I received this book for free from Let's Talk! Promotions in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Soulwood #1
Published by ROC on August 2, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
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Set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, an all-new series starring Nell Ingram, who wields powers as old as the earth.
When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.
Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.
Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out.
Faith Hunter is the New York Times bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock series and the Rogue Mage series.
I’ll admit it’s been a while since I read one of Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock books, and I’m certainly at least three or four books behind on the series, so I was a little worried about my ability to dive into the Soulwood series, which launched with Blood of the Earth just this week, given that it’s a spinoff. But while there were lots of mentions of the original series and even a few crossover characters, I needn’t have worried, because I was hooked within a chapter or two of reading it.
What really sold me on this book was the main character, Nell Ingram, who’d left the cult she’d been born into, but stayed right next door so she could be there for her family if she needed them. If that doesn’t spell out strength of character, then I don’t know what does. Because while Nell keeps herself isolated, she still makes very careful, very conscious decisions for herself, and when the choice comes to let people into her life and at the same time help others or to stay out of it and stay safe, she makes the right choice—and a brave one, considering it may mean going against the people she’s known and lived with for most of her life.
Assembled around this superhero of a character (who, by the way, has some sick, sick magic—and I mean that in a good way) is a highly skilled team of fellow badasses. Rick LaFleur I knew from the Jane Yellowrock series, but I feel like I actually would’ve enjoyed being introduced to him for the first time in this book. I’m struggling not to talk about the others here, because I really enjoyed meeting them and if you decide to pick up a copy for yourself (and you should), I hope you enjoy it too. But let me just say that these supporting characters have the promise to carry Nell and the reader through many more books in this series—not that Nell needs it, but I love how she blossoms with their friendship (and more-than-friendship, in one character’s case).
From start to finish, this book is packed with action, with moments of humor and even some observations into human nature thrown in. More, I felt that with everything going on politically and culturally in the world and especially in the United States, people may find this hits a little close to home. Fortunately, love and reason win the day, and the author sneaks in a few surprises that remind us that even though we’re seeing this world through Nell’s eyes, Nell doesn’t always see or know anything, even though she’s remarkably perceptive.
That being said, I can’t wait for book 2, because I think I love Nell even more than I did Jane. So I’m very glad the next release is scheduled within the next few months!
Feel Factor Rating
Soulwood Series Reading Order
The vampire woman, Mrs. Clayton, looked up when I entered the living room and now stopped talking. Her head tilted weirdly, and she seemed to be sniffing the air, her nostrils fluttering like a horse’s did when it sniffed new people, when it was deciding if it was gonna let them close or kick them. Or, in this case, bite them.
“And what is she?” Mrs. Clayton asked, tilting her head to me. “She isn’t human.”
My head shot up. “At least I’m not rude enough to ask,” I said, stung by the question. “Kinda like I wasn’t rude enough to say that your floors feel like dead ’possum.”
“Nell!” the SAC said.
He sounded shocked, but I didn’t look his way, keeping my eyes on the dead thing, who seemed, oddly enough, to be holding in a small smile now, buried beneath heaps of worry and fear, but there. “What do you think I am?” I asked the vampire.
“I have no idea.” Her head tilted again, this time too far, the not-human too far I’d heard vampires could do, which was creepy. “I haven’t smelled a creature like you before. I’d be honored to taste your blood someday,” she smiled at last, “despite your appalling lack of manners.”
I let my scowl deepen, letting her read on my face that drinking my blood was not gonna happen.
Faith is giving away a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card (winner’s choice), and 5 custom key chains. Open to US residents only.