Book Review: Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter

Posted July 18, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: Shadow Rites 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.

Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock #10
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc on April 5, 2016
Pages: 384
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, 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", True Dead

Tenth in the Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy series set in New Orleans and revolving around Jane, a Cherokee skinwalker and rogue vampire hunter. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Jane Yellowrock books on my website.

My Take

Shadow Rites is amazingly complex with some scary (yep, even more scary than usual!) events, including actions against Jane that are crippling her. Part of it is that Jane is evolving with Beast, their RNA strands combining into a triple. Her/their abilities are both evolving and devolving, and Jane never knows what will work. Not a good situation in Shadow Rites. Jane’s household is evolving too, and it’s funny and warm to watch as she adjusts. It’s pretty funny to watch Beast evolve into acceptance of some of the stranger elements of the growing household. She licks Brute’s nose! A dog!?

I love that Hunter avoids the stupid tropes of not eating and not sleeping. Well, okay, it is hard for our side to get some sleep, but at least it’s not because they’re refusing to. Jane does, however, tick me off with her oh, guilty me routine. Oy.

Little Evan is so cute as he echoes his sister. More fun comes from Leo and his enjoyment of Jane’s snark. It’s the first time I’ve really felt his humor, and I suspect that’s because Hunter has Jane easier around him.

“You really need to keep it in your pants.”

There is some interesting back history about Edmund — and his training as a lady’s maid, *giggle*, although there are some nasty aspects to his past. And Edmund’s part in the story only gets more and more interesting; I’m suspecting we’ll be seeing a lot of this new primo with the very useful crimefighting skills. It gets even more interesting as the plot pulls in all sorts of threads from all the previous stories, including how and why Bethany went insane.

Jane is such a kick-ass woman, more interested in guns and sheaths — and really fancy fighting leathers — than flowers or jewelry. She’s such a guy, *laughing*! She has her morals — tempered by greed for money and knowledge — piled up against her Christian/Cherokee values. And what I really love about her is that snarky attitude of hers, even in the shadows of her fear, lol. Of course, her relationship with Beast is always fascinating.

The difference in how Hunter expresses Jane’s thoughts versus Beast’s is so nicely distinct. I love the fastfastfastfast pacing of Beast’s dialogue. I am terrified of the new problems in Jane’s genetic/magical heritage. I’m hoping that Gee’s comment, “You are protected now”, that he made in the ballroom means life will be less deathly for Jane when she bubbles time. Oh, yeah, this is gonna be fun!

On the negative side, there were a number of idiocies in here that annoyed me and didn’t make sense with the usually smart characters in the series. Why didn’t Jane and crew (and I’m including the vampire security teams) start investigating the potential traitors amongst the staff? Why weren’t they more thorough in checking out the mansion before the actual event? Why didn’t the witches and security pay attention to the use of gas spells earlier? And in the aftermath, I am wondering what the NOLA witches’ attitude will be after this debacle.

There is so much going on in Shadow Rites, I almost want to start all over from the very beginning and speed read my way through. The politics alone are a twisting spiral of long-term plans and trickery, including that tidbit about someone who has a primo is automatically a Master. It is going to drive me mad having to wait to find out what the EVs get up to!!

It’s a growing time for Yellowrock Securities and Jane’s family, and Jane can’t decide if she likes having roots or…if it’s too scary.

The Story

It’s an unexpected discovery in a pit deep in the swamps that begins to unravel the why behind the witches’ attacks and events in the past one hundred years.

And the witches have found a way to control vampires.

The Characters

Jane “Legs” Yellowrock is a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires, when she’s not fulfilling her contract with Leo as his Enforcer. Beast is her second soul, a Puma concolor who shares Jane’s body. The successful Yellowrock Securities has expanded with two additional partners: Eli and Alex “the Kid” Younger, a.k.a., “Stinky”. Eli is a former Ranger with mad skills; his younger brother’s mad skills are with anything involving computers — especially the hacking aspect. A former felon, he’s studying for a double doctorate at Tulane and spying on Jane for the government.

George “Bruiser” Dumas is an Onorio and formerly Leo’s primo; he and Jane have finally gotten together! “Get a room” is a frequent refrain around these two, lol. Edmund Hartley was the clan master of Laurent until he lost. Now he serves Leo.

Big Evan and Molly Everhart Trueblood are witches. Molly, an earth witch whose magic devolved, is Jane’s best friend, and she has recently forgiven Jane for events in Raven Cursed, 4. Evan is an in-the-closet sorcerer using air and is slowly coming to accept Jane. The too-precocious Angie Baby and Little Evan are their children. Jane is their godmother. Cassandra Evangeline Jane Yellowrock Everhart-Trueblood is still a bump in Molly’s tummy. Kit-Kit is the cat who is Molly’s familiar (an embarrassment in witch circles). Elizabeth and Boadicea Everhart are Molly’s twin witchy sisters.

Aggie One Feather is a Cherokee Elder who serves as Jane’s mentor.

Pellisier Blood Clan is…

…ruled by Leo Pellisier as Master of the City (MOC) and Hunting Territories of New Orleans and the Southeastern United States excepting Florida. He also has the loyalty of Sedona, Seattle, and a few others. Grégoire looks like a fifteen-year-old pretty boy, but has been alive, well, you know what I mean, for centuries. He’s Leo’s lover, heir, and is the Blood Master of Clan Arceneau. Gee DiMercy is the New Orlean’s Mercy Blade, the misericord, an Anzu who grants mercy to those vampires lost in the devoveo.

