Book Review: Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter

Posted November 4, 2019 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Shattered Bonds 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.

Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock #13
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Ace Books on October 29th 2019
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, Shadow Rites, Bloodring, Seraphs, Dark Queen, 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

Thirteenth in the Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy series and revolving around the ever-evolving Jane, Cherokee skinwalker, Dark Queen, and vampire-killing bounty hunter now based outside Asheville, North Carolina.

My Take

Phew, I had worried that Hunter was ending the series after Dark Queen, 12, and I’m relieved, after reading Shattered Bonds, that the series will be continuing.

It’s pretty exciting with lots happening in view of Jane retreating from the world, as she hopes for a cure. But I gotta say I’m confused about who is meant to be emperor: Grégoire or Ed.

It’s fair that Jane is out of sight, out of the game. She’s dying. It could be fatal if any unfriendlies knew she was weak. And yet, I gotta go with Wrassler’s anger over Jane retreating as she did. She dumped everybody. Never set up any protocols or “chiefs”. She upended the vampire world and ran.

Now the underlying conflict in all this, at least in Janie’s opinion, is that everyone is ignoring her. Things are happening, decisions are being made, and she’s left out of the loop. It does give Jane time to learn more about her abilities, including the truth about her becoming the Dark Queen. And all this knowledge is proferred up by the first person protagonist point-of-view from Jane’s perspective.

It all contributes to Jane’s evolution in her character arc when she realizes how often she runs away. Beast’s wants are another conflict, and Jane is figuring out that Beast has some underlying motives, particularly with regard to mating and kits. Then there’s Jane’s Cherokee family. The ones she intends to ignore for as long as they ignored her, although Eli has his own perspective on how Jane should treat her family.

To keep the cancer from growing, Jane has to spend most of her time as Beast, and Hunter ensures we know which soul is in charge in Jane’s body, using an abbreviated speech/thought form for Beast’s dialogue.

Jane confronts Bruiser about his grief over Leo and gets an unexpected answer — all part of Bruiser’s character arc that evolves even more later on.

Oh, lord, Hunter is setting us up to wonder about Shaddock — his character arc?, and if he’s a greater threat than we knew. Jane also discovers he’s a lot more involved with the Everharts than she could ever have suspected. On a more positive note, one of the new characters, Savannah Walkingstick, has her own character arc in this story. That’ll keep things interesting on a spiritual level, oy.

I do like how Hunter keeps it human…it’s those ice balls that keep mucking up Jane’s toes. The kids’ reactions to Jane’s Halloween costume. Mucking about in the kitchen. That dog bed of Jane’s.

And we’re learning more about Judas Iscariot’s “resurrection”…and why it didn’t work along with some revelations about the arcenciels and the Sons of Darkness! Ick.

There are a few paragraphs that explain Leo’s strategy in not feeding Bruiser or the Roberes, and I’m confused about that fame vexatum diet plan where Hunter states “but who starved themselves in return for mental and mesmeric abilities.” Is that the vampires starving themselves or the Onorios?

There are other niggles that are confusing the heck out of me. And it may just be that it’s been too long since I read Dark Queen. How is it that Jane is queen of the arcenciels? Where does Jane get the idea that Brute and Hayyel have been manipulating her for months? Which name is Soul’s now? She Who Claims the Rift or She Who Seeks Peace? Is the latter the original name? Or is She Who Seeks Peace a different arcenciel? I’m confused about Jane’s concern about “giving” Soul those three deaths: Leo, Titus, and Joses Bar-Judas. How is this bad?

Who’d’ve thunk? It seems that Shimon has his insecurities.

And Hell hath frozen over. Big Evan apologized for his past behavior to Jane.

The funny thing is, with all this tension and drama, what with all these enemy vampires swarming everywhere and laying siege to Clan Yellowrock and the Everharts, the hideousness of Shimon, Edmund’s kidnapping and torture, it’s not really that tense. Oh, sure, I’m anxious to know where things are going, and if everyone will be safe, but I’m not feeling it.

The Story

It’s an existence for all of Jane’s people, as they hover, waiting to see if Jane dies and Europe erupts in war. Then the blizzard hits, and Clan Yellowrock is under siege by vampires, including the terrifying younger Son of Darkness.

Jane is seeing the future in the droplets, and there is war on too many fronts. Definitely war against all who go against the Dark Queen.

Unfortunately, time always wins when pitted against magic.

