Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker you don’t want to cross—especially if you’re one of the undead… For
a vampire killer like Jane, having Leo Pellisier as a boss took some
getting used to. But now, someone is out to take his place as Master
Vampire of the city of New Orleans, and is not afraid to go through Jane
to do it. After an attack that’s tantamount to a war declaration, Leo
knows his rival is both powerful and vicious, but Leo’s not about to run
scared. After all, he has Jane. But then, a plague strikes, one that
takes down vampires and makes their masters easy prey.
to uncover the identity of the vamp who wants Leo’s territory, and to
find the cause of the vamp-plague, Jane will have to go to extremes…and
maybe even to war.
Death’s Rival is the latest in the series by Faith Hunter about Jane Yellowrock, a skinwalker who hunts vampires, and it’s a book both for loyal readers of the series, and anybody who happens to be looking for something new. As the fifth book in the series, Hunter has to change things up a bit, and she does this by introducing an illness that only strikes vampires.
It’s apparent that this mysterious disease is designed as a power play to displace Masters of the City such as Leo Pelliser, and whoever is behind it has already brought down other powerful vampires. As if that isn’t frightening enough, every vampire who’s been afflicted with the disease has been forced to submit to the authority of the alpha vampire. It’s an effective way of securing loyalty, since without their vow of fealty, there is no cure, and Jane doesn’t want to find out why this vampire wants all this power. Except, Leo asks her to, and that’s kind of her job, so Jane’s in the loop, whether she wants to be or not.
Of course, being sent to find out what’s going on has its risks. Jane has bodyguard Eli at her back, as well as his hacker sibling, and she may need the help. The action scenes are well written, and Jane’s physicality is impressive, although she’s up against some very formidable adversaries, which keeps things exciting.
On top of the sick vampires plotline, this book features more background into Jane’s character. Anybody who’s enjoyed the character of Beast will be happy to discover that the relationship between her and Jane is a large part of the storyline. Jane is struggling with her nature, and has to decide what it means for her to be a skinwalker, both as a vampire hunter, and a woman looking for a partner, both in life and romance.
All told, Death’s Rival is a great addition to the series, giving Jane more depth, moral dilemmas to wrestle with, and toying with the question of romance, while leaving plenty of room for the next novel.