such an elaborate game of protection for all those she cares about! And she’s gotta know they care about her!!

I LOVED Aggie’s wisdom about medicine not being drugs, but about a method of the right relationships with the spirit, mental, physical and the natural world. The truth that Aggie reveals to Jane about the wrong done to her that caused her to believe that violence and death are the answers to all things. Why Jane killed on the Trail of Tears. And Aggie notes that Jane can change, in future, how she reacts. Hmmm, sounds to me like Hunter is setting us up for the next phase in Jane’s life…I hope.

Oh, there’s a nice bit about so many of the tribes accepting multiple forms of sexuality. And Hunter, lol, makes an interesting point about the weres!

It was very sneaky of Hunter to ensure a few minor, yet core, players will continue on…yeah, that ending has me on tenterhooks. What happens next? Does Jane survive? What happens to Clan Yellowrock, New Orleans, Europe??

The Story

Forced to demand the Sangre Duello, Leo must win or the vampires and paranormals in New Orleans will die. Not to mention what will happen throughout the United States.

It’s that request of the government from both sides that goes to show what narrow thinking and the government mind can do to screw things up for the politicians. The vampire response from Leo and the emperor shuts the feds down and out, and they’re scrambling to regroup.

Worse, Jane is dying now, the time-walking is killing her.

The Characters

Jane Yellowrock — the 170-some-year-old Dalonige i Digadoli, Yellowrock Golden Eyes, a war woman — is a vampire hunter-turned-Enforcer for the Master of the City of New Orleans, a two-souled skinwalker with Beast (a puma) as her other half…and now a Dark Queen. Beast has her own firm opinions. Especially about Leo. The Younger brothers, Eli, an Army Ranger, and Alex, a.k.a., Stinky or the Kid (the electronic genius), are Jane’s partners in Yellowrock Securities and are about to become her brothers in truth.

Jane’s vampire-clan-to-be members also include…
Edmund Hartley, a vampire and Jane’s primo. Maryanne is Edmund’s blood servant; Nicolle had been Bruiser’s scion and was given to Ed. Jane’s boyfriend, George “Bruiser” Dumas, is Onorio and is no longer Leo’s primo. Gee DiMercy, the Mercy Blade, is an Anzu (a minor Sumerian storm god who looks like a dragon) and her Enforcer; he had been Leo’s misericorde (Mercy Blade, 3). Sloan Rosen is an NOPD cop with a price on his head.

The Tsalagi (Cherokee) were Jane’s people. Uni Lisi, Hayalasti Sixmankiller, was her grandmother (or great-grand) and the leader of their clan. Gvhe “Wildcat” and We-sa “Bobcat” are the names her father, Edoda, called her. Ani Sahoni, Jane’s mother, had been of the Blue Holly Clan. The yunega is the white man. Kalona Ayeliski was a Sunnayi Edahi, an invisible nightgoer demon from Cherokee beliefs, who claimed to have sucked Uni Lisi’s blood.

Psychometric Law Enforcement (PsyLED) is…

…a division of Homeland Security and polices paranormals. Senior Special Agent Ayatas FireWind was born Nvdayeli Tlivdatsi of Ani Gilogi, a.k.a., Nantahala Panther of the Panther Clan, and became Ayatas “Aya” Nvgitsvle (One Who Dreams of Fire Wind). He’s also the liaison between PsyLED, CIA, FBI, and ICE (for the duel). Soul is his up-the-line boss, the assistant director in charge of all paranormal investigations…and she’s an arcenciel, a rainbow dragon. Opal, Cerulean, and another arcenciel make an appearance. Ayata is also Rick LaFleur‘s immediate boss, a guy who screwed up way too many times, and a wereleopard who can finally shift. Brute is a white werewolf with timewalking abilities and an agent for PsyLED.

The Witches

The pregnant Molly Meagan Everhart Trueblood was an earth witch whose magic is now death (her familiar helps her stay grounded; Blood in Her Veins: “Signatures of the Dead”, 0.7), and she’s Jane’s best friend. Her daughter Angie is too talented. Big Evan is her sorcerer husband. Shiloh Everhart Stone is Molly’s niece, a witch turned into a vampire. Rachael Kilduff is her primo blood servant.

Lachish Dutillet is the head of the New Orleans coven and doesn’t like Jane or the vamps. Ailis “Bliss” Rogan is a witch-in-training.