The Characters

Jane “Legs” Yellowrock has a patchwork history of her early life as a Cherokee skinwalker and rogue vampire hunter who has become the Dark Queen of all vampires. Beast is her other soul, a mountain lion, sharing her body. A Bubo bubo is a Eurasian eagle-owl. Urgggglllaaammmaaah is an arcenciel. Dudley is what Jane names her tumor. Edoda means father, Jane’s murdered father. The Glob drains magic, especially magic used against Jane. Le breloque is the Dark Queen’s crown with its own powers. Uni Lisi, Hayalasti Sixmankiller, is Jane’s grandmother, many times back.

Jane has had many names throughout her life: We-sa was her baby name; Gvhe; Dalonige’ i Digadoli (Yellowrock Golden Eyes); Jane Doe; and, Jane Yellowrock. Perhaps she will add Tlvdatsi.

Yellowrock Clan Home is…
…a newly purchased vineyard and inn in the Appalachian Mountains near Asheville, also known as the Official Winter Court of the Dark Queen of the Mithrans. The inn/house has its own system called Merlin. Bruiser is George Dumas, an Onorio who had been Leo Pellissier’s prime blood servant for over 100 years.

Eli, a former Ranger, and Alex “The Kid” Younger (who is brilliant with computers) are brothers who have become family with Jane. They’re also part of Yellowrock Securities. Bodat is a gamer friend of Alex’s.

Brute is a white werewolf forced to stay wolf by Hayyel. Pea is a grindylow, tasked with ensuring no wolf will bite a human. Girrard “Gee” DiMercy, an Anzu, is a Mercy Blade, one who gives mercy to young vampires who don’t make it through the change. He’s also Jane’s personal Enforcer. Longfellow is a new pet, a striped, scarlet-winged lizard.

Savannah Walkingstick of the Long Hair Clan is a Cherokee Elder and Jane’s new mentor here in North Carolina. She is prejudiced against skinwalkers and any tribe not her own. Chala is Savannah’s daughter who was raped.

The Everhart-Truebloods are…

…a witch family who are friends with Jane. Molly Everhart, Jane’s best friend, is a witch with death magic who is married to the not-so-friendly Big Evan Trueblood, an air witch who uses a flute and is still in hiding. They have three children now. Angie is a powerful young witch. Her little brother, Little Evan, a.k.a., Evan Junior or EJ, is another warlock whose power is emerging too early, and Cassie is the baby, yet a third witch whose magic is too early. Kit-Kit is Molly’s embarrassing not-familiar. George is Angie’s bassett hound. Elizabeth “Liz”, a stone witch, and Boadicea “Cia” Everhart, a moon witch, are Molly’s twin sisters. Regan and Amelia are Molly’s human sisters. All the sisters run the Seven Sassy Sisters, a family restaurant. Carmen Miranda Everhart Newton is another sister, and she has a little one. Evangelina Everhart is the sister who went bad. Bedelia Everhart is the girls’ mom. Shiloh Everhart Stone is Molly’s niece, a witch and a vampire, who’s gone missing. Cia is dating Ray Conyers, a country singer.

The Shookers are weak witches who are the Everhart-Truebloods’ neighbors. Stacey Shooker is a teenaged witchling.

Vampires can be…

…divided into two types: Naturaleza, who adhere to the old way of terrifying and then drinking down humans, and Mithran, who have embraced a new way of holding back and sipping from humans.

The Master of the City of Asheville is…
Lincoln Shaddock, an ally of Jane’s. His day job is as chief chef in his own BBQ joint. Amy Lynn Brown is a vampire treasure, 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. Kojo and Thema, ton-tigi, are itinerant vampires who lost their clan and hunting grounds around 1350 in Mali. They have sworn to kill all Makers, an ancient name for the Sons of Darkness. Holly and Gerald are more of Shaddock’s vampires. Barbara? Bridget? is one of Shaddock’s servants. The five-foot Bunny is his human Enforcer.

Sheriff Grizzard is based here.

The City of New Orleans is…
…home base for the Mithran Council Chambers where Wrassler is holding the fort. Edmund Hartley is the vampire MOC of New Orleans and Jane’s primo. She had intended for him to become emperor of Europe. He’s also sworn himself as Angie’s protector.

Derek Lee, an ex-marine and Enforcer for the vampires, is missing. Some of Leo’s master vampires (who are Jane’s people now) include “Tex” Cooper, who does security for the council, and Koun, who will become Acting Enforcer for Janie and chief strategist for Clan Yellowrock.

