Broken Soul by Faith Hunter

Read December 2018
Recommended for fans of Jane Yellowrock
★     ★    ★    

The Post in Which I Muse on the Series.

I dropped this series a few years back. Heavy on vampire politics and with a lead character who had a fair amount of romantic angst, it just wasn’t consistently interesting. However, my cousin was looking for new reads and I started her out on the early books in this series (this is under the philosophy of being willing to have said books returned in less-than-perfect condition). She loved it so much that she bought the rest of the series–Hunter having finished it by then–and brought them back to me to read.

So here’s the thing about series: they’re very much the same. It was interesting to me to fall back into a story after a few years and feel very familiar with everything happening. In fact, the plot ended up reminding me very strongly of one of the first three book. So it was with mixed emotions that I read on: one, that I wouldn’t have to invest much in my read; and two, that there probably wouldn’t be very much that was challenging here.

Perhaps that’s why we like series, because they offer a predictable world and story in a world that is neither predictable nor coherent. Depending on the author, you can be guaranteed the outcome; that the hero will live another day, that justice will triumph, that lower-level evil will be vanquished, that love will conquer all. I like series for these reasons too but I also want to feel like there is a greater sense of purpose (going back to that lack of parallel in the real world here…).

I’d be hard-pressed to find that in the Yellowrock series. Despite starting out as a contracted vamp-killer for hire, Jane, the lead, has morphed into a security consultant for the head vampire of the New Orleans area. As such, most of her job has surrounded detailed vampire politics. Apparently, Hunter is calling the upcoming visit of the European vampires her overarching series plot, because while I remember it from earlier books, it’s brought up again here in context of a lot of security preparations. The series structure is pretty straightforward: contract to protect vamps. Preparations. Weird stuff happens. Protect vamps. Figure out weird stuff. Work with/fight vamps (there’s always the troublesome ones). Fight extra-weird thing causing trouble. The End.  The side plot usually seems to consist of Jane deciding who she wants to date, what she wants to wear on their date, the date, and then emotional fallout after the date. 

It’s pretty straightforward storytelling. Hunter is very competent at it, to be sure; I’d say far above average from what I remember of various forays into the genre. I do like that Jane is a determined, stubborn, and faithful character. I also enjoy the impact of the Beast character, and that seems to have been evolving in interesting ways. There’s steady action in this book, which maybe keeps the reader from realizing that a lot of it is just that–action–and not actual steps towards solution. I felt like the New Orleans setting was used well, and had to laugh when at one point Jane mentions that the showers never got really cold.

I just don’t care about imaginary politics; I’m troubled enough with real-life ones. There’s also a bit more detail on guns and security issues, which is a non-interest for me. There’s some magical computer hacking with a Kid Genius, which is always somewhat problematic for me (I mean, why introduce computer stuff as an issue if you are going to solve it with a talented hacker?). Jane’s also only marginally improved on the emotional security front (one chapter end: “I’ve become a girl“) which was somewhat distressing, although I appreciated the nod to the flippy skirt she bought and danced in in book one. And, as was normal for this series, there is a distressing lack of females. Jane prefers being ‘one of the guys,’ and her environment reflects that. She lives with two guys, the majority of the vamp team she works with are guys (except Leo’s new second, so naturally, they have a conversation about Leo), and many of the women seem to see her as competition (Leo’s second, Katie the vamp from book one). Her friend Jodi makes a brief appearance, as well as a woman from the government Psy division. So there are women scattered around the book; I think it’s not problematic author portrayal as much as a character that is herself problematic. She continues to resent any soul-searching and only reaches out when she needs help.

I’ll likely try the next, if only because it’s sitting on my bookshelf, courtesy of my cousin. There can be a certain comfort in a decently written but non-demanding read.

About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
This entry was posted in Book reviews, fantasy, Urban fantasy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Broken Soul by Faith Hunter

  1. alicegristle says:

    Doesn’t pass the Bechdel, then? 😀 Not my kind of series, I guess – I’m tired of the whole scheme of vampires that are just like humans, only “cooler and edgier”. But your ideas about series and predictability are interesting, and something I’ve been wanting to do a post on for a while now, too. Thanks!

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