Black Arts by Faith Hunter

Read January 2019
Recommended for fans of vampires
★     ★    ★  

2019: past-carol. either had a much better attention span or lower standards. Let’s be honest: probably a bit of both. So what happened is that I started my cousin on the Yellowrock books and she read up as far as I had in the series (book 6) and then bought the rest. She then dropped off the rest for me to read in a spirit of ‘returning the favor,’ and I, in the spirit of cousin-ness, did not tell her that I had grown disheartened with the characterization of Jane and the continued presence of vampire politics as a main plotline. I’m not judging her taste; she has a thing for biker chicks and cats. Not to say I don’t either, but that my tolerance for all things vampy is now quite low. At any rate, I picked it up, not remembering if I read it. It wasn’t long before I was pretty sure I had, but I had a vague sense of tolerance about it.

Well, tolerance, then boredom.

I could not sustain any interest in it. Admittedly, I can see the draw for a first read: in this book, Jane’s best friend, Molly, has gone missing, and Molly’s husband and two young children have come to New Orleans looking for Molly. They end up staying with Jane and her two young henchmen. Meanwhile, Jane is dealing with the consequences of the last book (I think) where her skinwalker Beast is bound to the head vampire Leo. Leo also offers her a crazy amount of money to be the head of security in preparation for an upcoming European vampire visit to New Orleans. Also meanwhile, two young prostitutes from the house next door have gone missing, one a vamp and one a witch.

This basic (!) three-fold plotting is not aided by periodic attempts by someone(s) on Jane’s life, nor by periodic visits to Leo’s vampire residence where she occasionally takes time to fight with Leo. Hunter’s writing skills and Jane’s detecting skills are, frankly, not up to the task. About every chapter, Jane encounters something that is probably supposed to be important, as evidenced by such writing as, “something nagged at me, but I couldn’t quite identify what it was.” Alas, I had no trouble.

On the up side, there’s very adorable scenes with Molly’s witch-talented children and Jane, and this is one of the books where there is active female presences, including Jodi, the police detective; Del, a vampire from Virginia or somewhere; an antagonistic female; various female witches; and the Native women.

So while I can see why I might have enjoyed it the first time when I was in reading the series, I have to say when I pick it up as a diverting read, it just doesn’t work as well. There’s a lot of twisty stuff and stories that are continued from prior books, which makes it less satisfying as a stand-alone, and there’s a ton of vampire-related relationships (who owes what to who, areas of power, etc) that’s just zzzzz. I’m a little bored just writing about it.

Appropriate evaluation (2014 carol can suck it):

Within the series: 4 Stars
Overall: 3 stars for enjoyment

2014:
Improvement on the last book. Jane doesn’t spend excessive time in romantic agnst or moping about her extended family. More focused on problem-solving.

About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
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2 Responses to Black Arts by Faith Hunter

  1. koeur says:

    I liked the early work as it had a “rawness” that attracts. Subsequent novels seemed dumbed down and repetitive.

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