Book Review: Shattered Bonds, Jane Yellowrock- Book #13

Author: Faith Hunter
Book Name: Shattered Bonds
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Series: Jane Yellowrock
Order: #13
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal/Urban
Overall SPA: 4.5 Stars
4.5 Stars

 

 

Blurb: Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker, and vampire killer-for-hire, but her last battle with an ancient arcane enemy has brought her low. She seeks retreat in the Appalachian Mountains to grieve the loss of her friends, and to heal–or to die–from the disease brought on by her magic.

But malevolent elements in the paranormal community still seek to destroy Jane, and the younger Son of Darkness stalks her, even into the safety of the hills. With nowhere to run and her body failing, the rogue-vampire hunter and her inner Beast must discover a way to defeat this new threat, and find a form that gives her a chance to fight another day.

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 5/5 Stars
Series Continuity/Expectations: 4/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 5/5 Stars

So much happened and changed by the end of Dark Queen, I really wasn’t certain what to expect with this book, especially with the not quite a cliffhanger you got at the end of that one. I did expect that issue to be addressed or at least mentioned pretty quickly in this one, but it takes a bit for it to come up, which left me wondering if that event was somehow getting changed.

This felt different than most any of the other JY books. You still get some great shift scenes. You get a good amount of Beast time. You still get a few battle scenes. You still get a few scenes of Jane connecting with her people. But… those all seem to have the edges dulled a bit because, to a large extent, she has to take more of a backseat in this one. She doesn’t get to be the full on badass all the time which shifts the overall tone and feel of this book.

This does tie off a couple of the loose threads introduced in the last book, but you are again left wondering where the series is going to go next. One big thread is glanced across and cannot possibly be all we see for the end of that thread. A whole lot happens along the side of what happens in this book. Things that are introduced through brief conversations, but are left wide open by the last page. You are definitely left with the feeling that there is a lot more yet to come.

As always, the biggest downside is that there is a last page and too big of a time gap in which I have to wait for the next book.

 

Oracle: The House War, Book 6

Oracle

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Michelle West (Sagara)
Book Name: Oracle
Series: The House War
Order: #6 (Triple Series Order #14)
Rating: Excellent/Favorite
Genre: Fantasy

Blurb:  Beneath the streets of Aver­alaan lie the three Princes of the firstborn, doomed to sleep until the end of days. When gods walked the world, they feared the Sleepers. They fear them even now. If the Sleepers wake, the city will not survive — and the Sleepers are waking.

House Terafin has already felt the conse­quences of their stirring.

To save the city — and the House over which she rules — Jewel Markess ATerafin must go to face the Oracle. She leaves a House that is still divided, and a city in which demons, in human guise, have begun to move. At no time in Terafin’s history has it faced the dangers it now faces, and it will face them bereft of its leader.

Jewel has always seen unpre­dictable glimpses of the future — images of death and destruction which she cannot control and cannot always under­stand. To master her birthright, she chooses to walk the path of the Oracle. In her hands, she carries the only hope of the Winter Queen.

But the path she must travel was old when the gods ceased to walk the world. Ancient crea­tures stalk winter skies at the behest of the demons who mean to ensure that she will never reach the Oracle’s side.

Secrets, long hidden from all but the firstborn, will finally be brought to light. Choices will be made, and paths chosen, from which there will be no return.

Review: For probably the first time in this series, we get a much closer look at one of the other members of Jay’s den, Jester.  While he hasn’t taken on a level of importance as some of the others, like Finch or Teller, we see that he does have a roll to play that hints at becoming more important than just a background character.

We have seen it in other books, but in this book, the gathering of additional support for the entire group, not just Jay, becomes more prominent and solidified.  Both in firming up support from past characters as well as introducing some new ones.  The specific enemies are still left unclear as new potentials have appeared.

While we got to see quite a bit of growth for some of the den members, Finch in particular, and learned a bit more about Meralonne and Hectore of Araven’s servant Andrei, there wasn’t as much for some of the other characters that I was either expecting or hoping for in this book.  I really thought we’d see something more from Angel and learn a bit more about his specific role in relation to Jay.  We did get a some, but I kind of thought there would be more.  Avandar fell into the background a bit more in this one as well.  Since I’m fascinated with his character, I always want more from him.

As is often the case with any book from this author, I wasn’t ready to be finished by the time I got to the end, but for a few more than the usual reasons this time.  It didn’t have quite as clean of an ending as her books usually do, and that left me hanging in a way that I wasn’t thrilled with.  I don’t want to give it away, but I honestly expected something totally different, or maybe more dramatic.  None of that really takes away from how amazing the book overall is because I know that all of the loose ends that have been left are leading up to what should be the last book, so it works.

