I’ve burnt out on several Young Adult titles in the last two weeks only to come to one, agonizing truth – I am not in the mood for YA right now. This is obvious by the fact that I picked up Killing Rites by M.L.N. Hanover and finished it in two days time. Hopefully this trend will stick for a few books… I’ve given up on too many recently, and the damn pile looms.
However, Killing Rites was pretty fabulous. Not perfect, but entertaining and smart.
Killing Rites is the fourth book in Hanover’s Black Sun’s Daughter series and for the first time we get to discover what that ominous phrase actually means. Jayné Heller has been working against the wizards of the Invisible College since the death of her Uncle Eric. She finds herself to be an heiress, inheriting Eric’s fortune and vast empire. She also has mysterious powers and we finally get to learn the source of them. Jayné has a rider living in her body that threatens to take over. Sacrificing her relationships with her friends she flees with Ex, a disgraced priest, to his former home. The hope is that Ex’s colleagues can exorcise her. However, when the attempt is made a shocking new secret comes out that changes everything.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of Vicious Grace, the previous book in the series. However, I was not willing to give up on these books and I very grateful I stayed. This entire series has always been about the dynamics of the characters more than the plot and it continues with this episode. The things that happen to the principles in this book are devastating. This is clearly the turning point for many of them. What I found most intriguing was putting Jayné into a scenario that tests her beliefs, or lack thereof. When she went to college she left her strict religious upbringing. She also lost her faith in God and despite constantly being up against magicians and demons Jayné has remained unshakable in her resolve. Centering her in a group of religious men really throws a twist into her emotional development. Hanover also skillfully undermines the faith of the men involved in the face of moral convictions, and how we can be wrong even if we believe… even if we think we are making the right choices. There were many profound moments in this book.
Besides that the action is killer. Hanover loves his fights, and you can tell. While I’m talking up the philosophies and the pathos of the characters Jayné is kicking ass and taking names later. So it’s clear that there’s something for everyone.
I’m very pleased with Hanover for drawing me back into this world and I look forward to the next book. For Killing Rites – 4 put of 5 stars.