Review: Black Arts by Faith Hunter

black artsReviewed by Jen

I’ll say this for the Jane Yellowrock series. It is very consistent.  The writing is sharp; the storylines, complex; and the world-building, fascinating. Faith Hunter has created a wonderfully deep trough of characters and plot threads to pull from.  Sometimes, it’s so smart, I feel a little dumb for not being able to keep up. But it’s a fast ride and an exhilarating one, every single time.  And amazingly, every book manages to tread new ground.  (That is, in every way except Jane’s personal life.)

You may recall that there is a wedge between Jane and her best friend Molly, ever since the unfortunate events that led to Jane killing’s Molly’s evil sister.  But now Molly is missing and her husband Evan has arrived at Jane’s home, children in tow, to find her.  He thought she was with Jane, but she has embarked on some super-secret plan and fallen off the face of the earth.  Finding her is Jane’s Mission #1.

Mission #2 is finding out what happened to two of Katie’s “girls” who have gone missing. Mission 3: provide security for a big-wig vampire gathering of Leo’s.  Clearly, Jane has a full plate.  But that’s the way of this series. It’s go-go-go on all fronts and somehow, all of the balls Jane has in the air ending up tracing to the same source.  There are rarely any red herrings, so it’s great fun to see how it will eventually all weave together.

As always, Jane has to do a lot of soul searching.  Where beast fits in her life.  What the binding to Leo means.  What the impact is of killing a man when she was only a child.  Add to all of that, her lingering guilt over killing Molly’s sister and the destruction of that friendship, and Jane is… conflicted in many ways.  She is a very strong woman, but one full of self-doubt.  And I can appreciate that vulnerability to an extent.  I like that it gives her some humanity and keeps her from being too bulletproof. I also really love the additions of Eli and the Kid in her life.  They help her find softness without weakness.

But.  Where this series continues to fail in spectacular fashion is in the love interests.  I have hated Rick as a potential suitor for Jane for several books now. I am past the point of even a shred of patience for her constant waffling over him.  One minute it’s,”I love Rick! I would be with him in a moment if we could do the deed!” The next, Jane’s bemoaning how he’s her ex again. Then she’s going to fight for him. Then she’s never going to let him hurt her like that again. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off.  OhmyGodshutup.  Be with him. Don’t be with him. I don’t care anymore. Just pick one way or another.  It is so annoying at this point, I would just rather Jane become asexual than continue with this absurd merry-go-round.  Bruiser seems to be emerging as a better and better candidate, but NOTHING IS HAPPENING THERE.  It never happens.  I am two steps beyond critical mass.

Other than that, the book was really good.  I hate to let that one small thing overshadow all the great action and intricate storytelling. It’s just so frustrating… maybe because I am a romance reader at heart.  Frankly, I have just about given up hope that Hunter will ever fix this part of the story.  Maybe I just have to skip these parts of future books in order to enjoy them.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Ace

Click to purchase: Amazon

Black Arts
by Faith Hunter
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Ace

Comments

  1. I agree with the comments about Rick. I am really tired of him.

    As to Jane choosing a love interest, she did. But he (Rick) continues to not choose here. I think that the reason neither Bruiser nor Leo have been serious contenders is because they could not or would not choose to put her first.

    I am, however, holding out serious hope for George Dumas with his change to Onorio and his release from Leo. I think it’s been hinted at for several books now that George has been trying to maneuver himself into a position where Jane could be his number one. The hints at an Onorio being able to share a bond with another person may mean that sometime soon Jane and Bruiser could become entwined very closely.

    I’ve got my fingers crossed and cannot wait for the next book, though I just finished reading the whole series again as prelude to the second reading of Black Arts.

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