A wood-fairyish-woman who knows how to use a shotgun gets sucked into consulting for a paranormal investigative unit full of WERECATS and other non-humans. Um. YESTHANKYOUFORTHIS.
BLOOD OF THE EARTH
by Faith Hunter
Roc Books, August 2016
Rated: 4/5 cookies
e-ARC provided by NetGalley (thank you!)
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…
I’m pretty sure the book jacket summary is going to change a wee bit, because I don’t even remember any vampire being called the Blood Master of Nashville. I mean, the premise itself remains the same, but the plot itself may have been altered just a bit. So I’m going to go ahead and add a small-ish summary below:
After Nell encounters Jane Yellowrock, she is referred to PsyLED, a paranormal investigative unit with a case that takes them to Nell’s backyard. Turns out they’re looking for an organization that’s been kidnapping young women, and PsyLED thinks the organization may be hiding out in Nell’s old cult–God’s Cloud of Glory Church. Problem is, Nell has since separated from said cult, only to realize that in order for her to get the information PsyLED wants, she will have to go back inside the cult’s walls.
But this time, not without help. PsyLED is not only an investigative unit for paranormals, it IS a unit of paranormals, filled with werecats and other non-human magical beings. As a temporary recruit of PsyLED, Nell also holds a power, something that ties her deeply into her Soulwood property.
A Barrelful of Werecats
I vaguely remember adding a Jane Yellowrock novel onto my TBR last year, though it took me a while to actually connect the two (I remembered the Jane Yellowrock novel to be called Skinwalker, which is probably why it hadn’t occurred to me that the two books took place in the same world). When I read the summary for this book, my interest was certainly piqued. I’ve been looking for another urban fantasy series–and author–to get into, because I’ve had such a good experience with them since my entry into the Mercy Thompson universe. I do know some of my friends have been recommending a few other urban fantasies, and they ARE on my TBR, but I saw Blood of the Earth on NetGalley and figured: “Hey, maybe I’ll go ahead and start here!”
So that all said, this book.
It has an ex-cult woman who can use a shotgun. Meet Nell Nicholson, a girl in her twenties who, until recently, was part of God’s Cloud of Glory, a religious cult in the heart of Tennessee. Because of Jane Yellowrock, her life pretty much changes in the span of weeks, and after a raid conducted by both Jane and PsyLED in the previous months, her old church has been more adamant in trying to bring her back to the flock. But Nell isn’t a lassie to be reckoned with, because she has a power of her own, and it is rooted deep into the heart of her woods, Soulwood. She will not go without a struggle, and honestly, she’s not exactly hesitant with shooting someone if she has to.
It has werecats. I must have mentioned this a few times now, but only because I LIKE CATS, OKAY? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to read another book on sexy alpha werewolves, but sexy alpha werecats? YESPLS! The first introduction to werecats come with Rick and Paka, and while I wasn’t exactly loving either one, I thought this shapeshifting skill was absolutely cool. Paka as an African were-leopard was even BETTER. And then Occam comes along and I was sold. I was so done. Hem hem. I am totally not in the midst of fangirling at all (but I mean…he’s got a Texan accent. And he’s a werecat. And he’s a GENTLEMAN).
It has a pretty disturbing set of crimes. Honestly, it was hard NOT rooting for the good guys, because when the bad guys get bad, they are really effing despicable. When it finally got to the action-packed scary bits, the story was hard to put down, and I really wanted to know what happened next.
It has an eclectic cast of characters. Some of whom were likable, others are so-so. It being a first book of the Soulwood series, there’s not much character development in Nell’s team, other than Nell herself, obviously. I mean, I suppose if I’d read the Jane Yellowrock series I might have more perspective about Rick, but from what I read, I wasn’t too big of a fan. He was too much of a stickler for me. I wished there was more on T. Laine and JoJo, and Tandy’s power is pretty cool, all things considered. The most I saw of the team, however, was definitely when the werecats went out and got useful. Meaning Paka and Occam primarily…
It is a promising beginning to the series. Honestly, I’d read the next one after this. I would also read the Jane Yellowrock books ASAP, too, because the world and its creatures just sound so interesting!
4 out of 5 cookies!