Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, Book 1) by Faith Hunter

This is a fantastic book -- even better than Hunter's Rogue Mage series, if you're familiar with her previous work.

Jane Yellowrock stands apart from all others. With a mysterious background that even she can't fully remember, she struggles to discover who -- and what -- she really is. Because Jane has a secret that only her closest friends know . . . she is a skinwalker, a living legend who can take on animal forms. Putting her unique abilities to use, Jane hires herself out as a rogue vampire hunter. And, yes, she's very, very good. But Jane's newest case just may do her in because, this time, she's working for the enemy.

Full of action, Skinwalker keeps you revved up from cover to cover, and the writing is absolutely superb. Each scene comes across vividly in a way that transports you into the middle of the story. You'll have no problem envisioning this world or the people who fill it.

Speaking of, the characters are easily the best aspect of this book. From the main protagonist down to the supporting characters -- even the one's that don't live very long -- all are wonderfully developed and interesting, like mini stories within the story. Perhaps the most interesting character you'll encounter is Beast, Jane's feline alter ego. The intertwining of human and animal personalities is perfectly done, here, illustrating a dual-consciousness that sets the tone for every experience Jane has.

I had a lot of fun reading this book, obviously, especially since it offered up a bit of everything I could hope for in a novel: a sense of adventure, complex characters, a cleverly developed mythology, even some romantic suspense. And, of course, my personal weakness -- attractively arrogant vampires with violent tempers.

In the interest of a well-rounded review, I will admit that the first few chapters were slow to grab me, but at one point I was suddenly hooked and couldn't put the book down until I had read the very last word. I will definitely read this rest of this series.

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