Vampire Masters of the City across the US are being afflicted by a plague. Which should be impossible – vampires are immune to disease. Yet Sedona and Seattle have both been afflicted – and when in their weakened state, they were threatened with take over. Both cities now look to a new, unknown master. And to make it even more worrying, some of Leo’s own vampires are being afflicted with the disease.
Time for Jane Yellowrock to do some investigating, using her new team to track down how the disease came about, where it is from, how it is being transmitted – and, ultimately, who is behind it. But the mystery vampire has far more than the disease at his command and Jane quickly finds herself under attack – and Leo facing a fullscale war; all complicated by there being a spy in the ranks.
Through all this, Jane’s secret Skinwalker identity is yet further frayed, even as more of her forgotten past emerges and she has a painful reminder of how difficult and dangerous it is to get involved with vampires – even vampires she thought she could trust.
I loved this book, it seemed to get just about everything right with the balance.
The story is an excellent mix of action and investigation. The unknown enemy spreading disease isn’t a force they can just take down nor is it something they can just hunker down and defend against. It’s not a mystery since there are no clues we’re expected to follow, but nor is it a series of loosely connected fight scenes. There’s a plot to follow, a nice, tense tracking down of the clues while trying to protect themselves all of which has the added complication of there being a leak in Leo’s organisation. The pacing was excellent, there was no down time even when Jane was exhausted, the plot didn’t get distracted or deviated and at no point did it start to drag – which can be a problem with mysteries as the questions build up and there’s no concrete actions to take or answers given. Instead we had solutions and answers, appropriate red herrings and show down moments, clever plans, interesting plots and a chance to truly see the new characters introduced.
I also liked how much the emotional impact of what was happening wasn’t downplayed. Jane has been through several losses of friends and that still haunts her. Trauma leaves her shocked and stunned – even in shock. Killing people, torturing people bothers her and preys on her mind. They’re not just downplayed events that just happen and they move on, but nor do they require chapters of self-pitying angst as well. It’s a nice balance and really well executed.
I liked the character development and interaction- Jane realising how she sees things differently since working with the vampires, in particularly how money has affected her. Going from having to count the pennies to being able to casually lay out large sums of money – to Reach, for plane tickets, to fund her 2 new employees. In turn that reflects on her willingness to keep working for the vampires even when she has strong reason not to – because can anyone underestimate the value of such financial confidence?
The way the supernatural touches Jane has also developed – I love the way her secret being revealed is being handled. She is trying to hodl what secrets she can and not having a big reveal moment, but nor is she trying to pretend to be fully human when it’s blatantly obvious to everyone that she isn’t. She isn’t happy with her skinwalker status being more known, but she’s not whimpering and trying to put it back in the bag – she’s living with it and making it work for her.