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Intensely Focused

I'm not obsessed, I'm just intensely focued.

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SPOILER ALERT!
Skinwalker - Faith Hunter

I thought this book was okay but nothing special. There's very little of the world building that makes Hunter's Rouge Mage books so interesting. The setting is basically present day New Orleans except that there are a lot of vampires and the occasional mage.

Jane is a rare Cherokee Skinwalker, something most people don't know exists, and she'd like to keep it that way. Some supernatural beings, like vampires, have come out, mostly because given today's technology it was getting too difficult to stay hidden. Still, they are newly out and humans are still uneasy. The government has been known to take powerful mages or others into custody, never to be heard from again.

Jane's power allows her to take the shape of any creature whose DNA she can access, usually via a bone or tooth of the animal. At some point she managed to accidentally steal the soul of a panther, so now the panther's consciousness shares her body. She controls the shifting but generally she's a person by day and a panther by night. They can communicate with each other in the shared body, though sometimes the panther uses images instead of words.

Hunter also addresses the issue of mass. When Jane shifts into something smaller or larger than herself, she has to either borrow mass from rocks, or leave some of herself there.

One of my problems is that the concept isn't different enough from werewolves to make it feel like she's adding something new to the genre. And maybe part of my problem is that I generally don't find werewolves all that interesting. Nor do I care very much about the past Jane can't remember.

I figured out who the rouge vampire was pretty early in the book, not through clues but because I've read enough other books and watched enough TV to guess how it would play out, even if I didn't get the other part of the twist. I'm not entirely sure the twist works though. In order to take the place of the vampire, the shifter would have to absorb more than the shape. He'd have to have access to personality and memories as well, and aside from the panther who shares Jane's body, I never got the impression she remembered anything from the dead creature's past or took on their personality except for a limited ability to remember things.

I'll probably try the next book, but only because I'm a fan of Faith Hunter.