Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There's not many long-running urban fantasy series left nowadays, but this is one of them. I had actually skipped a few of the books after reading the opening volumes, but I decided to dive back in again with this one. I was pleasantly surprised, both with Jane's character growth and the deepening layers of Hunter's world. In the earlier volumes, Jane was very much the "lone wolf"--or "lone skinwalker"--depending on no one but herself and actively shirking responsibility. Needless to say, this tended to get her in more trouble. This fault, and its consequences, are dealt with fully in this book, as Jane learns exactly what happens when she tries to run away from her duty.
Jane's relationship with Beast, her mountain lion second soul, is also a highlight of the series. The two of them are working together more than ever before, and this deepening partnership saves the day on more than one occasion. (Jane also promises to find a mate for Beast and have some kits. That should be interesting.) The vampires and witches in this world are a bit different than the norm, with the former in particular coming in for some fascinating world-building. There are also other magical creatures introduced, including a unique (at least to me) variation on arcangels I want to see more of.
Plot-wise, this is a fast-moving story with real consequences, some of them bad. The characters must face up to what they have done and are doing, and Bruiser (Jane's boyfriend) gets some good scenes along those lines. The ending set things up for a changed characters and world going forward, and definitely reignited my interest in this series.
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