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Something Like a Review – Jane Yellowrock Series by Faith Hunter

Ok, so I’m totally cheating, but it’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last, either. Every so often, I consume a series of books so fast that they all run together a little bit for me. Instead of trying to go back and figure out where the edges sharpen (especially since I listened to all of these as audiobooks, which would make it a little more difficult), I’m compiling Something Like a Review about the whole series. For those who are looking for a good series, this may be a more helpful approach rather than the piecemeal book-by-book evaluation.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Faith Hunter and listening to her speak on many panels at my local sci-fi/gaming convention, ConCarolinas. She’s a wonderful, funny and insightful lady and has a devilish sense of humor. She is one of the people I look for when scanning the panel participants because I’ve learned a lot from what she’s had to say over the past few years, and I look forward to her posts on Magical Words as well. And how, you may ask, does she become such a resource? A deceptively simple answer – she writes good stories.

Jane Yellowrock is a strong female character with all the hallmarks of being a badass without being a male masquerading in a female body. She’s not all girly, but she’s capable of the tenderness and vulnerability that said masquerading males seem to lack. There have been characters that were supposed to be female in stories that I didn’t believe were female; Jane is not one of those characters. She has depth and layers from her unwillingness to curse in most scenarios (damned woman has me saying “crap,” as my go-to mutter of frustration and annoyance), to her reaction to several scenarios that I will not spoil here. Not only does Jane have depth, her inner Beast has depth, and there’s comedy, affection and intimacy in the dance between them. Their partnership inside her is another layer to the depth that makes Jane such an intriguing character.

What I’ve enjoyed most about the series is seeing her growth, her change and even the areas where her denial stagnates her. Probably especially the latter. The way she struggles against herself, against her denial and against the things that she probably “knows better” just makes her more human, more credible and more vital in a world slightly different than the one we expect.

The cast of characters that swirls around her highlights her strengths and are as layered as herself – Leo Pellisier, Ricky Bo’, and Bruiser, just to name a few. Hunter does a great job developing not only the characters but the complexity of the story and world over the series. There are a couple of little things that bugged me were intrinsic parts of reading a series; the little repetitions of information I’ve read before, and the brief rehashings of previous events. They weren’t obtrusive and if I wasn’t reading them all back to back, they’d probably be helpful.

Overall, this is an enjoyable series, and I’m looking forward to the next one in the series, Blood Trade, which is due out in April.

Medium: Audiobooks from Audible.com

Other: Multiple versions also available from Amazon.com

Overall rating: 4 stars

Potential re-read: Not sure, but only because the TBR pile is extensive. I wouldn’t object to it, but I can’t see squeezing in a growing series every time I need a fix.

Dead-tree worthy?: Not for me. Shelf space is at a premium, and while I enjoyed them, I don’t have the room to dedicate to them.

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