The “Good” Vampires

The Master of the City (MOC) of New Orleans and the Greater Southeast United States is…
Leo Pellissier who can heal, bind, seduce, and control what he does with his blood. Amaury had been his uncle and the former MOC. El Mago had been Leo’s brother. Adelaide “Del” Mooney is his primo and legal counsel (and formally a blood servant to Lincoln Shaddock of Asheville). Lee Williams “Scrappy” Watts is Leo’s secretary, er, personal assistant. Lawrence “Larry” Hefner is Leo’s personal manservant. Ernestine “Raisin” is a vamp accountant. Quesnel is his sommelier. Tia, Ipsita, Christie, and Chin Ho (who tastes of hazelnuts) are some of the blood donors. Brandon (a lawyer) and Brian Robere are twins and Onorios and will judge the duel.

Wrassler (Jodi said yes and they’re planning a June wedding) and Tex are some of Leo’s on-site security. Derek Lee is Leo’s part-time Enforcer who answers to Jane and wants long-term employment with Leo. Mostly because Leo is feeding blood to his mom to keep her alive. His team includes the Tequila and Vodka boys, all ex-military: Tequila Antifreeze, T. Sunrise, T. Sweaty Bollock, T. Jolly Green Giant, P. Shooter, Angel Tit, and Chi-Chi. Shemmy is a blood-servant who occasionally drives Jane. Rona and Mazie Hogg (a gamer Alex knows) are sisters training for possible security positions in the new Atlanta clan. Madame Melisende, Modiste du les Mithrans, designs Jane’s business and formal clothes.

Katie and Alesha “Madam Spy” Fonteneau are sisters and vampires. Katie had been Leo’s heir and had run a vampire brothel, Katie’s Ladies. Alesha had been Leo’s spy. Ro Moore is Katie’s Enforcer, a cage fighter and mixed martial arts specialist; Deon is her gay chef. Tom LeFleur is her primo. Brenda Rezk is the security specialist assigned to Atlanta.

Grégoire “Blondie” is the Blood Master of Clan Arceneau and secundo heir to Leo and a Blood Master of various European territories. Dominique Quessaire is Grégoire’s clan heir. Innara leads Clan Bouvier and Bettina Clan Laurent. All that’s left of eight vampire clans (Skinwalker, 1). Sabina Delgado y Aguilera is the outclan vampire priestess. Rosanne Romanello is an ally and Master of the City of Sedona. Seattle is another ally.

Ming Zoya is the former Blood Master of the defunct Clan Mearkanis (Blood in Her Veins: “Off the Grid”, 7.9, and Shadow Rites, 10); her sister, Ming Zhane, is Blood Master of Clan Glass in Knoxville. Cai is Zhane’s primo.

Other vampires include Koun, who is a Celt,; Alejandro; Amy Lynn Brown who is valuable for her blood that can bring a Mithran scion over from the devoveo in less than ten years or the long-chained back to sanity (she’s one of Lincoln Shaddock’s); Dacy Mooney is Clan Shaddock’s heir (Del is her daughter); and, Namida (Star Dancer in Ojibwe) is a tribal woman and Canadian vampire.

Held prisoner in the basement of Leo’s headquarters, the Son of Darkness (SOD), a.k.a., Joses Santana, Joses son of Judas, and Yosace Bar-Ioudas, was one of two sons of Judas Iscariot who had betrayed Jesus. Adan Bouvier is a vampire weather witch everyone wants.

The Weres

The International Association of Weres IAW) and the Party of African Weres (PAW) represent…
…many shapeshifters. Kemnebi is a black wereleopard, leader of PAW, and must answer to his alpha, Jane (Blood in Her Veins: “Blood, Fangs, and Going Furry”, 3.2). His mate, Safia, is the one who turned Rick. Raymond Micheika is the IAW leader. Asad and his wife, Nantale, are African werelions; he’s also war chief for his human tribe, the Fulani.

The Bighorn Wolf Pack is…
…a four-state powerhouse and has an agreement with Leo, and they’ll broadcast the duello. Phillip “Champ” Hastings is their leader, and he formed a megapack by taking over several smaller Mountain State packs. They also took in gwyllgi (devil dogs). “Queen Bitch” is a gay wolf’s stage name and wardrobe; his puppy name is Ziggy. More wolves include Scout, Boomer, Scooter, Bear, and Bandit and Rocky are the drivers.

