Killing Rites by M.L.N. Hanover is the fourth book in The Black Sun's Daughter urban fantasy series. For those of us that have been reading this series, Killing Rites is a goldmine; of information that is. Finally we get some answers that are much deserved!
Jayné Heller realized at the end of Book 3, Vicious Grace, that her body is not her own and that there is a rider, or demon, living inside her. Jayné wants to get of the rider and recruits her friend Ex, a former priest, to help her banish it. Jayné and Ex head to New Mexico to meet a secret sect of demon fighting priests that should be able to drive the rider out of Jayné’s body. Ex used to be a member of this priesthood before he left under mysterious conditions.
I have to say that I enjoyed the world building and location of this book. Hanover’s descriptions of the environment are often breathtaking and I often felt that I was on the mountain with Jayné or in the adobe church. As far as the characters, Jayné is a likable character who's dealt with a whole lot of crap loaded onto her since the series’ inception. She has been a solid and central character, however; the supporting cast is where I think the series creates its greatest interest.
Killing Rites narrows down that great supporting cast, and in my opinion suffers from their missing presence. However, if Hanover’s goal was to deepen the relationship between Ex and Jayné, that does happen. In the previous books, their relationship has never been one of the stronger ones; but there has been sexual tension and that attraction is only more intense by the end of the book. I can’t wait to see what happens next for Ex and Jayné.
The pacing of the book was a bit slow for about the first half of the book. There are a lot of discussions between Ex and Jayné and the priests, while they search out information on the rider. The second half of the book picks up, as the action to banish the rider heats up. Since I don’t want to give away any spoilers, I can only tell you that if you have wanted answers in this series, then read quickly because this is where the good part begins.
Killing Rites is a true urban fantasy; if you are looking for romance that this is not a series for you. For you UF junkies, if The Black Sun’s Daughter has not been on your reading list, I suggest you add it to the pile.