Editor’s note: As noted on our Facebook page, we are now doing reviews alongside each author (or, in this case, character) interview. Hopefully this puts the interview in more context and will let you the readers find something new to love.
This review will contain minor spoilers from Dark Queen, the twelfth book of Faith Hunter’s amazing Jane Yellowrock series. I will discuss things as vaguely as I can about the newest book, Shattered Bonds, but I will reference one major event from the opening scene. If you want to start the book totally fresh, feel free to scroll straight to the Bruiser interview and rest assured the book is awesome. 🙂
Faith Hunter is the New York Times and USAToday bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock series, the Soulwood series, and the Rogue Mage series, as well as the author of 16 thrillers under pen the names Gary Hunter and Gwen Hunter. She has 40+ books in print.
Faith collects orchids and animal skulls, loves thunder storms, and writes. She likes to cook soup, bake homemade bread, garden, and run Class III whitewater rivers. She edits the occasional anthology and drinks a lot of tea. Some days she’s a lady. Some days she ain’t.
Jane Yellowrock must dig deep and find strength within herself if she is to survive in the latest novel in this New York Times bestselling series.
Jane Yellowrock is 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 a terrifying foe 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.
Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age category: Adult
Release Date: October 29th, 2019
Jane Yellowrock is not a series that remains stale. The characters mature and grow. The world shifts and changes. If Skinwalker (Book #1) is the “Sorcerer’s Stone” of the series, Shattered Bonds (#13) is its Deathly Hollows.
The series focuses on the titular Jane Yellowrock, a shape-shifting skinwalker and vampire hunter for hire. The initial book shows Jane at her first job working for what she calls the “sane vamps,” trying to take out a rogue. And while several books have Jane promising herself she’s going to quit working for the vamps, she inevitably finds herself back in their employ—or at least on their side. At the time I came to the series, Cold Reign (#11) was the latest book, and Dark Queen (#12) came out while I was plowing through books one through eleven as fast as I could get my hands on them. Dark Queen centers on a massive series of duels between the vampire clans headed by Leo Pellissier of the Southern United States and the clans of European vampires, headed by Titus Flavius Vespasianus. It wasn’t that Dark Queen felt incomplete. Not by a long shot. It was a powerful and ultimately satisfying ending. But once I began reading Shattered Bonds, I realized how much was left unsettled at the end of Dark Queen.
Aside from Jane’s ultimate fate, there’s the not-so-tiny matter of the European vampires who are decidedly not content to shrug their shoulders and say, “Oh, yeah, the non-vampire we never heard of before now who turned everything upside down. She’s cool, and we have no issue with her whatsoever.” In the first several books of the series, Jane was fond of throwing around phrases like, “Not my business” and “not my circus.” Leo made all the big leadership decisions, and her job was mostly to keep him from getting stabbed in the back. Or the front. Lots of characters have wanted to stab Leo over this series. Now the dynamic between all the characters has massively shifted, and Jane finds herself in a leadership position regardless of whether she wants it or not. She tries to hand it off more than once, but everything ultimately comes back to her. Jane’s got to reconcile what her responsibility is to the people and paranormal creatures she’s come to consider her friends and family, even while she’s sick and dying of magically-induced cancer. There is no quick and easy fix for Jane’s illness, for various reasons that are gradually explored, and I could feel the frustration of her predicament along with her.
The tone of this book is decidedly darker than earlier ones in the series (see previous Harry Potter reference), but there’s also a lot more (pardon the pun) at stake. Within the first scene, Jane is hit with a mental image of her primo Edmund being tortured, and she soon learns that pretty much anyone who has ever been her ally is now a potential target. At any given moment when Jane seems to be pulling herself up, she and her friends get hit hard. Again. It’s action-filled, heart-wrenching, and the ending is among the best in the series so far—perhaps second only to the ending of Death’s Rival (#5), which simply ends on Jane saying, “Well, crap.”
For fans of the romance between Jane and George Dumas (aka “Bruiser”), there are some truly beautiful and heartfelt scenes in this book. Bruiser is also given a scene of introspection as he contemplates what exactly to do with his life after over a century of working for Leo, and what effect those years of servitude have had on him. If this series is new to you, I can’t recommend picking it up enough. If you’ve read it up to this point, Shattered Bonds is a must-read.
Speaking of Bruiser, we’ve got something a little different in terms of our interview this month. Rather than a straight-up author interview, Faith Hunter was kind enough to provide us with an exclusive character interview. Read on and don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Shattered Bonds below:
Katrina S. Forest: Welcome! To start off, what’s one event you were grateful to witness that you wouldn’t have seen as a normal human?
Bruiser: I was born in 1900. Most of the great inventions that changed our world were made between 1880 and 1920. Had l lived to 1980, I would still have been able to see the first transatlantic crossing, most of the engineering and developments of vehicles and commercial flights. Even the landing on the moon. But had I lived a normal lifespan I would never have met Jane Yellowrock. I would never have loved her. Jane is the sole reason for my life today, to keep her safe, to help her with the repercussions of Leo Pellissier’s decisions. She is my Dark Queen and I serve and love at her pleasure.
Katrina S. Forest: We know Jane loves using nicknames. What nickname would you give her and why?
Bruiser: My love. (smiles sadly) Leo ruined any possessive term when he tried to claim her. And now that she is powerful, other people are always trying to claim her. But (scratches new beard) Perhaps Love of my Life. That tells her what I feel about her without claiming her. Love of my Life. Yes, that is a good expression. Without her I have no reason to live at all.
Katrina S. Forest: Last question. What was the worst blunder you made in Leo’s employ that he never found out about?
Bruiser: Oh. Leo bled and read me for a century. There is nothing I did or felt that he did not know. Being a blood-servant to a master vampire, and especially a primo, means there are no secrets. It was a trade I willingly made to save my sister from the fate others had planned for her, and because of him she lived a long and wonderful life. (laughs) And I have dozens of great-nephews and great-nieces, and I check in with them from time to time, which is easy because they love social media. Now that was an invention that changed the world! And because of Leo, I met Jane. It was worth it.
Katrina S. Forest: Thank you very much for the interview, Mr. Dumas. And thank you, of course, to Ms. Hunter for the opportunity to enjoy this amazing book. (I have already pre-ordered my print copy from my favorite indie bookstore.)
Readers–there’s a giveaway going on, for anyone who’s interested. Prizes include a necklace made by Faith Hunter, Amazon gift cards, and copies of SHATTERED BONDS! (Open to US residents only.)