Review: Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter

Mercy Blade

Jane Yellowrock #3

Written: Faith Hunter [website]

Published: Penguin

When: January 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-0451463722

Obtained via: Purchase

Cover blurb:

Jane, a shapeshifting vampire-hunter-for-hire, crosses paths with a stranger who has arrived in New Orleans, enlisted to hunt vampires who have gone insane-or so he says…

My Review:

I love the Jane Yellowrock novels because of the themes they explore. One of the big, big themes in this series is that of two equal but opposing sides and exploring how those two sides can live and work together. Vampire and human; human and witch; vampire and werewolf; woman and panther; Christian and Cherokee; warrior and woman. There are probably more that I’ve missed.

I like the fact that Jane isn’t a perfect character. She has flaws, she messes up, she makes bad choices – she is REAL. I wish she’d chosen anyone other than Rick, but I get why she did. It’s easy to stand outside of a relationship and say, “This man is bad for you.” It’s not so easy to be one of the involved parties and do that. I don’t think there are a lot of women out there who haven’t made that mistake a time or two. One doesn’t have to like or agree with the main character’s motivations or actions in order to realize that the story is well-crafted.

In the end, MERCY BLADE is very well-crafted. For myself, I wish Jane could feel less guilt over her out-of-wedlock activities, but I understand the motivation behind it. Some other reviews have taken an issue with her guilt over unmarried sex and said that it is at odds with her vampire killer career, but I disagree. Jane does not see vampires (or werewolves, I think) as human. As a matter of fact, I think it’s reasonable to assume that her Christian upbringing, at least, may view her career as destroying evil — and thus, not a bad thing at all. Religion gets freaky and hypocritical sometimes, and this book shows that really well.

The mystery is solid and not one of those throw away UF or paranormal “mysteries” where you can figure out the bad guy within the first 10 pages. The characters are conflicted, make bad choices, and have to deal with their own mistakes (A LOT of mistakes). Jane’s world doesn’t pull it’s punches and doesn’t keep its characters wrapped in plastic. And Jane doesn’t always come out ahead by herself (or at all)– a woman can be strong and still need to ask for help. (Note to self: going up against an entire biker bar of werewolves is a time to ask for help.)

This is a dark world and really explores some not too bright and cheery themes. If you’re afraid of that, you might want to seek your stories elsewhere. If you want stale, formulaic mysteries and too-strong-for-their-own-good heroines, there are plenty of other places to look. If you want a peek into the world of an extraordinary, supernatural woman with real flaws, then I’d urge you to give Jane a chance.

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[Adapted from my Amazon review, which I posted there first because some people there who didn’t seem to “get it” and it kind of ticked me off. 🙂 ]

Buy it at Amazon.

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