Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book Review: Broken Soul by Faith Hunter

Broken Soul
Faith Hunter
Urban Fantasy
Pub Date
October 7th 2014
ARC courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Jane Yellowrock is the incarnation of courage: she feels plenty of fear, but does not let it stop her from doing what she believes is necessary and right.

Publisher’s Description:

Jane Yellowrock is a vampire killer for hire—but other creatures of the night still need to watch their backs....

When the Master of the city of New Orleans asks Jane to improve security for a future visit from a delegation of European vampires, she names an exorbitant price—and Leo is willing to pay. That’s because the European vamps want Leo’s territory, and he knows that he needs Jane to prevent a total bloodbath. Leo, however, doesn’t mention how this new job will change Jane’s life or the danger it will bring her and her team.

Jane has more to worry about than some greedy vampires. There’s a vicious creature stalking the streets of New Orleans, and its agenda seems to be ripping Leo and her to pieces. Now Jane just has to figure out how to kill something she can’t even see….

What I liked

The characters. Jane Yellowrock is one of my favorite heroines out there. She is tough *and* vulnerable. She is, for me, the incarnation of courage: she feels plenty of fear, but does not let it stop her from doing what she believes is necessary and right. She’s uncomfortable in relationships of any kind, friendship to romance, because she has been hurt and abandoned by family and friends and lovers in the past, and yet she continues to find and forge those relationships, often in unexpected ways. And it’s not just Jane. Hunter brings a rich cast of characters to life in these stories. Good guys, bad guys, monsters. Sometimes all three at once.

The action. In addition to simply terrific storytelling, Hunter describes the action so vividly that you can easily picture it. She pays the same attention to describing all the senses, as Jane and Beast use sight, sound, taste, and touch to determine the mysteries surrounding them. Some readers may complain of Hunter’s detailed descriptions of clothing, hair, and weapons, but I find them all integral to Jane’s worldview.

I did mention terrific storytelling. Hunter gives us a multi-layered world, bringing together elements of European, Christian, native American, and meso-American mythology, as well as military tactics, strategy, fighting, and technology, sword fighting and physics. There’s also time for a few memorable meals, some scorching sex, and always a carefully brewed cuppa tea.

This is the 8th Jane Yellowrock novel, which means we have a pretty rich backstory already well developed. Hunter can give brief mention of characters who don’t even have page-time in this book, like Jane’s best friend, the witch Molly, and her family, or Jane’s former boyfriend Ricky and their complicated, broken relationship, and fans of the series will fill in with memories from the previous novels.

What I didn’t like

To be honest, I felt like I was stumbling a little in the first couple of scenes. It’s absolutely in Jane’s voice and character, dropping us right into the action with her, in the pell-mell pace that is Jane’s everyday life. I wondered if a reader who wasn’t familiar with the previous novels would be lost. Was I reading with a too-critical eye before I relaxed and let the story take over? Perhaps so, but soon enough, I was swept up and into the story and left those concerns behind.

Caveats (potential triggers)

Frankly, if you don’t enjoy reading sex and violence, then dark urban fantasy isn’t probably a good genre for you. There is reference to a previous…let’s call it an intimate assault (not a rape, and not a fight scene), during a sex scene. There’s a fair amount of blood and gore and graphic descriptions of fighting, and some more explicit sex than has been in most of the previous Jane Yellowrock stories.


Hunter has created a rich and complex story with genuine characters, and I plan to continue reading as long as she keeps writing. Jane Yellowrock is a modern heroine with unexpected depths, and she will do whatever it takes, including great sacrifice to protect the people she loves and to do what she believes is right.

I give Broken Soul 4.5 out of five “sparks”.


And so, with a loving heart, I offer you
I’ve heard many translations. Here’s one I love:
The light of the universe that shines within me recognizes
the light of the universe that shines within you.

Dogs in House
Houdini, Brindle

Music Playing
O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack

Time writing
~45 minutes

October word count

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