Skinwalker: Jane Yellowrock 1 by Faith Hunter
A G+ friend , +Curt Thompson , talked this series up a few weeks back, and so I had to try it out. He did a good job selling it and I'm sold.
Yes, this is yet another action packed vampire and spooky thing series. I'm fine with that -- it's obviously my favorite current genre. And I'm picky -- I've given a lot of different series a try in the last 10 months or so and not everything thrills me.
So, I'm excited by this one. First, a female lead who is NOT drop dead gorgeous, is NOT being chased into the bed of every man (or really any man -- or woman) in the book, and who is NOT made up of simple parts (tragic past, basic flaws, needs curing). Jane Yellowrock is one of the better leads I've run into for a long while (I could make a list of all the ones I've fallen OUT of love with, but I won't.)
Second, she's a person of color -- a Cherokee Native American, specifically. The author seems to be doing a good job on the research and -- as far as I can tell -- is doing a pretty good job honoring the culture she's given her character. I know there are a lot of assorted feelings about cultural appropriation, but I also think writers are writers specifically because they can extend their imaginations into the lives of other people.
Third, the whole first book managed to be great and tense and interesting without any real sex scenes. That's pretty unusual for this particular corner of the genre. Oh, there's steamy sex promised in future books, but just that little break in the tropes was very nice. Hunter does a pretty respectable job bucking tropes, or at least giving them little twists.
So, there are 9 more books and a bunch of short stories in the series. I have them all on my wishlist. I owe Curt a cookie.