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 #2
Published by ROC on November 1, 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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Set in the same world as Faith Hunter’s New York Timesbestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, the second Soulwood novel tells the story of a woman whose power comes from deep within the earth...
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...
After reviewing book 1 of Faith Hunter’s Soulwood series, Blood of the Earth, I was seriously pumped for book 2, Curse on the Land, and I was delighted to find that rather than disappointing, the sophomore read in this series had me wanting to punch my fist in the air. It’s a great second novel, and it’s so well-developed and complete that even though it references events from the previous book, this would work well as an introduction to the series.
The biggest part of this book’s butt-kicking experience is the main character, Nell Ingram, who has just graduated from “Spook School” and joined PsyLED, which seems kind of like an agency you’d see as the next step from The X-Files. Except instead of Moulder and Scully, you get several teams of people trained in paranormal detection; in fact, in the case of Nell’s unit, you get a bunch of people who happen to be as psy as the crimes they investigate.
Nell from book 1 was only just coming out from under the cloud of abuse and indoctrination from her life as a member of a polygamous patriarchal cult, with many of the hangups you can imagine despite showing she had a spine, a smart mind and mouth when she used them, and gumption and heart to spare. But now we see Nell with a firmer idea of who she is in the world and what she can do. And while roots literally and figuratively keep her attached to the cult she grew up in, she is still very much her own woman and demands that she be accepted as such. The sheer growth of this character from when we met her in the first chapter in book 1 until the point where she proves her worth in this book is to be admired, and it makes me wonder what she’s going to take on next.
Of course, this is something you’d appreciate if you’ve read the first book, but as mentioned, I don’t feel that’s necessary to gain a general enjoyment of this read, which is packed with action and intrigue on several levels and more than one plot line, but which also offers up great goofy moments and sweet ones as well. I just mean that there might be more emotional investment from someone who reads both books.
Still present in this book are all of the supporting characters we met in book 1. Nell’s team are as lovably complicated as ever, and their individuality and their cohesiveness shines through even when some of them go off the reservation and others find themselves in a moral quandary. I have a lot of emotional investment in quite a few of the characters in this book, and I can’t wait to see where their inner demons land them in the coming novels.
But characters’ inner demons aren’t even the major bit of intrigue in this novel. Nell and her team come up against a problem that is as much scientific as it is mystical, historical as it is contemporary. Certain clues trace back to World War II, but the urgency of the situation, which threatens to go nuclear, keeps everyone busy in the here-and-now as well, as far as this book is concerned. As a fan of movies like Contagion, World War Z, Train to Busan, and more, I can say this book will have you horrified but also trigger a lot of nerdgasming.
So if you’re a fan of urban fantasy, Curse on the Land is a must-read, ideally following a book-binge read of the first Soulwood novel. I find I cannot wait for book 3, whenever it’s coming out. Soon, I hope!
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Get a chance to win one of the following by joining the raffle below: 5 copies of Curse on the Land, 2 sets of the Soulwood novels (Blood of the Earth and Curse on the Land), and a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.