Killing Rites (Black Sun’s Daughter #4) by M.L.N. Hanover
Publisher: Pocket Books (Simon & Schuster/Nov. 29th, 2011)
Source: From publisher for review
Black Sun’s Daughter Series
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Jayne Heller has discovered the source of her uncanny powers: something else is living inside her body. She’s possessed. Of all her companions, she can only bring herself to confide in Ex, the former priest. They seek help from his old teacher and the circle of friends he left behind, hoping to cleanse JaynÉ before the parasite in her becomes too powerful.
Ex’s history and a new enemy combine to leave Jayne alone and on the run. Her friends, thinking that the rider with her has taken the reins, try to hunt her down, unaware of the danger they’re putting her in. Jayne must defeat the weight of the past and the murderous intent of another rider, and her only allies are a rogue vampire she once helped free and the nameless thing hiding inside her skin.
REVIEW (please note: this book is #4 in a series, and I try to avoid spoilers, but you never know…)
I love this series. I mean, I really, really love it. Killing Rites is the fourth book in the Black Sun’s Daughter series by M.L.N. Hanover, and if you haven’t read the first three, you may find yourself a bit lost with this one, only because quite a few of the demon terms will not be familiar, and Jayne’s journey up to this point is very important to the events of this book. After the events in Vicious Grace left one of her team injured and Jayne’s heart broken, she sets of with Ex (ex-priest and all kinds of sexy), to hopefully get rid of the little something extra she seems to be carrying with her. This extra would be a “rider” or demon. Usually riders are not something you want, but Jayne’s seems to be a bit unique in that it has saved her life on numerous occasions (which makes sense, since it’s a parasite, and a parasite wouldn’t want to kill its host), it seems to have been with her a LONG time, and eventually, it saves the life of another. Nice side effects of the rider are super human strength and agility, but is it worth the trade-off of possibly losing herself? Ex takes her to his former mentor, in the mountains of Taos, where they hope to get a handle on Jayne’s demon and possibly rid her of it for good. Only, what they discover in the group of priests could change the game permanently.
The Black Sun’s Daughter series is one of the best UF series out there right now, and it’s unfortunate that it hasn’t gotten more attention. M.L.N. Hanover is a pro (he also writes under other names), and he never has a problem taking the books to the next level. Killing Rites focuses on Jayne learning more about her rider, and herself. Make no mistake, though, there’s plenty of action, and there are some particularly awesome scenes involving a demon possessed eight year old girl (she’s got a rider called a Filth Licker, which is exactly what it sounds like *shudder*) who eventually becomes a key part of their mission. There’s also tons of unresolved sexual tension between Ex and Jayne. It’s no secret Ex has a thing for her, and Jayne seems to be coming around to him as well (fingers crossed), especially since she broke up with wet noodle Aubrey in the previous novel. I’m sorry, Aubrey was a nice guy, but he was no Ex. We also get some time with Midian, vampire and one of my favorite characters, and his dog Ozzie, who tends to sort of steal the scene a bit. Killing Rites is told from Jayne’s unique viewpoint, and I felt myself sympathizing with her rider, who rises to the occasion more than once. It also doesn’t hurt that Jayne has her dead Uncle Eric’s vast fortune at her fingertips, especially when she has to go on the run from Ex and the priests and prove that a more malevolent presence than her rider is at work. I read this one in one sitting, seriously, I couldn’t put it down, and if you haven’t discovered it yet, run to your bookstore or download for instant gratification and read them all the way through. You won’t regret it!