Ronald Roland, the heir of Clan Bouvier, is missing; Clan Bouvier will provide armed assistance to the police. Sabina is the outclan priestess of the US Mithrans. Bethany had been a not-quite-sane priestess. Katie might be Ed’s heir. The sheriff of Palquemines Parish hates Janie. Lachish Dutillet had been the head of the New Orleans coven; now she’s in prison.

Aggie One Feather is a Cherokee Elder and Jane’s mentor in New Orleans. Aurieux, Boutté and Cuvert De Boisblanc is a law firm.

New Orleans PD
Sloan Rosen and Jodi Richoux work the WooWoo room. Jodi is guarding Joseph Bar-Iouda’s heart. She and Wrassler will get married in the fall.

The Master of Sedona and New York is…
Rosanne Romanello, an ally of Jane’s. Nicolle of Arceneau was mind-bound and banished to Sedona by Bruiser.

The European Vampires

Grégoire “Blondie” of Clan Arceneau, a lover and a fighter, had been Leo’s heir. Now he’s dueling all over Europe as the proxy of the emperor and the Dark Queen. It seems that he’s now the MOC of Berlin, Paris, and other territories. He and Edmund are supposed to be in France. Brandon (a lawyer) and Brian Robere are twin brothers and Onorios in Europe with Ed and Grégoire.

Clan Fonteneau is one of Gregoire’s longtime allies. Clan Roquefort, who has a history of betrayal against Leo; Clan Andre; and, Clan Leclerc are the enemy. Klaus is a sixty-two-year-old East German vamp Jane captures.

Melker, a.k.a., “Lego” or “Legolas”, had been turned in 1602 and was the MOC of Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, and Helsinki…and he decided to try for a takeover in Europe.

There is a younger Son of Darkness, Shimon Bar-Ioudas, a.k.a., Flayer of Mithrans, Son of Shadows, Son of Night, Soul of Darkness, Son of Deception, plus, plus. Monique Giovanni is an Onorio. A former nun, Aurelia Flamma Scintilla is an outclan priestess with a gift for pyrotechnics and a senza onore, a dark form of Onorio.

The other Son of Darkness is/was Joses Santana, Joseph Santana, Joses son of Judas, and Yosace Bar-Ioudas, and was Shimon’s older brother. Black witches, they tried to bring their father, Judas Iscariot, back from the dead.

Psychometric Law Enforcement Division of Homeland Security (Psy-LED)…

…polices paranormals. Soul is assistant director and an arcenciel, a rainbow dragon who will become revered by many arcenciel and renamed She Who Claims the Rift. (She’s also called She Who Seeks Peace??) Agent Rick LaFleur is another of Jane’s former boyfriends, an ex-cop-turned-shifter. Special Agent-in-Charge Ayatas FireWind is another skinwalker, Jane’s younger brother.

Sarge Walker is Rick’s cousin, a pilot who lived outside Chauvin, Louisiana. Paka had been a shifter who had spelled and stolen Rick.

The Arcenciels are…

…rainbow dragons, once worshipped as gods by primitive humans whom they taught much, and who are determined to go back in time to destroy the Sons of Darkness. Their bite can drive a vampire crazy. The Conseil d’Arcenciels are the ones who punish Soul. Storm is appointed emissary to the Dark Queen’s court.

Hayyel was the angel who “interfered” in Raven Cursed, 4, giving Jane the ability to timewalk; Jane refers to it as bubbling time. It occurs in the Gray Between, where Jane goes to shapeshift; it’s killing her. Jane is wondering if the Grayness Between Worlds is also the Waters of Life.

Anzu are minor Sumerian storm gods who look like dragons. Anzu do have a lethal allergy to iron. Nomad had been Jane’s first boyfriend who had taught her how to hunt vampires. The Sangre Duello was a blood duel to the death in Dark Queen, 12. Skinwalkers had once led the tribes into battle. Now they’re monsters.

The Cover and Title

The cover is the chill of blues and whites with a crouching Jane, her long braid swinging behind her, leaning over a rock-lined pond in which Beast is reflected. All around Jane are snow-covered rocks forming the background for the author’s name in a grayed blue at the top, an info blurb beneath it. The title is a font shattered in a darker blue with flecks of white just above Jane’s head. Off to the left side is the series info, and at the bottom left is a testimonial in white. The left edge of the cover is a grayed blue and white border of stylized bats and scrolls.

The title refers to those Shattered Bonds between Edmund and Jane…and Edmund and Angie Baby.

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