When I read "Dark Heir", the previous book in the Jane Yellowrock series, my only disappointment was that some of the elements that made the earlier books enjoyable were being over-shadowed by Vamp politics and that Jane, in her new Enforcer role, was becoming harder to like.
I started "Shadow Rites" in the hope that I'd get more Jane and more Beast (the Puma soul that she accidentally used black magic to steal when she was a child). I got all that and more.
As usual, Faith Hunter delivers a labyrinthine plot, vivid action scenes, new sets of magical practices and a must-read-the-next-chapter-before-I-sleep momentum. From the opening page, Jane is under attack and the pressure keeps on build as she wades through battle, betrayal and blood.
In addition, Beast finally gets the air-time she deserves, playing a significant role in the plot and also working directly with Jane, even when Beast is Alpha. Angie-babie, Jane's young niece, shows how scarily powerful her witchcraft already is and chooses to take a blood vow that is bound to have consequences later in the series.
Although the plot is about a conflict between witches and vampires, this time the focus is on the emerging "Jane Yellowrock Clan" and extended family that includes the Younger brothers, a family of witches, a werewolf. an indentured vampire and perhaps even an Honorio.
"Shadow Rites" was an entertaining read all the way through.Now I'm looking forward to book 11 of which only the title "Cold Reign" has been announced. I'm hoping it will see the arrival of the European Vamps.