Synopsis and Details:
Before Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she had no one to rely on, finding strength only in in her arcane connection to the dark woods around her. But now she has friends in the newly-formed PsyLED team to keep her grounded—even if being part of the agency responsible for policing paranormals presents dangers of its own…
After training at the PsyLED academy, Nell returns home to her woods to find the land feeling sick and restless. And that sickness is spreading. With the help of her team, under the leadership of agent Rick LaFleur, Nell tries to determine the cause. But nothing can prepare them for the evil that awaits: an entity that feeds on death itself. And it wants more…
Series: Soulwood #2 | Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal | Release Date: November 01, 2016 | Publisher: Roc | Pages: 328 | ISBN: 978-0451473325 | ASIN: B01BK0XCAI | Format: ARC | Source: Netgalley
Review with Rating:
Masterful storytelling that is rich and saturated with detail! Nell Ingram is back and I am loving the growth of this character! After graduating from the training center for the Psychometry Law Enforcement Division of Homeland Security (PsyLED), also known as spook school, Nell has joined PsyLED Unit Eighteen as an agent, albeit a probationary one, until she has reached one year of service. Back are JoJo, Occam, Rick, Paka, Tandy, T. Laine and Pea. I love this team! There is great comradery within this unit and despite her inexperience they treat her as an equal.
This not the Nell from Blood of the Earth! This Nell is growing in her confidence, wearing make-up, modern clothes and has even upgraded to a few modern conveniences. Although she does have times of self-doubt she strives to become the woman she wishes herself to be. She also has a better understanding of her magic and has accepted herself for what she is, something other than human. She is also wary because as she becomes more aware of her powers she starts to feel a “bloodlust” that is difficult to control.
“This was my magic, simple and dark as it was: to read the land that I had claimed, and that had claimed me, to know what it needed. To heal it and be healed by it. And to feed the earth- though I seldom spoke of that part of my gift, that part felt so good, yet was sinful by every human standard I knew.”
In that first installment there was the issue of Brother Ephraim’s essence squatting in her land after he was killed. In this installment this is an ongoing dilemma that Nell is trying to deal with herself but it does not stay private Soulwood business for long. I loved that this thread continues from the previous book and that her family members are also brought into this story.
“Occam lowered his head and nuzzled my jaw. Rubbing the silky soft pelt that covered the bones of his skull and his coarse whiskers over my face. Rubbing hard against my cheeks and jaws, neck and collarbones. He’s scent-marking me. He’s claiming me. Like a house cat. Or like a kill.”
Throughout the story I have loved the development between Occam and Nell. It is nothing overt but more of a covert protectiveness that slowly grows during the progress of the story. Nell is confused as she is starting to notice things about Occam and his masculinity. She tries to squash any thoughts of him that are beyond professional but I love that she is finally becoming aware of things outside of her farm and the God’s Cloud Compound.
What might some have issues with? Holy mama on the acronyms and information. In the beginning I felt like I was reading a manual of PsyLED terms. It is really packed with information but it was necessary as those terms were used throughout the story. Just made me a bit crossed eyed in the beginning. There is also the scientific angle on the magical disaster that Unit Eighteen finds themselves facing. It is very dense with information but it makes for a very exciting story that you can really sink your teeth into. I feel that that this is a lovely installment in the Soulwood Series! I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys urban fantasies with a twist.
*Thank you to Berkley Publishing & NetGalley for this eARC of Curse on the Land*
This review is based on a complimentary book I received. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
Excerpt from Curse on the Land:
And though it was impossible this far below the surface of the ground, I heard a voice, a human voice speaking in the cadence of a witch working. Flows, flows, flows. Pools, pools, pools. Gone, gone, gone, it sang, the cadence like the words to a spell.
The silken shadow-and-light was trying to . . . merge with me. To capture me. I grunted at the realization, and jerked. Trying to get away. But it had trapped me.
I heard the sounds of my own fear, moaning. “Eh, eh, eh, eh, eh,” with each gasping breath.
In some part of my mind I felt something. I heard slaps, brutal and fierce. I felt pain. Over and over. And then the resonance of my moans in my chest. The hoarseness of my breath. The thundering of my heart, as if I were sprinting, hard and fast, to outrace death itself.
“Nell! Fight! Fight this! I’m cutting you free. Fight!” I knew that voice. Occam. He had cut me from the earth once before. I felt things snap and writhe around me. Stinging. Biting. And pulling away in fury. A blast hit my heart. It sped, arhythmic. Too many thumps in the incorrect order.
🖋 ❤️ ✒️
About the Author:
Faith Hunter is the award-winning New York Timesand USAToday bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock, Soulwood, Rogue Mage, and Junkyard Cats series. In addition, she has edited several anthologies and co-authored the Rogue Mage RPG. She is the coauthor and author of 16 thrillers under pen names Gary Hunter and Gwen Hunter. Altogether she has 40+ books and dozens of short stories in print and is juggling multiple projects.
She sold her first book in 1989 and hasn’t stopped writing since.