Review of Black Arts and Broken Soul by Faith Hunter which are part of the Jane Yellowrock series. A very strong urban fantasy series about Jane Yellowrock a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who works for the vampires of New Orleans taking down rough vampires, who are trying to police them self. The series is action packed and filled with hot men and found family.
The Jane Yellowrock series review
The vampires have been know to society for some time now and the series also deals with the ramifications of for the rest of society of near immortal blood drinkers. The politics of the situation is always there as back burner plot that is simmering throughout the series.
This series is without a doubt on my top 5 urban fantasy series list. It has just the right mix of relationships, plot, suspense, pacing and action to keep me interested from start to finish. Even of on a second read it is still one of the strongest urban fantasy series out there. Especially of the action packed verity.
The Jane Yellowrock series has the best action sequences. Hunter acts out the action sequences with a friend and it shows – they all flow so well and they seem very realistic. The action tend to be very dynamic to the point of chaotic.
My review of Black Arts by Faith Hunter
Good solid angry trousers urban fantasy, with a female protagonist that can kick your female protagonist’s ass. Jane Yellowrock is strong and capable, but also have her issue and a very dark past. Jane is far from broken but struggles with figuring out how she fits into the world. She is also a native american and that is a big part of her story. The books are entertaining, fast paced and action oriented. Oh yeah and the men are hot!
The books are very much set in New Orleans around a vampire court (Vampire the Masquerade style) and the city is a very important part of the series.
Unlike many other urban fantasy protagonists, Jane is surrounded by female friends and grows a support system throughout the series.
My review of Black Arts by Faith Hunter
Black Arts is another excellent installment of the Jane Yellowrock series. The plot moved along at a high clip and there were still time for great and very real relationships with all the people surrounding Jane.
This part of the series have strong themes of found family and Jane’s relationships to other people are always a core feature of the Jane Yellowrock series.
My review from 2014 of Black Arts by Faith Hunter
I have been looking forward to reading the next installment of the Jane Yellowrock series since I finished the last one and it did not disappoint – once again the plot moved along at a high clip and there were still time for great and very real relationships with all the people surrounding Jane.
The setting and vampire society
I have played a lot of Vampire the Masquerade (oWoD) in high school and the vampire society in Jane Yellowrock reminds me of the vampire society in Vampire the Masquerade, but to me Faith Hunter’s version just works a lot better and is generally more interesting. Her vampires have local clanes based on the local bloodlines but they still owe loyalty to the master of the city. It is a very feudal system where the masters of the clans and of the city provides for his/her people and his vampires owes him loyalty and is under his command.
Unlike in Vampire the Masquerade the vampires in Jane Yellowrock has a belief system with priestess – we as readers don’t quite know what the beliefs are because the story isn’t told from the vampire’s point of view. The vampires are very organised, they have laws, a governing body (a council of some sort) and they are very much a society.
I also really enjoy that the vampires are really alien and dangerous. They are monsters and predators, but they are monsters who were human. Some of them are very sympathetic, a lot of them are really sexy and they are all quite scary. It is the kind of vampires I really like.
The were-animals however are very tribal, which I find very appropriate for were-animals. They live in much smaller groups with a single leader, warriors, a shaman etc. And the witches have their own society as well.
Jane Yellowrock navigates all of those as well as the human society that they all live as part of. She works for the vampires, deals with the human polices, are friends with were-animals and witches alike. And that all really works. Some of the groups we as readers don’t know much about yet and others like the vampires are a huge part of the book series. The impressive part is how well that works in this book series. I find all of the societies that are presented believable. People with that kind of powers could choose to organize like that. It is also impressive that I never find it confusing to follow Jane from group to group.
The relationships: Found family
I adore the relationships in this series. Some of these relationships are professional, some romantic, some are friendships, some antagonistic while other are way more complicated than that. Jane gets to act as “aunt” for Molly’s children in this book and her relationship and interactions with those children are just heartwarming. It is not a kind of relationship we see a lot in urban fantasy so it is really lovely that it got some space in this book. I also really enjoy Jane’s romantic interactions with some of the males (and yeah for that not being every male she runs into). The romance plot never get to take over the story but it still gets enough page-space to develop and for me to care about it. I would however like to see her in a longer-term relationship soon.
