This post is a blog tour for Faith Hunter’s DARK QUEEN. Read below for a description of the book, my review, a bio on the wonderful Faith Hunter, and a chance to win a copy of DARK QUEEN!
About the book:
Jane Yellowrock used to hunt vampires, but now she must fight–and win–beside them.
As Enforcer to the vampire Master of the City of New Orleans, Jane Yellowrock stakes her reputation and her life on keeping her territory safe. But Leo has been issued a blood challenge by the emperor of the European vampires, who seeks to usurp all of his power and possessions. If Leo loses the match to the death, the city will be forfeit, and the people of New Orleans will suffer the consequences. Jane can’t let that happen.
Preparing for the duel requires all of Jane’s focus, but with so much supernatural power in play, nothing goes according to plan. She has to rely on herself and the very few people she knows she can trust to stand and fight. Only two things are guaranteed: nothing is sacred, and no one is safe.
Author: Faith Hunter
Release: May 1st 2018
Received: Copy from publisher
I received a copy of Dark Queen in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Let me tell you a story, before I start my review. I saw a sign up on Faith Hunter’s fan page, looking for reviewers, and I figured I’d put my name in. I mean, why not? Sure, I deal with a serious case of imposter syndrome at times, but I love this series and having a decent chunk of reviews under my belt certainly couldn’t hurt my odds. I didn’t hear anything about my request, so I didn’t really let myself think about it much (no news is good news, right?). Then one day I came home to find this gorgeous and wonderful book waiting for me. I may or may not have danced around the house with it. Just a little bit. The moral of this story is: if you ever doubt yourself about your worth, but really want to give something a try, go ahead and put your name in anyway. You never know what the outcome could be.
Dark Queen is the latest installment of the Jane Yellowrock series, and to say I’ve been chomping at the bit to read it would be putting things far too lightly. I’m sure I’m not the only fan that was eagerly counting down the days for this release, but that’s part of the reason I’m so excited to be reviewing this novel a little bit early.
Faith Hunter has been building up to this point for a while, a fact many of her fans are almost painfully aware of. We’ve seen Jane build up her forces, friendships, and contacts all to survive this point. And it’s finally here. After all these years of buildup, the Sanguine Duello is finally upon us.
First I would just like to say that this novel utterly destroyed me, and any book lover will know exactly what I mean by this statement. Every set of emotions capable of being felt by a human being were experienced during my read through. I almost with I could read it for the first time all over again, but I’m not sure I could handle it.
For the sake of honesty I should tell you that before reading Dark Queen I completely kept my head in the sand about what was going to happen. I refused to even read the description of the book (weird I know, but I sometimes do that with series I get really excited about). I didn’t go snippet hunting, and I flat out refused to think about the possibilities that could happen here. Normally this tactic helps me survive between one book and another, but I think in this case it kept me from being prepared for what was in store. I’m going to assume that people reading my review aren’t going to be following this practice (duh) and I think that’s a good call.
When I look back and think about Dark Queen, I think about it in two distinct parts. There’s the huge chunk of the novel where Jane and crew are dealing with lots of other problems (as tends to happen – when it rains it pours and all that), including some immensely personal issues for Jane; and then there’s the last part of the novel that includes the Sanguine Duello.
I loved both ‘parts’ of this novel equally, but for completely different reasons. During the first half of the book (not an accurate statement – I didn’t actually take the time to measure how big each ‘part’ is) I was absorbed in the day to day issues of New Orleans, from the major planning going on, to the politicking, to the personal issues emerging and complicating matters. Now, I’m personally a huge fan of vampire novels that include politics, so I literally will gobble up any scrap given to me that feels like a master vampire has been making grand plans. And trust me; Leo has been scheming up a storm. It was actually really satisfying to see everything he’s been working on and planning for the last few years come to fruition (especially the parts he hid from everyone).
The other nice part about the first part of the book is that I was able to convince myself that the Sanguine Duello wasn’t actually happening in this novel. The longer everything else went on, the more convinced I became that this was going to be another novel building up to it. I was personally okay with that, since I’ve been enjoying the buildup.
All that being said, I’m actually happy that the Sanguine Duello was included in this novel. I hadn’t realized how nervous I was about it until I was sitting there on the edge of my seat, eagerly devouring each detail of the duel.
This obviously brings me to the second ‘half’ of the novel. The Sanguine Duello and everything directly involving it. Faith Hunter put so many details into this part; it’s hard to accept it as anything other than reality. You can really see how much work she put into it, which I both respect and appreciate, especially when considering how difficult this part must have been to write (not just in the emotional sense – I imagine writing out fights occurring at vampire speeds would be incredibly difficult).
As far as the fight scenes are concerned, they were artistically done and well described, and they also weren’t drawn out. I know it sounds weird for me to be happy about that, but as anybody with fighting skills will tell you; the best fights do not last long. Throw in vampire reflexes and speed and there’s really no reason for the fights to go on for hours; as a bonus that means your heart will not be in your throat for long. You know, until the next round of fighting begins. Then you get to go through it all over again.
I should warn you; this novel does end in a bit of a cliffhanger. I don’t think it’s the type that’ll have most fans pulling out their hair (though I could be wrong on that count). Actually, when I first finished reading it, I wasn’t sure if it was the end of the series or not. I found myself oddly tranquil about the idea of it. I was obviously hoping to get more Jane novels, but at the same time the ending given was so true to Jane’s character and the story Faith Hunter has been trying to tell us that I couldn’t bring myself to be upset about it. Before you start to worry: I looked it up, we’re getting at least two more novels (and more than that, with any luck) so there’s no need to be getting ready to say goodbye to Jane anytime soon.
All in all this novel really did completely wreck me, and I have never been so happy to be able to say that about a novel. I love series that make me feel emotionally connected to its characters, as is the case here, series that get my invested in the events that are going on, series that make you care. Jane Yellowrock is absolutely one of those series. I love the characters that Faith Hunter has put into this world, and the ones I don’t love I find myself loving to hate them instead (as I’m sure was intended). I love Jane, Beast, the Younger brothers, Bruiser, all of them. I love the complexity of Jane and Beast’s abilities, and that those abilities actually have consequences. I love the world and city that the series is set in, as do I love the politics, both of the vampire and interspecies variety. And I absolutely can’t wait until the next novel is out.
Faith’s bio and social media:
BIO – New York Times and USAToday bestselling fantasy author Faith Hunter was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. Altogether she has 40+ books in print under the names Gary Hunter, Gwen Hunter, and Faith Hunter. As Faith, she writes two contemporary Urban Fantasy series: the Jane Yellowrock series, featuring a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires, and the Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. Her Rogue Mage novels are a dark, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. The role playing game based on the series, is ROGUE MAGE, RPG.