Review: Skinwalker

Series: Jane Yellowrock: #1

Well that was fun. I’m always looking for a good new (to me) Urban Fantasy–and Jane Yellowrock (so far) hits all the right notes. The worldbuilding is neat. The plot is basic enough, but solid. I like the main character(s). And I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes from here!

I think the biggest/really only negative with the book is that the writing style starts out fairly rough. It evens out fairly quickly though, so I expect it’s more of both the author and the reader finding the voice of the book than anything else.

Worldbuildingwise, there’s some really interesting potential here:

Vamps and witches came out of the closet in 1962, when Marilyn Monroe tried to turn the U.S. president in the Oval Office and was killed by the Secret Service.

I do enjoy Urban Fantasies that actually bring the supernatural beasties into the public. Especially if they change things in interesting ways. I think this series doesn’t quite feel different enough just yet, but it has potential.

Especially when, in this particular world, things are left out. There are (so far) no weres and no faries, just vampires and witches. I expect we’ll meet all sorts of other interesting beasties–but the fact that they’re limited or hidden is interesting as well.

Also, there’s the oft-mentioned mystery of why it’s specifically crosses:

“And vamps fear the cross,” I said. “Not the Star of David, not the symbols of Mohammed, not the sight of a happy Buddha, no matter how strong a believer’s faith or how certain his devotion. But the symbols of Christianity all vamps fear, even if wielded by a nonbeliever. So it isn’t faith that gives the symbols power. Theologians disagree about why. So I’ll trade. Tell me why vamps fear everything about the Church.”

Now, you’ve got me interested…

Plotwise, it’s a bounty hunter / detective story–it’s amusing how many Urban Fantasies go that route. But it works. Jane has a reputation, but it’s a shaky/early one, and I like that. She’s got the whole book to convince both me and those she hired that she’s actually up for the job.

Characterwise, Jane is great and Beast is all the better. A shapeshifter makes a fun protagonist and I can deal much better with amnesia if it’s introduced right from the beginning (and not thrown in later for a cheap twist). Being a ’last of her kind’ (which we all know isn’t likely to last the series) is an interesting twist. I’ve seen skinwalkers and similar beings in a number of other urban fantasy series, so I’m serious how it goes from here.

“Dalonige’i,” she said, and I stopped at the sound of my name. “It isn’t a traditional name. It means more than yellow rock, you know.” When I lifted my brows in question, she said, “It also means gold—one reason why the Nation was stolen from the Cherokee, why The People were set on the Trail of Tears, so the white man could dig dalonige’i from the earth of the Appalachian Mountains.”