I can’t believe I’m writing these words…. Final Heir, the 15th book in the Jane Yellowrock series, is the conclusion and final story in the series. After fourteen books, I knew that she was leading us toward the conclusion and yes, this one is it. My history with these novels started with the spin-off series, Soulwood. I was intrigued enough about one of the characters, Rick LaFleur, and wanted to know his back story so started listening to Jane Yellowrock’s books because I had a boatload of audible credits saved. If you find yourself in the same boat, Khristine Kvam narrates those books, as well as Soulwood, and she is uber talented and it’s worth the many hours of listening enjoyment. Anyhow, I wanted to know about Jane, Rick’s ex who is mentioned in Soulwood, and once I started that first novel I was hooked. Jane is everything I look for in an urban fantasy heroine. She is strong, unselfish, sassy, and carries an emotional depth that makes you want to dig deep and learn more. Did I mention I was hooked? LOL.
Final Heir brings back all of my favorite characters. Leo Pellissier ex-Master of the City of New Orleans, Edmund- Jane’s primo and the now King of Europe, Gregoiré- Leo’s love and Jane’s enforcer, Bruiser- Jane’s honey, as well as the whole Everheart gang of witches, her brother’s of choice Eli and Alex, etc. There are too many to name them all. As I was reading and all of these characters came together I knew that this was the final book. Each character had their own moment that meant something to Jane and I hope Faith because there are a couple of characters I’d love to see in future novels, although Faith may be more tired of these characters than her readers (Edmund and Angie anyone?).
It must be noted that Jane’s position as Dark Queen puts her in the rear of battles more than at the front of them, something that she may have gotten a little used to as she was fighting cancer a couple of books back, yet sitting on the sidelines isn’t something that comes naturally. Never fear though, the penultimate scene is all Jane in her bad-a@@ glory and I relished every moment. Speaking of moments, I had a few favorites in this novel; Bruiser and Jane having loving moments together, Jane and Eli’s connection both emotionally and spiritually, but the moment that struck me the most was a scene where Edmund, now the King of Europe portrays a moment from his past by braiding Jane’s hair before a ceremony. Those two characters have come a long way and their connection in that moment made me tear up, as I’m doing as I write it down in this review as well. To me, that moment brought the two of them full circle. It was fabulous. Thanks Faith, for bringing us with you.
Needless to say, I totally enjoyed this finale. There were more sweet than bitter-sweet moments and I got to see my girl nail the biggest fang-head of them all. It was fabulous!
I came across a review and interview with Faith Hunter where she confirms that this is the last novel and I thought I’d share that review/interview on my blog. I enjoyed it so much. Also, please note an excerpt from the first chapter below the cover picture. Enjoy!
I received a copy of this ARC through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it is honest!
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Like a Stray Animal Haunting Aggie’s Home
Eyes closed, I felt the movement of unexpected cool air as the sweathouse door opened and shut. Last week, I had learned that Aggie One Feather, the Cherokee elder leading me into understanding my personal and tribal history, sometimes left and reentered when I was sweating through a haze of her herbal infusions and my own hidden memories. She said humans couldn’t survive five or six hours in a sweathouse like I could, let alone all night, so she would slip out and back in. I had asked her if she had a nanny camera hidden in the sweathouse to keep track of me. Her reply had made me laugh: “You need a legion of angels to look over you, but a nanny cam could help.” The rustling of her cotton shift, the sound of her breath, and the crackle of flames seemed loud as she settled across the fire from me and fed the coals. I smelled cedar and burning herbs and heard the scritch-grind of her mortar and pestle. Behind my lids it seemed lighter than before. It had to be near dawn.
It occurred to me that the ceremonial fire was, itself, symbolic. It was parts of this world and the next, the two halves of the universe, energy and matter. It was wood and air and energy, and together they made flame and smoke, the destruction of matter into energy. Then that thought wisped away with the fire. Aggie said, “Drink.” I opened my eyes against the crack and burn of dried sweat, and studied the small pottery cup she held. On the third try I managed to croak, “Eye of newt? Ragweed? Mold off your bathroom floor? Peyote?””That never gets old,” she lied, amusement hidden in her gaze. “I have no mold on my bathroom floor.” Which meant the liquid could be composed of the other three. Or not. I took the cup and drained it. The decoction tasted of lemon peel, fennel, wild ginger, something I couldn’t identify, and salt. I turned the empty, handleless cup in my fingers. It wasn’t traditional Cherokee work, but something fired in a modern kiln and given a bright blue glaze.
“What did your dreams show you?” Aggie asked. I handed back the cup and said, “Same as last time. The angel’s location looks a little like my soul home. Walls that curve in toward the ceiling, dark streaks of water on them. Wings that seem to lie flat across the ceiling and down, as if dripping to the floor. Light that comes from nowhere and everywhere. There might have been a puddle of blood on the floor. Hard to tell. But unlike my soul home, I keep seeing people standing along the walls.”
“People or other angels? I frowned at the question. Had there been wings behind the people? “Maybe. Maybe a suggestion of wings, like shadows. Or maybe I just want to have seen that and so I remember it now.”
“Did you see yourself in your dream-state?” If I watched myself, as opposed to being an active part of the dream, that would tell her a lot about whether this was a vision teaching me about myself and my life path, a prophetic dream portending something about the future, or if it had been a memory. I closed my eyes again and pulled at the fragments. The angel’s wings draped, so much larger, longer than in artwork depicting the messenger beings. I heard the faint drip of water, but the echo was different from the usual loud reverberations of my soul home. This place itself was subtly different from previous visions. In the memory of my vision, I saw myself. My hair was braided into a fighting queue and I was dressed in armor, one of the latest models Eli, my brother of choice, bought these days, now that money wasn’t an object. In teaching visions, I usually wore tribal clothing, the kind my father had worn when I was a child. In addition to the armor, at my waist I was wearing the Mughal blade that Bruiser had given me. That was interesting. In the dream-state I did nothing, said nothing, so it probably wasn’t a vision teaching me about who I was or guiding my path through life. Seeing myself meant it wasn’t a memory. The ancient knife itself was part of a prophecy, and I seldom wore it, mostly for ceremonial occasions when the prophecy did me no good. Only rarely had I worn it into battle.When he gave the blade to me, Bruiser had said, “A certain wily salesman suggested that the damascene blade is charged with a spell of life force, to give the wielder the ability to block any opponent’s death cut. Pure balderdash, but it makes a nice tale.” Except that Alex, the tech-genius of Yellowrock Securities and Clan Yellowrock, had traced the blade back to the seventeen hundreds, and there were stories over the centuries about people surviving the death stroke of an opponent’s blade.”Prophecy?” I asked the universe. Or God, if he was listening. Not that anyone answered, not even Aggie. And since I hadn’t looked for the future in rain droplets in months, I might not know what this meant until it was too late. However, if I went searching for the meaning in the future, I probably wouldn’t understand it anyway, and if I saw danger-and I would-I might feel forced to meddle in time. Meddling in time-timewalking, time-jumping- might trigger the return of the magic cancer. All of which was why I hadn’t tried. Seeing the future was like that. Helpful. Until it wasn’t. And then it tried to kill me.
I inhaled and caught a familiar scent. He had to be close because I was human-shaped, and my nose in this form was unspectacular. I cleared my throat again and warned, “Werewolf.”