Broken Soul  - Faith Hunter

I follow about 5 or 6 paranormal/UF series & invariably there are some misses among the hits. Characters temporarily lose their way, plots become top heavy with romantic angst or events occur that stretch credibility even for this genre. Somehow Ms. Hunter has avoided these pitfalls, consistently turning out books that are entertaining while allowing her characters to develop & mature. 

The story is always two pronged: current events in Jane's job as head of security for Leo, New Orleans' premier fangface & her continuing journey of discovery about who she is, where she came from & the extent of her abilities. A large cast of weird & scary creatures/people plus dialogue infused with dry humour completes the package. 

 

First, the job. Let's see...the European Council (vamp bigwigs) is planning a visit & it's looking like it may be more of a war than fuzzy family reunion. Jane is busy with increasing security, figuring out the power outages at Leo's & learning to sword fight. And what the hell is that thing in the basement of vamp HQ? In her spare time she is dodging attacks by something described as a "light dragon". Then there's the aptly named Satan's Three, a trio of beings who date back to the original tribes of Egypt. They're convinced she has something they want & it's really hard to negotiate with people whose last grip on sanity was around the time Noah got into ship building. 

 

Then there's her personal life. It's taken Jane a while to get over Rick's betrayal & things may be looking up. No spoilers here but it can be summed up with two simple steps.

1. Proceed to the speech given on page 43.

2. Swoon.

We also learn more about Jane's past, her relationship with Beast & her actual age. What I have always liked about this story line is we discover who this character is at the same time she does. It's clear some of the vampires have knowledge she could use but are masters of the oblique non-answer when questioned. The result is the reader feels just as frustrated as Jane. 

The world building continues with explanations of how vampires came to be, their relationship with witches & the significance of skinwalkers in Native American folklore.

 

Before it's all over, there are battles & hair raising encounters with truly scary (and very cool) creatures. There's even a shower scene that gives Hitchcock a run for his money. New characters are added to keep things fresh but just a heads up...the author doesn't shy away from killing off an established character from the cast of regulars. 

At the centre of it all is Jane, a strong capable woman who has built a life with little help from anyone. After decades of solitude she is accumulating a family of sorts & it's interesting to watch her character evolve with each instalment. Don't worry, she may be acquiring a softer side but there's no danger of her losing kickass status.

 

So set aside some time before you open the cover. Once you begin, it's addictive entertainment. Not recommended as a stand alone.