Adelaide “Del” Mooney is a lawyer and Leo’s new, very unhappy primo; she’s also Dacey’s daughter (Dacey is Shaddock’s heir in Asheville). Amy Lynn Brown is Leo’s ace-in-the-hole, a vampire who can bring new vampires through the devoveo faster and saner. Lee “Scrappy” Williams Watts is Leo’s new personal assistant. Lawrence Hefner is an English human who is Leo’s valet.

Derek Lee is Leo’s new Enforcer (in-training); he’s brought along the Tequila and Vodka boys, all former military. Wrassler is back in action, albeit with a prosthetic leg. Brenda Rezk is one of the new people from Atlanta. Pauline Easter, also Atlanta, is here as the new cybersecurity expert. Ro Moore is an MMA cage fighter, and I think she’s human. Katie is the vampire madam at Katie’s Ladies and is Leo’s heir (Hunter claims both Grégoire and Kate are Leo’s heirs, and I’m not sure how she’s reconciling this). Deon is her three-star chef; he’s learning how to deal with the IT. The twins, Brandon and Brian Robere, are Onorios and blood-servants to Grégoire. Brandon has a law degree from Tulane Law.

Sabina Delgado y Aguilar and the insane Bethany Salazar y Medina are outclan vampire priestesses in New Orleans.

Clan Mearkanis had…
…dissolved in a failed coup when Ming Zoya, twin to Ming Zhane of Atlanta, died. They thought. (Zoya’s blood servants had been Benjamin and Riccard.) Zoya’s heir, Rafael Torrez, took over with his own very black plans.

Clan Glass in Knoxville is…
…led by Ming Zhane. (The twin Mings were once owned by vamps named Bondaille.) Cai is her primo and Enforcer.

Clan Laurent is…
…Edmund’s former clan; he was its Blood Master until he lost a duel to Bettina, former clan master of Rousseau (which chose the wrong side in the war). Shaun Mac Lochlainn is her anamchara.

The Witches of New Orleans
Lachish Dutillet is the coven leader and in charge of the conclave. Bliss/Ailis had been one of the girls at Katie’s Ladies; she’s accepted her gift of speed healing and is training as a witch. Butterfly Lily and her mother, Feather Storm, are weak witches. The Elms Mansion has been reserved for the witches’ conclave; the house seems to be owned by Amalie.

Jodi Richoux is in charge of the woo-woo division. Sloan Rosen is her second. Commander Walker is the police officer in charge who is truly ticked off at Officer Cormier. You’d think the cops would be much more aware of Jane’s identity…? Officer P. Nunez is at the Elms.

PsyLED is…
…the Psychometry Law Enforcement Division of Homeland Security. Rick LaFleur is one of its agents and a former boyfriend of Jane’s. He’s now with Paka, a black wereleopard. Brute is a were forced to remain in wolf form. Pea is the grindylow who minds Brute.

Marlene and Tau Nicaud are a mother and daughter pair of witches; Antoine Busho, a chef, had been a friend of Ricky Bo’s and was Marlene’s husband. Mildred and Eugene Nicaud were Antoine’s grandparents; his parents were Simon and Alva. Onus Brown and his girlfriend, Jesimine Pirrie, were young when they were taken.

Adrianna is a nasty vampire who keeps conspiring against Leo, whom Jane keeps killing, and Leo keeps bringing back. Joses, the Son of Darkness (Dark Heir, 9), was one of the original witches-turned-vampires in the time of Christ.

The Vampire Carta is the set of laws by which vampires are supposed to abide. Part of its contents include rules on duels: the Blood Challenge, the Sangre Duello, and the Blood Duel. Blood-servants, a.k.a., blood-meals, with primos at the top of the hierarchy, serve as bodyguards as well as food. Onorios outrank even primos, can’t be blood-bound or compelled, live for centuries on a few drops of vampire blood, and have a magic that Jane can’t figure out. A sensa onore is the black side of an Onorio, “without honor”. The devoveo is the time it takes for a new vampire to “cure”. Tulane University Hospital has paranormal medical experts on contract. Mithran is the word vampires use to refer to themselves. Do not say fanghead or vampire, at least not where they can hear.

Hayyel was the angel who “interfered” in Raven Cursed. Bubbling time is one of Jane’s new skills that occurs in the Gray Between, where Jane goes to shapeshift; it’ll kill her. Reach is a backstabbing, mercenary dataminer who hacks in everywhere, but he’s currently on the run after being tortured almost to death in Broken Soul, 8. Tsalgi means Cherokee. An Anzu is a bird-like being once worshipped as a storm god. Misha was an untrained witch from Blood Trade, 6.

The Cover and Title

The cover is bold oranges and yellows with a crouching, whirling Jane wearing her new red leathers (although the cover designer sexed it up — Jane would never wear sleeveless!), her braid flying, sword circling, as an orange magic trail (should’ve been green) swirls around her. I wanna say it’s her house behind her, but I can’t tell. I can tell ya that there are stylized orange bats along the left edge of the cover with the author’s name also in orange. The rest of the text is in white.

The title refers to the renegade witches and their Shadow Rites as they throw all of New Orleans into turmoil.

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