Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

2009. 320 pages. Mass market paperback.

From: The public library – interlibrary loan.

Recommendation from: drey’s library

In a nutshell:

Jane Yellowrock is a Cherokee skinwalker, a human that can change into the form of an animal (usually that of a mountain lion).  In this version of the world, vampires and witches are publicly known supernatural beings.  As far as Jane knows, she is the only one of her kind, and so she protects her supernatural identity from all but her closest friends.  Jane kills rogue vampires for a living.  In Skinwalker, New Orleans’ vampire council hires her to kill a rogue vampire that has been gruesomely murdering humans and vampires alike.


Jane Yellowrock is a great urban fantasy heroine.  Though Jane’s Native American heritage and shapeshifting powers reminded me of Patricia Briggs’ character Mercy Thompson, the two characters have very different back-stories and inhabit different paranormal situations.

My favorite aspect of the book is also one of the hardest aspects to explain.  Not only can Jane shapeshift, but also, sometime in her fuzzy past, she acquired the additional consciousness of a mountain lion.  (How this happened is later recalled by Jane but I don’t want to spoil it.)

Jane names this second consciousness ‘Beast’.  When Jane shifts into the form of the lion, it is Beast’s thought-processes that are dominant.  When Jane is in human form, Jane’s way of thinking is strongest.  Neither is silenced when in the other’s form, and so there is this cool, frequently amusing, banter going on between the two of them.  Sometimes, there is even a battle of the wills.  I loved being inside of Jane’s mind because it was so interesting in there.

While becoming accustomed to this unusual dual-narrator set-up, the reader learns – along with Jane – the intricate politics and rituals of the vampire clans in New Orleans.  As befits a vampire-hunter, Jane is not generally fond of vampires, and is much more comfortable getting chummy with the vampires’ human servants.  However, she does establish some uneasy working relationships with some of the vampires.

The author is a native of Louisiana and this shines through in the familiar tone she takes in the book’s descriptions of New Orleans.  There may have been a few too many scenes of Jane rambling around and discovering the city.  However, since those scenes are responsible for me wanting to go there and eat lots of food, I guess you couldn’t call them entirely unsuccessful.

This definitely seems to be a series worth following and I’ve already placed an inter-library loan request for the sequel, Blood Cross.


Filed under Fantasy, Supernatural & Surreal

4 responses to “Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

  1. Sounds interesting – my library has it available as an electronic download so I should be able to listen to it in the next few weeks. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. i love when books are set in great cities and the authors pour on the details. i’ve been to new orleans several times and really enjoy the culture and all there is to see.

    i’ve never heard of this book but if it’s set in new orleans, i may just have to check it out. 🙂

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