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Raven Cursed
Faith Hunter
Roc, 384 pages

Raven Cursed
Faith Hunter
A native of Louisiana, Faith Hunter spent her early years on the bayous and rivers, learning survival skills and the womanly arts. She liked horses, dogs, fishing and crabbing much better than girly skills. She still does. In grade school, she fell in love with fantasy and science fiction, reading five books a week and wishing she could "write that great stuff." Faith now shares her life with her Renaissance Man and their dogs in a Enclave of their own.

Faith Hunter Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Mercy Blade
SF Site Review: Blood Cross
SF Site Review: Skinwalker

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Katherine Petersen

Faith Hunter has outdone herself in Raven Cursed, the fourth installment in her Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy series. This tale takes place in the Appalachian Mountains rather than in New Orleans, and Jane faces just as much danger. In fact, Raven Cursed has a darker edge as Jane digs deep in herself to assess, analyze and discover even more about herself.

In this adventure, Jane starts out as a bodyguard to the envoy that Leo Pellissier has sent to Asheville for a parlay with a North Carolina vampire who seeks to become master of his own city. A fanged attack on campers quickly turns Jane into an investigator, facing enemies, both recognized and unrecognized, from her past.

While Jane has less vampire politics to worry about in this novel, she has some tricky footwork to dance in order to maintain and build relationships with those around her. As usual, her mouth gets her in trouble on numerous occasions. Jane does learn more about herself and Beast, but little is solved on the romantic front which leaves lots of opportunities for future stories.

A master of plotting, Hunter hooks the reader from the first line, waving in enough complex layers to keep the reader guessing and turning pages. My one caution is to start this book early unless you don't mind staying up all night. And, if you're anything like me, these books are always too short, so I ended up re-reading chunks of it over again to make the experience last. Rife with snarky dialogue, vivid descriptions and enough hairpin turns to keep a fantastic driver busy, Raven Cursed is my second favorite novel in this series. Skinwalker, the first in this series, will always be my favorite, as it introduced me to Hunter's writing and our tough, but self-deprecating heroine, Jane Yellowrock.

A lot of series seek to emulate Hunter's work, but few come close to capturing the essence of urban fantasy: the perfect blend of intriguing heroine, suspense, fantasy with just enough romance to acknowledge it's there without it being in any danger of overtaking any other element. Few writers can interweave the number of story threads from book to book without losing track of any of them either. Many series can be read out of order, but for full enjoyment and appreciation of Hunter's talents, this is not one of them. Begin at the beginning with this one; it's an adventure you'll never forget!

Copyright © 2012 Katherine Petersen

Katherine Petersen started reading as a young child and hasn't stopped. She still thinks she can read all the books she wants, but might, at some point, realize the impossibility of this mission. While she enjoys other genres, she thrives on fantasy, science fiction and mysteries.

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