Another aspect of the relationship that I enjoy is the professional relationships she gets to have with the other security personnel. The snarky, but respectful banter is really enjoyable. I love that her colleges does respect her and do not treat her as anything less that an equal for her being a woman. She is a very capable security expect and get treated as such, for all that they do tease her.
Jane got to grow a lot as a character in this story as in the other stories a lot of that growth was helped by soul journeys brought on by a native american woman who is kind of her priestess. I really love their relationship as well, how the woman shift back and forth between being her priestess/shaman and just a middle aged woman when she isn’t performing her function as a shaman for Jane.
I did find myself pulled out of the plot every now and then by trying to figure out how all the puzzle pieces fit together. There was a lot of plot-threads going on at the same time and as a reader you know that they have to come together somehow so I find myself trying to piece that together. I think I would like to see a few unrelated events going on at the same time next time just to throw me off a little bit.
I didn’t have as emotional a response to this book as I had to some of the other in the series, probably because I have been much more tired while reading it than I have been while listening to the other in the series. I just didn’t have the energy to be emotionally invested in it.
As I started by saying I did really enjoy the story. It really entertained me and I think that Jane is one of the best urban fantasy heroines from the “angry trousers” school.
The stats: Black Arts
Published: January 7th 2014 by Roc
Length: 325 pages
Read: January 14 to 17, 2014
The authors: female, white, USA
The protagonist: Jane Yellowrock, strait, poc: Cherokee, shapeshifter, vampire hunter/security expect, able-bodied.
Setting: New Orleans, present day
My review of Broken Soul by Faith Hunter
Broken Soul is book 8 of the Jane Yellowrock Series.
The series is getting more and more morally grey and Jane is dealing with a lot of fall out from the first seven books.
Janes strong relationships are taken to new places and is explored in new and interesting ways.
My review from 2014 of Broken Soul by Faith Hunter
“Visiting the Master of the City of New Orleans was always challenging, but it was worse when he was in a mood.”
In many ways Broken Soul felt like a culmination of a lot of the plots that has been building over the last seven books. For one thing one of Jane’s relationships was taken to a new level and I have to say that I was right pleased with that! It is a relationship I have been rooting for from the very first time they meet.
I still really enjoy Jane and her work partners’ professional, friendly and rather real feeling relationship. I love the banter between them but also how they give each other room when one of them needs it.
Jane and the MoC’s relationship also keeps everyone involved on their toes – one never quite knows where one stand with him. Just what is his intentions with Jane. Just how much trouble is the city in?
I must say that I miss Molly and her kin. As you have now figured out what I like best in this series are the relationships, not only the romantic ones but more importantly the friendships, the antagonistic ones and the professional ones.
I also enjoy Jane’s moral dilemmas dealing with the vampire security, the police and the mortal world around them. Just how much truth should she give the police, how much can they handle, how much is in their best interest, in hers? It is a book with quite a lot of grey in between the quite clearly defined black and white. There are true monsters in here, there are also angles and a lot of creatures that just are in between the two.
Published: October 7th 2014 by Roc
Length: 329 pages
Read: October 12 to 14, 2014 & 22.-27. september 2016
My review of Blood in Her Veins by Faith Hunter
Blood in Her Veins is a collection of Jane Yellowrock short stories. I listened to the stories as individual short stories, but they have since been collected into one book. I can really recommend the audio version that is narrated by Khristine Hvam who always does a wonderful job.
My review from 2014 of Broken Soul by Faith Hunter
Today I had to do some sewing on the skirt I will be wearing to Dragenfest this summer. It needed hemming which I wanted to do by hand. There is about 3 meter of fabric in the skirt so it has taken some time and I got the bright idea to listen to an audiobook while doing the hemming. I browsed around on Audible.
I was lucky enough to come across a bunch of really cheap (0,79$ no matter the length) short story audio books about Jane Yellowrock, how happens to be one of my favourite urban fantasy protagonists. So of course I grabbed the whole stack.
