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“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
― Voltaire

Death's Rival  - Faith Hunter So I've had a nasty migraine lurking all day, getting breathers for an hour or two after i take some drugs. It's my sister's birthday and she kind of insisted on having lasagna, and by 'insisted,' i mean that she threatened to have a temper-tantrum. So I had to run to the grocery store with a pounding headache because she was only in town for ten days. Drugs kick in again and I'm feeling almost human, so I drop off the groceries with my mom, so she could do the truly dirty work of putting the lasagna together while I tried to recover from the headache. I pretended I was laying down to take a nap but instead read Death's Rival. Yes, it was that good.A disease is spreading through the vampires, the first time anyone had heard of vamps getting sick. The illness seems to come with a challenge; accept a new master of the city or die. Jane heads off to Arizona to collect blood samples from the infected and check in on one of Leo's former lovers who is sick. She's attacked. She meets up with the Arizona vamps. She's attacked again. She completes the mission by checking in on Seattle vamps and getting a blood sample from an infected. Then it starts getting convoluted. Jane starts to realize she's overly dependent on her current network of backup, consisting of Derek and the gang, and her hacker, Reach. Someone's been leaking information to the enemy. She works on developing her business and disentangling herself from reliance on the vampires. A smart move that is more in keeping with Jane's initial character development, so I appreciate a return to her core values. It also provided opportunities for entertaining interactions between her and a pair of brothers, one ex-military and one hacker (a little convenient, but I'm okay with it). Events also spark memories for Jane, so she makes several trips to the sweat lodge. Once again, sections with Aggie One Feather shine as Jane continues her journey of understanding her past and accepting her dual nature. Sections with Beast, her cat-soul, were enjoyable. Hunter achieves an unique voice, but has stepped up Beast's thought process and sophistication as she and Jane continue to actively learn from each other.Romance readers beware--there isn't much here but hints and flirts. Since I'm not a romance/paranormal romance reader, I enjoyed the fact that there was very little focus on Jane's romantic relationship(s). A section with Rick that made me felt like I was missing an in-between story, although I've bought all her paper books, as there were underlying issues that I don't remember from the last book.One detraction for me is Jane's reaction to Leo's bite. It was equivalent to rape, but Jane seems to be blase about it. Although angry, she shoulders the blame, believing she asked for it when she claimed he was her scion. Classic blaming-the-victim. While I understand what Hunter is doing, it doesn't make me like it any more.Overall, a good read and a nice step forward in character development. Anything that can grab me despite a headache is something worth reading.