Editor’s note: It’s time for another combo review and interview, this time with one of my favorite authors, Faith Hunter. (We have featured a fictional interview with one of her characters before, but this time we get to hear from the author herself about her newest book.)
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 goes back to the city where it all began in the newest installment of this thrilling New York Times bestselling series.
Jane used to hunt vampires, but now she’s their queen. She’s holed up in the mountains with the Yellowrock Clan, enjoying a little peace, when a surprise attack on her people proves that trouble is brewing. Someone is using very old magic to launch a bid for power, and it’s all tied to the place where Jane was first drawn into the world of Leo Pellissier—the city of New Orleans.
Jane is compelled to return to NOLA because someone is trying to destabilize the paranormal world order. And because she now sits near the top of the vampire world, the assault is her problem. She will do what she must to protect what’s hers. Her city. Her people. Her power. Her crown.
True Dead by Faith Hunter
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age category: Adult
Release Date: October 29th, 2019
This book was awesome.
There hasn’t really been a Jane Yellowrock book I haven’t enjoyed reading, but this one is definitely near the top of my list of favorites. (At the very top of the list, if anyone was wondering, is still Book #5, Death’s Rival, which sort of had me zombie-walking through the house and nearly into a wall as I got to chapter 11.)
I will keep this review as vague as possible, though there will be spoilers for earlier books present. I have reviewed the first and thirteenth book on this site as well, so feel free to read through those if you need a refresher. On that note, I will say that True Dead does an excellent job catching the audience back up with events that have happened before—something I’m always grateful for, as remembering large casts is a weak point of mine, even in a series I’ve really enjoyed.
The previous book, Shattered Bonds, focused a lot on Jane and her attempts to settle herself into her new job as leader of a whole lot of humans and paranormal creatures. It was a quieter and darker book in a lot of ways, with Jane’s physical weaknesses putting a lot of limitations on her. True Dead sees Jane back to her awesome, behind-kicking ways. She’s still very awkward in her fancy title (and does not like to be treated or spoken to formally), but she is unapologetically herself. Her initial work as a vampire hunter still serves her well, even when she’s in the position of being their Dark Queen. Of course having a lot of power means someone isn’t going to like it. Once again, Jane finds herself trying to piece together if she’s facing a new threat and, if not, which of her old boss’s problems she’s now inherited along with his authority.
The story was action-packed and had a lot of laugh out loud moments as well. Beast—the puma-like entity that shares Jane’s body—gets quite a few of them. There’s something about the non-human creatures of Jane’s world trying to understand all the oddities of human behavior that remains fun, even fourteen novels in. (On a side note, I still cannot use the phrase “trash talk” without mentally adding on Leo’s classic line of, “You wish me to discuss the sanitation department?”)
Bruiser remains one of my favorite characters in the series (well, him and Leo), and he gets plenty of great moments in this story. He’s still trying to figure himself out in a lot of ways, and his relationship with Jane is both sweet and authentic.
It’s so hard to write these types of early reviews without saying more, so I’ll draw it to a close and get on with the interview. Pick up the series if you haven’t yet, and if you have, get ready for another story with amazing characters, plenty of intriguing plot twists, and some much-needed hours of real-world escape.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Urban Fantasy Magazine: Thanks for the interview! Let’s chat about the cast a bit. Do you feel the characters take on a personality of their own without you realizing it?
FAITH HUNTER: The characters all take on personality as the plot drives them. Characters only change as they are challenged by the conflict of a book(s), as the things that happen to them make them take steps onto new paths. So yes and no. As the writer, the conflicts and resolution are in my hands. The character’s emotions, however, are very often a surprise, and that emotional reaction can drive them into new directions. When that happens, it is seldom a surprise. But sometimes … sometimes they feel a new thing, react in a new way. And that is magical.
Urban Fantasy Magazine: What is at the top of Beast’s “want to hunt” list that she has not yet had the chance to hunt?
FAITH HUNTER: Wildebeest! Think about it. Beast versus a huge horned angry mama wildebeest (wild beast) at a watering hole, one fill of crocs and hippos! What a battle! (Writer says, ‘Thankfully that would only happen in Africa and I have no plans to take Jane to Africa.’)
Urban Fantasy Magazine: What is your dream cast of Jane, Bruiser, Leo, Katie and Rick for a live action film? I think your cover artist nails Jane perfectly in each book but who, if anyone, do you as the author envision?
FAITH HUNTER: I get asked this a lot. Honestly I try not to find actors or casts. It isn’t far for a writer to put that kind of thing out there for fans to latch on to. If a book is optioned and actually makes it to film, the writer has no part in decision making. None. Zilch. It’s up to the producers, not the writer.
Urban Fantasy Magazine: When you wrote the Dark Queen, did you write it preparing for it to be possibly the last book in the series?
FAITH HUNTER: Book 3 was the last. Then book 6. Then book 8. Then book 11. Then … Well, Dark Queen could have been the last one but Jane became a new person, reinventing herself all over again. Book 15 is the last one for sure. Jane’s story will be fully written by then and I’ll be done and ready to move on.
Urban Fantasy Magazine: Did you ever have a book published that you were not quite happy with?
FAITH HUNTER: Answer. Yes. ALL of them! Every single one. I’d change things in all of them. But I live with what is and don’t usually reread my own work because I can’t stand to see what I’d do different if I wrote it now.
Urban Fantasy Magazine: Well, on a personal note, that makes me feel a lot better about all the self-doubts I have in my own writing. ^_^;; Thank you again very much!
Finally, before we wrap things up, there’s a Rafflecopter going on now. You can enter to win some fabulous prizes! Good luck, everyone! (Giveaway is open to US residents only.)