I will say that I couldn’t help but be brought to tears in this one.  It has been a while since a book tore at me that hard, but this one…  yeah, it got to me.  It has me wondering if I should by stock in tissues in time for the final book of the series is released.

The House War, The Sacred Hunt and The Sun Sword Series Notes

Author: Michelle West
Series: The House War, The Sacred Hunt, and The Sun Sword

I have FINALLY gotten around to finishing all the re-reading I wanted to get in before I started on the latest book in this series.  I thought that before I actually wrote up the review for it, I needed to post a little about the series itself, which is actually listed as three separate series, though I’m not sure why as they are all pretty intimately connected.

The order that these books need to be read in also does not follow from series to series.  They overlap.  If you are not familiar with them, I recommend reading them in the order listed below:
The Hidden City – The House War
City of Night – The House War
Hunter’s Oath – The Sacred Hunt
Hunter’s Death – The Sacred Hunt*
House Name – The House War*
The Broken Crown – The Sun Sword
The Uncrowned King – The Sun Sword
The Shining Court – The Sun Sword
Sea of Sorrows – The Sun Sword
The Riven Shield – The Sun Sword
The Sun Sword – The Sun Sword
Skirmish – The House War
Battle – The House War
Oracle – The House War

The first note to the series that must be made is that Hunter’s Death and House Name are pretty much the same book.  I will admit that these were not the books that I took the time to re-read on this go round as I’ve already read the first several books in the series several times and felt that with the short time I had, I was okay to skip those.  Because of that I cannot say definitively, at this time, that they are exactly the same books (hey, it has been a while).  They are substantially enough the same that you could easily get away with only reading one.  The events in the last couple of books in the Sun Sword series happen at the same time as Skirmish and Battle from the House War Series.

These books are not the kinds of books that you can pick up one of the later books and not be totally lost.  You absolutely have to read them in order to be able to follow the story.  The entire storyline is incredibly intense and packed full of various different characters and places and political and personal interactions.  While each individual series has central characters, which are numerous, many of those characters are critical across the entire story line of all three series.  You could probably read the Sacred Hunt Series or the Sun Sword series alone, but if you want to read the House War series, you need to read them all in order to not miss out on something.

If you stop and think of what kind of mind can create the level of writing that is in these books, you just might break your brain.  Incredibly detailed world, phenomenally developed characters, intricately wrought and complex situations, relationships and political intrigues.  It is just so much to take in and absorb.  I actually described it to my husband as though you were reading about all of the residents in a small town, with all the details and personalities of each of those people and their interactions and relationships, except in a completely fantastical world filled with humans, magic, immortals, gods, and demons.  While this is a pretty dumbed down description, it is still pretty accurate.

In a way it is funny, because I’m not sure I would like a series like this written by any other author.  I don’t typically like reading books that are quite that intricately detailed and full while having to keep so close track of what is going on in a story, nor am I a huge fan of books that are that wed to the entire series that I would feel at a complete loss if I started in the middle somewhere.  In the case of these books, though, it is done so expertly that I cannot help but love every bit of it.  It is absolutely one of those “suck me in and devour me” kinds of series.

 

Dark Heir: Jane Yellowrock, Book 9

Dark HeirAuthor: Faith Hunter
Book Name: Dark Heir
Series: Jane Yellowrock
Order: #9
Rating: Excellent/Favorite
Genre: Fantasy

Blurb:  For centuries, the extremely powerful and ruthless vampire witches of the European Council have wandered the Earth, controlling governments, fostering war, creating political conflict, and often leaving absolute destruction in their wake. One of the strongest of them is set to create some havoc in the city of New Orleans, and it’s definitely personal.

Jane is tasked with tracking him down. With the help of a tech wiz and an ex-Army ranger, her partners in Yellowrock Securities, she’ll have to put everything on the line, and hope it’s enough. Things are about to get real hard in the Big Easy.

Review:  Faith Hunter has pulled off another amazing addition to her Jane Yellowrock series.  Every single one of her characters continue to bring out solidly vibrant, realistic and believable personalities.

As a series, this has everything that I really love about a great series.  Individual, contained stories in each book with an overarching storyline that continues throughout the series.  Excellently developed characters that could be, in general, any normal, regular person no matter what other special talents they may have (they are essentially not perfect and have flaws that most people struggle with on one level or another throughout their lives).  A wonderfully crafted and believable world (which in this case is a bit surprising for me as I find any contemporary, like our normal everyday, world overlaid by a paranormal/fantasy aspect typically hard to swallow, but is not that case with these books) and an overall story that I can just get lost in.

While the books are individual stories with the main issues resolved by the end of each, the larger, continuing issues and story are more closely connected and continuous throughout the series than most that I typically enjoy, but it is so well done that I don’t feel left hanging at the end.

