Series: Soulwood #1
Published by Ace on August 2, 2016
Amazon | Goodreads
Also by this author: Mercy Blade, Circle of the Moon, Skinwalker, Blood Cross, Flame in the Dark, Raven Cursed
Also in this series: Circle of the Moon, Flame in the Dark
In this series set in the same world as the Jane Yellowrock novels, New York Times bestselling author Faith Hunter introduces 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...
When I started Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter my excitement spiked because I knew with a Faith Hunter story I would get a great dose of fantasy and suspense. What I didn’t expect, though, was to end up only liking two characters out of Blood of the Earth and struggling to get through the beginning portion. Now, when I hit the 60% mark and worked my way to the end, Blood of the Earth was definitely a winner.
The struggle I had with the beginning of Blood of the Earth stemmed from a disconnect I had with the reason behind it spinning off from the Jane Yellowrock series. At the mention of a particular mission that Jane needed Nell’s help with, the urge to stop reading and continue the Jane Yellowrock series became strong (I feel that Blood of the Earth shouldn’t and can’t be read as a standalone unless you’ve caught up in the Jane Yellowrock series). Another thing, I remember Rick from Skinwalker and Blood Cross, but the state he’s in here in Blood of the Earth also had me wanting to continue on in the Jane Yellowrock series; I kept asking myself what chain of events happened that made him the man he was in Blood of the Earth.
The first half and a tenth of Blood of the Earth was full of world building, but it was also filled with the prejudice and disrespect Rick and some of his bosses treated Nell with simply because of her ties, or lack there of, with the polygamist church she grew up in. Even though she had a hard time stepping away from their teachings she was nothing but straightforward and respectful to all that she encountered.
There wasn’t really a main male character in Blood of the Earth because Rick was sometimes not the top male in charge even though he was the head of the PsyLED unit that came seeking Nell’s help. Occam, a were-leopard and a member of the PsyLED unit, helped make Blood of the Earth more a story I couldn’t tear my eyes from reading. His devotion and willingness to be all that Nell needed to get through the challenges this mission created really endeared me to him. For the fact that he had no problem going toe to toe with Rick on behalf of Nell really showed me and Nell that he’s someone trustworthy when everything around Nell was so iffy and uncertain.
With all that said, the story of Blood of the Earth in the end worked out for me. Nell’s character was so interesting to me that I couldn’t give up on Blood of the Earth. She’s a fighter and she got dealt a crappy hand so I really wanted her to get answers, a sense of purpose, and justice for all she’d been through.
Seriously, that 60% to the end definitely made the eye-rolling irritation I felt towards Rick during more than the first half of the story worthwhile. I hope in the next installment that Nell starts to get answers to what she actually is and how she can remove the taint that Brother Ephraim placed in her woods.
As I’m writing this review I’m debating on whether I would’ve connected more with Blood of the Earth if I had listened to it on audio rather than reading it myself? But, I don’t think that I would’ve. The audio, in my opinion, would do nothing but make me like certain scenes more than I did with the voice dramatization and production.
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter is simply a story that shouldn’t be missed even though I had some challenges with it. I would recommend, though, catching up in the Jane Yellowrock series first.