Toots is a wolf who lied to Phillip.

The Montana Red Pack is…
…a new werewolf group that split off from the Bighorns, when Phillip kicked out Prism, who had been his beta. The very powerful Jax had been Phillip’s third. Prism is now alpha with Jax as his beta.

The Merged Laws of the Cursed of Artemis are were law. Msimamizi means “administrator”. A grindylow guards against were-on-human violence. Pea and Bean are the grindylows Jane knows

.

The European Vampires are…

…ruled by an emperor, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, a powerful Roman general who hates gays, Jews, colored people, and witches — and accepts the Naturaleza ways. Tiberius Julius Alexander was his second-in-command at the time. Callan was the vamp who kidnapped Jane. Glacie is the female Viking vampire who is Titus’ Enforcer. Taviano is his primo. Salvatrice Bianchi is Titus’ weapons master. Lucrezia Borgia became an assassin for Titus. Whimsical Lou is Lucrezia’s second. Aloisio Esposito is the emperor’s tercero and MOC of Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Marrakesh, Casablanca, and the Balearic Islands. Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus is the founder of the Gaelic Empire in 260 or so. The Clan Des Citrons smells of lemons and is led by Julietta Tempeste. Concetta Gallo, Nibolio Mancini, Lanbros Alafouzos, Jeedalayn and Simon Costa will also present challenges.

The betraying Carusos had been funeral home directors and had created revenants using a special concoction they’ve left for Leo. Seems it stops necrosis of flesh, is bactericidal, and speeds healing. The Chiswells are Caruso blood-servants. The Lemon Grove Farm is a B&B owned by the Stephenses, blood-servants of Laurie Caruso.

The MOC of Mexico had been…
Jack Shoffru, one of Leo’s sworn enemies. Bancym “Cym” M’lareil, a vampire-witch with mind magic and a terrific obfuscation spell, had been his heir.

The Sangre Duello is…

…a blood duel to the death that will decide the fate of New Orleans. La Destreza is a New Orleans fighting technique. La Danza de los Maestros de Sangre is a magic, weapons, and no-holds-barred fighting style.

Chitimacha are a group of tribal islands, three of which are leased to Clan Pellissier. Marco Agrios is with Madderson Construction and in charge of sprucing up the island for “guests”. Renny Coozer becomes the new foreman. Bambi (call her “Mike“) is part of the construction crew and loves to paint. Jake is a master cabinetmaker. Trevis is the plumber.

More Info

An U’tlun’ta is a liver-eater, black-magic skinwalker, and evil. E-igido means “my sister”. The Glob is a powerful magic object melded together with a sliver of the Blood Cross, part of the iron spike of Golgotha and a blood diamond. The Dark Queen is powerful and can use any magical items, rearrange power structures, take positions of command and authority, and more.

Mithrans is the term preferred by vampires instead of vampires. A gather is a vamp ritual in which energy is shared. Vampira Carta of the Americas is Leo’s version of the Vampire Carta, the set of Mithran laws.

Aggie One Feather is the Cherokee Elder who has been mentoring Jane. Her mother is Ani Waya (Wolf Clan) and Eastern Cherokee; Aggie’s father is Ani Godigewi (Wild Potato Clan) and Western Cherokee; her great-grandfather had been Panther Clan.

The geeky Bodat is a World of Warcraft, garlic-smelling, doughy-fleshed friend of Alex’s who had helped on a case in Natchez. Reach is/had been the best researcher in the paranormal world until he turned traitor (Broken Soul, 8). Mr. Lee is a local tailor. Andromeda “Andy” Preaux owns a jewelry shop and doesn’t take a back seat to anyone. Her brother runs with the Razors, a local gang. The Zips are another new gang. Belinda Smith had been one of the housemothers at the Christian children’s home. Hayyel is an angel who has helped Brute and interfered elsewhere (Raven Cursed, 4). The police include Gomez who is with Gang Task Force. Detective Kerlegan is rather nasty.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a deep, deep navy background with a fast-moving Jane in white, tight leathers, swirling and wreathed in mist, her long black hair in a tight braid, her knife a blur. An elaborate bat-inspired border runs along the left edge with the author’s name centered across the top in a pale blue as is the info blurb just below it. The author’s name is angled below that in a distressed white just above Jane’s head. The series information is to the right of her head in that same pale blue with a testimonial in white on the bottom left.

The title is all Jane, the Dark Queen.

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