Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review: Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

Skinwalker. Faith Hunter. Roc. 2009. 320. $7.99 US. 978-0-451-46280-0.

The first book in the Jane Yellowrock series, Skinwalker brings a kick-ass heroine to the forefront with a truly warring duel inner nature and a realistic take on the supernatural.

The last of her kind, Jane Yellowrock is a skinwalker of Cherokee origins. She can shape-shift into any creature she desires, so long as there’s plenty of rocks nearby, and hunts vampires for a living. She’s been called to New Orleans to hunt a rogue vampire terrorizing the area… by none other than one of the oldest vampires in the city, Katherine Fonteneau, madam of the bordello Katie’s Ladies. But as Jane sinks into the supernatural world of New Orleans and makes new friends, and enemies, the hunt turns into a fight to come out alive.

Not just another vampire novel Skinwalker has repercussions for magic and vampires are far darker and more feral than just people with fangs. The reader witnesses the animalistic nature of both shape-shifters and vampires. It has refreshingly adult characters and a mature plot.

Jane Yellowrock is a heroine divided in more than just her morals. She and a mountain lion share the same body and Jane learns that other skinwalkers were evil and largely went crazy, killing those around them. Thus not only her nature is divided, she’s beginning to fear herself, far from completely understanding her powers, and simultaneously her loyalties are also divided as many good looking men join the melee. Full of hot action and set in a hotter atmosphere, New Orleans breathes through the plot almost like a character itself with its oppressive sultry heat. A solid mystery lies at the heart of the novel, both in terms of the rogue vampire and related to Jane herself.

Faith Hunter is between 5’3” to 5’6” depending on the heel height of her much-loved boots. She’s a Louisiana native, fell in love with sci-fi and fantasy early and has been writing ever since. Her hair color changes often to reflect her mood.