One of the things that I love the most about these books, and is consistent in this one as well, is the fact that all of the different situations and relationships are completely balanced throughout and not too heavily weighted on one or the other.  You get to touch on the all the different relationships in between all the problem solving and intense action.  It isn’t all romance or all action or all drama, but enough of each that you don’t feel as though you missed out on something.  You get it all.

I think for the first time in the series, Jane is left in a pretty strong and solid place personally, even with the potentially new/different access/connection to her beast and with the still as of yet unknown potential of problems coming from the European vamps.  She is more solid and assured in her relationships with Bruiser, Eli and Alex, and even her friendship with Molly seems to have had some of the rough edges smoothed over.  I’m definitely liking where she is right now.

We are reminded that while she is an amazingly strong personality, that personality continues to grow through her experiences and that she is not done with that growth, whether that growth is physical, romantic, friends and family, or personal.

As usual with any book in this series, I was so not ready to be done with it and hope like crazy there isn’t too long of a wait before the next one comes out.

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Vision in Silver: The Courtyard of the Others, Book 3

Vision in SilverAuthor: Anne Bishop
Book Name: Vision in Silver
Series: The Courtyard of the Others
Order: #3
Rating: Excellent/Favorite
Genre: Fantasy

Yet again, Anne Bishop has managed to bring us another stunningly rich book so full of character that you cannot help but be sucked in.  I cannot say enough good things about this new addition to the series.

Vision in Silver continues the story of the Others.  We get to see all our favorite characters along with meeting a few new ones, which is always fun because of how packed full of personality Ms. Bishop creates her characters.

For one of the main characters, Meg, we get to see her continue to learn how to interact and function in the world around her, emphasizing that even though she is extraordinary because she is a blood profit, she is also exceptionally ordinary and makes mistakes just like everyone else.  One of the things that I love about her is that while what she does and who she is has major impacts on the world around her, it is in a way that is indirect.  She isn’t out there fighting or killing the bad guys with her super awesome powers like you see in so many other books.  She does it by being an example to everyone around her of how to be a better person just by being who she is and what she does.  That aspect of her character really stands out in this book.

While we see a heightened degree of bitterness, ignorance and hatred from some humans towards the terre indigene and the humans that try to keep the balance and peace in this book, we also get to see the friendship between Meg and Simon continue to grow and evolve.  We are definitely left on something of a high note by the end of the story, but that high note is balanced on the edge of what is promising to be really ugly times ahead.

As is typical with an Anne Bishop book, I was so not ready for it to end by the time I’d finished reading.  I wasn’t ready to leave that carefully and beautifully crafted world.  I am beyond anxious to get to the next one, even though I don’t think there is even a title listed for it yet, so that I can sink back into it again.  This one most definitely is on my favorites shelf!

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Lady Luck: Colorado Mountain Series, Book 3

Lady LuckAuthor: Kristen Ashley
Book Name: Lady Luck
Series: Colorado Mountain Series
Order: #3
Rating: Excellent/Favorite
Genre: Romance

This wasn’t actually a new read for me.  I read it last year for the first time, but it is absolutely one of those that demands more than one read.

I first ran across Kristen Ashley last year when my library added parts of the Colorado Mountain series to their digital library.  While the series and author quickly became one of my favorites, this book in particular hit the top of the list.

While Lady Luck contains all the hallmarks that makes the series excellent… super hot badass dude, quirky, smartass sassy chick, steamy love and intense drama… for me this book really did hit all of that perfectly.  From the first book, I have fallen in love with the men Kristen Ashley creates and how they become so very real I cannot seem to get enough of them.  In this one, for some intangible reason, I was totally sucked in, more so than any of the others in this series.

Not sure exactly where on the scale this would land, but it is definitely up there in my all time favorites of all the books I’ve ever read.

Broken Soul: Jane Yellowrock, Book 8

Broken SoulAuthor: Faith Hunter
Book Name: Broken Soul
Series: Jane Yellowrock
Order: #8
Rating: Excellent/Favorite
Genre: Fantasy

This was another excellent addition to a favorite series of mine.  Since I’m kind of an instant gratification kinda gal, I don’t always like cliff hanger types of books.  While the Jane Yellowrock series doesn’t exactly do that, it does somewhat continue a larger story arch across the whole series while at least resolving the most current drama in each book.  Broken Soul continues this pattern.  It also added some interesting layers to the main characters while giving insight into a few that had been more peripheral in other books.

I love the main character in this series and am glad to see something going her way relationship wise in this book.  I do hope it continues into the next one.  I don’t like seeing characters constantly battling and never getting a break or finding any level of happiness or heck, even a few seconds to just breathe.  So far, Faith Hunter has played with that a bit in previous relationships in this series, but has still kept it on the positive side.  I’m absolutely looking forward to the next book!

Dark Heir, book 9, looks to be due out in April of this year.

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