Reviewed in the United States on November 3, 2012
Death's Rival by Faith Hunter is the 5th book in Hunter's Jane Yellowrock series.
For those of you who have not read this series, Jane Yellowrock is a supernatural skinwalker, who shares her body with the soul of a mountain lion. Skinwalkers are able to shift into various animals. She is rogue-vampire hunter, who is now working in New Orleans for the powerful Master of the City, Leo Pellissier. The Jane Yellowrock series has a fantastic and different premise, with a wonderful and complex heroine. Jane and her equally wonderful alter ego, Beast, are totally sensational together. In Death's Rival, Faith Hunter does it again, with a terrific story that is intense, and filled with non stop action from start to finish.
Death's Rival picks up not to long after Raven Cursed. Jane is still working as Leo's "enforcer", but she is somewhat down, as we know from Raven Cursed, her friend Molly is keeping her distance from Jane, as is her boyfriend Rick. But a serious situation has arisen across the country that requires Jane's attention. She is sent by Bruiser, who is Leo's Primo and another possible boyfriend of Jane's to Sedona and Seattle to discover why Vampire Masters of those cities are being affected by a rampant disease. The Masters in their weakened condition are passing over their commands to an unknown powerful vampire, in exchange for an antidote to keep them alive.
Jane takes her team ( Derek & his men) to investigate, & take blood samples so that they can have Leo's scientist's discover a cure. But things do not go smooth, as this powerful vampire is one step ahead of them. Who is the unknown old time Vampire? How is this disease being transmitted? Is there a cure? Death's Rival is indeed a mystery, and filled with heart pumping action, constant danger; as a full scale war is upon them.
Through all of this, Hunter continues the story revolving around Jane's identity, which is still hidden. Hidden to the New Orleans Vamps; hidden to most of the men and people in her life; but most of all, the hidden secrets of her childhood that Jane herself cannot remember. The Vamps and human who work with Jane, know she is not human, but they do not what she is. But in Death's Rival, we learn so much more, as does Jane. She learns the truth of her history and childhood, and becomes an even stronger person in this book. I loved how strong Jane and Beast are together. Absolutely adore Beast, especially when she takes over and shifts to the mountain lion she is. Jane and Beast together are so much stronger. In this book, we get to see more of Beast, and her thoughts, as Hunter has taken this to another step up. You know when Jane is mind talking, or when it's Beast. So well done.
Faith Hunter has also created some wonderful and even villainous characters in this series that we usually get to see in each book...Bruiser, Leo, Rick, Katie, Derek, Sabina, as well as some new characters, such as Eli (a hunk I hope is in Jane's future), Alex, and the evil D'allyon. In Death's Rival we get a heavy dose of these characters throughout this fantastic ride, with every moment filled with non stop fighting, danger, suspense, surprises, and betrayals.
Jane Yellowrock is a fantastic hard edged heroine. She is smart, tough, hard assed, persistant, complex, but she is also fun, caring, sexual and loyal. As for Beast...sigh....love her, especially she comes out more in this book. Death's Rival is a great addition to this series. If you have not read this series, I suggest you do so, but importantly if you do, start from the first book, Skinwalker. You need to learn about Jane and Beast, and the beginning is the best place to start.