Published 2010 321 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
As a vampire hunter and skinwalkers, Jane Yellowrock is public enemy number one in the vampire community – even though she’s also the key to their survival. Now she’s about to learn that working for the enemy can be just as dangerous as hunting them.
The Vampire Council of New Orleans has hired Jane to hunt and kill one of their own who has broken sacred ancient rules. But she quickly realizes that in a community that is thousands of years old, loyalties run deep.
With the help of her witch best friend and local vigilantes, Jane finds herself caught between bitter rivalries – and closer than ever to the secret origin of the entire vampire race. But in a city of old grudges and dark magic, Jane will have to fight to protect both sides, even if no one will protect her.
Blood Cross is the second novel in Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy series. Since Blood Cross continues the adventures of vampire-hunting Jane from shortly after where the events of Skinwalker left off it’s really best to read these books in series order.
Skinwalker launched readers into Jane’s dangerous world, seeing her take on the job of hunting rogue vampires for the Vampire Council of New Orleans. However Jane was soon tracking a killer vampire who wasn’t really a vampire and whilst saving the day things took a turn for the worse when she killed the vampire son of Leo, the master of New Orleans. The story was so engrossing it was easy to forget that Jane’s actual mission was to find the vampire who was causing havoc by biting humans before unleashing the resulting young rogue vampires on the population of New Orleans.
Blood Cross sees Jane return to her original job only this time she has lost the goodwill of master vampire Leo, who vows to see her dead for the death of his son. Jane soon sniffs out that there is something very odd about the young rogue vampires, namely the use of magic in their raising. Vampires and witches don’t mix, so why would witches be working magic for vampires? With blood magic, witches, kidnapped children and vampire politics adding to the complexity of the storyline there is certainly no shortage of plot twists to keep readers entertained.
Skinwalker set Jane’s character up as a tough, independent alpha female who could hold her own in a fight. That’s nothing new for an urban fantasy female protagonist. The original use of Native American skinwalker mythology saved her from becoming just another urban fantasy cliché. Her supernatural shapeshifting abilities gave her an obvious advantage in both tracking and fighting vampire nasties but were well balanced by the mystery of Jane’s past and her humanising insecurities about her gift. The passages where Beast (the living soul of a mountain lion accidentally trapped inside Jane) takes control of the narrative were highly original and made Jane stand-out from an overcrowded field of urban fantasy heroines.
In Blood Cross the passages where Beast takes over are few and far between. They are also noticeably briefer than before. To my way of thinking this actually detracts from the originally of the story. Other aspects of Jane’s character seem to have undergone major changes too. She cries – a lot – and seems almost apologetically lacking in confidence in places. Her love life, which seemed overflowing with possibilities at the end of Skinwalker, abruptly narrows down to see her choose the person that she spends least time with in this book. That’s also the person that she had the least amount of sexual tension with during the course of Blood Cross – which makes their getting together confusing from this reader’s perspective, unless the author was especially trying for a surprise ending…
Now before you get the idea that Blood Cross is a bad book I have to set you straight because that couldn’t be further from the truth. While Blood Cross doesn’t quite live up to the promise of Skinwalker it IS a good urban fantasy story. Ground work for future Jane Yellowrock stories is laid with hints about the origins of vampires and their most sacred relic - the Blood Cross. It will be interesting where the author goes next with these ideas in Mercy Blade, the planned third book in this series.
Blood Cross has vampires galore, plus fast paced action, surprising plot twists, plenty of magic and no shortage of blood – what more could an urban fantasy ask for?
Jane Yellowrock books are recommended reading for fans of Patricia Briggs and Laurell K. Hamilton’s early Anita Blake books.
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