They are all narrated by Khristine Hvam who always does a wonderful job. She narrates the stories with a slight southern accent. She never overdoes it but to me it is very appropriate for the characters and the setting which tend to be the south and the south-western american states.
Part of what makes these short stories interesting is the fact that they are all told from different points of view. Some are told in Jane’s voice, which others aren’t. The stories add a LOT of depth to the characterisation of the characters and relationships in the books. The stories take place before and in between the books in those open gaps that Hunter tend to leave in her stories.
WeSa and the Lumber King
This first story is just 10 minutes long, so I am very happy that it was so cheap or I would have felt cheated. However the short length really works because it is told in Beast’s voice. Beast does not talk in fully formed sentences, which is extremely effective, but gets tiring after a while. This story is set very early before the books. In the period where beast is in control. We get to see how that period from Beast’s point of view. Hunter manages to make Beast’s voice totally nonhuman while still being relatable. I don’t think I have heard flash fiction before, but this must be short enough to be that. It is a good story, but not one I felt I had missed before listing to it.
The Early Years
POV: Jane Yellowrock
This story is the earliest story we have seen so far from Jane’s point of view. She is leaving the children’s home to go on her “spirit quest” to find the out if her one memory from the time “before” is real. She says goodbye to the only home she remembers to go into the world as an adult. I got the sense that Jane already had a great confidence in herself – even at this early stage but she is definitely more vulnerable then later on. Unlike the first story this was one that I felt filled a hole in the storyline. I would love to read a story of her first day as a trainee at the security firm.
This is the story of one of the first times Molly and Jane worked together on a professional job. It is a story as much about their growing relationship as it is about the plot in the story (which was interesting to be sure). I really liked the interplay between Molly, Jane and Even. I was once again struck by just how well written these stories are. The descriptions are almost poetic without ever bugging the stories down or turning into purple prose. I found the story very enjoyable and it makes me want more, much more (ordering 5 more stories as I write these reviews).
This is the story of Jane saving Angie-baby from her own powers and the start of Molly and Jane’s strong friendship. This is a story that has been alluded to throughout the series so it was great to finally see it in action. It is also a story from very early in Jane’s career which I appreciate. I love how all of these stories are all about the relationships rather than about plot or action – though they often have that as well.
This is another piece of flash fiction (10 min). It is the story of Bruiser’s first run in with Jane, told from his point of view. It doesn’t have the depth that I sometime see in flash fiction, however it does lay the groundwork for so much of Bruiser’s and Jane’s relationship from then on.
POV: Rick LaFleur
This is the story of how Rick got his huge cat tattoos and how he got bound to the big cats. It is another story that has been alluded to over the series, so again nice to get to read it. Rick’s voice is different from Jane’s – less angry and with less humor – but just as driven, and it is an enjoyable read.
Signatures of the Dead
Molly and Jane go vampire hunting for the first time together. It’s a mess. Again this story is all about relationship building. This is another story that has been hinted at so many times that it was great to finally get the whole story.
Bruiser has a problem and calls in Jane. It is a very sensual story and it is a story of longing. It is clearly a critical point in the relationship between Bruiser and his master as well as Bruiser’s relationship with Jane.
Cajun With Fangs
You take vampires, witches and star crossed lovers and mix them into a pot and this story is what you get. Quite entertaining, but not the most memorable of stories.
Beneath a Bloody Moon
Length: Novelletta (3 hours)
Jane and the Young brothers have taken a job in a small town down in south Louisiana. The town has bad weres hanging around, terrorising the area. The brothers, Rick and Jane together with Rick’s possy beat the shit out of the weres. I was well entertained while doing chores today, but the story wasn’t super memorable. But as always the relationship part of the story was at least as enjoyable as the action.
The stats: Blood in Her Veins
Published: 2013 by Audible Frontiers and collected February 2, 2016
This review was originally posted: June 19, 2014, January 18, 2014 & November 6, 2014. Updated and edited June 26, 2023