Book Review: Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter

October 26, 2020 Book Reviews 0

Book Review: Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter
Series: ,
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Published by Roc on November 1, 2016
Pages: 349
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also by this author: Blood Trade, Kicking It: These Boots are Made for Stalking, Blood in Her Veins, Mercy Blade, Shadow Rites, Bloodring, Seraphs, Dark Queen, Shattered Bonds, Black Arts, Broken Soul, Dark Heir, Cold Reign, Blood of the Earth, Flame in the Dark

Second in the Soulwood paranormal fantasy series (a spin-off from the Jane Yellowrock series, 10.5) and revolving around Nell Ingram, an unusual, unidentifiable paranormal, based near Knoxville. Tennessee.

If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Soulwood books on my website.

My Take

Whoa, Nell has tech at the house! That girl is falling into even more decadence with that microwave and coffeemaker. And she’s terrified of what anyone else will think of her and her abilities. Yet, her new teammates love her land…and they love watching her reactions to her first tastes of junk food, lol.

All this knowledge comes to us through Hunter’s use of first person protagonist point-of-view from Nell’s perspective. And her character had a great deal of value, from her perspective and life-long observations of the debates in the church that enable her to twist people up who being interrogated. Sneaky girl.

Jeez, people are stupid. An unknown horrible event happens. So what do people do? They take their kids on a picnic to the area. Yeah. That sounds sensible. Not. Kind of like people today who won’t wear masks in public. What in god’s name does it hurt to wear a mask in public?

“Car-wreck rubberneckers had nothing on law enforcement officers wanting to get in on something interesting.”

It’s sad that law enforcement agents have to be new and excited about being on the job to share their information with other agencies.

Hmm, still got cops hung up on size and gender. Brother Ephraim was hung up on gender and his own importance. Now he wants revenge and he’s attached himself to the Vampire Tree.

That Vampire Tree is something else. It’s fascinating and so incredibly creep. It EATS a bulldozer!! Not to worry though, the driver got away.

Nell’s character arc in the series is melding her Church upbringing with the outside world — including dating(!) — and coming to terms with her own magic abilities — including her overwhelming desire for blood and feeding the land, claiming it. Rick’s arc is his inability to shift and the damage it’s doing to his body cells. His character is an odd one. Part of me admires what he’s accomplished as a NOLA undercover detective and doesn’t think he should be “punished” for it, and another part of me has a difficult time approving of his messing around on Jane. Na-huh.

In Blood of the Earth, 1 (9.25), Nell claimed Rick and Paka to save them, now, they and Occam come to hunt on her land every full moon.

Whoa, the resulting truth of the experiment scared the pants off me. A different sort of ethnic cleansing.

This is a story filled with twists and turns, some terrifying, some bewildering with lots and lots of action…some driven by the characters.

If you enjoy the paranormal and cultures in opposition…you’ll love Nell Ingram.

The Story

As much as Nell loves connecting with the outside world, she also misses her land. And it misses her. Yet, it is a connection that helps Nell in this investigation of infected people, circling, dying of mold. Of companies trying to protect their assets while this “plague”, this pandemic, is spreading.

The Characters

Soulwood is…
…Nell’s land (just outside Knoxville), attuned to her very being, protective of her. Special Agent Nell Ingram, a widder-woman and escapee from the church, is self-supporting on her land, although she became a consultant for PsyLED in Blood of the Earth. She’s also got a bellyful of roots — green energies and red blobs. She has three cats: Torquil, Cello, and Jezzie. Nell had been a junior wife to John Ingram, a means of escape for Nell. Leah had been John’s primary wife.

Brother Ephraim is evil and his soul is trapped in Soulwood (Blood of the Earth), a darkness.

Knoxville

PsyLED is…
…the Psychometry Law Enforcement Division of Homeland Security. The training center is known as Spook School. Linda “LaLa” Pierce had been Nell’s mentor. Soul, an arcenciel, is the assistant director and Rick’s mentor.

Unit 18 now has official headquarters in Knoxville. Senior Special Agent Rick LaFleur, Jane’s ex-boyfriend and a werepanther aging fast who is struggling with his inability to shift, is in charge. Paka is a black wereleopard from Gabon who is intimately partnered up with Rick and is the liaison between Gabon and the State Department. Pea is a grindylow tasked with monitoring shapeshifters. JoJo calls herself the token human…she’s also the unit’s IT specialist, a retired hacker known as Diamond Drill. T. Laine is the moon witch with strong earth magic. Thom “Tandy” Andrew Dyson, his skin decorated with those permanent Lichtenberg lines, is the empath and a walking lie detector. Occam is a wereleopard very interested in Nell.

Ms Marsters, a.k.a. Q, hates her James Bond nickname.

Agent Karen Lynne is FBI and CSI; Agent Amanda Gray is her partner. Special Agent Kevin Riley is FBI and agrees with Nell that the yard is just as important. The FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge is Penny Francoeur.

KEMA is the Knoxville Emergency Management Agency. The Clinton Engineer Works later became known as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory where fuel for the atomic bombs of WWII was made. Secret City is a set of government and military complexes around Knoxville.

Lieutenant Colonel Leann Rettell is an assistant to General David Schlumberger, and she’s a doctor with ties to CDC as well as in charge of the general’s medical team.

Deputy Sheriff May Ree Hollar is the daughter of Carla who got away from the church in the middle of the night. Deputy Chris Skeeter is Hollar’s partner.

God’s Cloud of Glory Church is…
…a cult that promotes polygamy, concubinage, and that men are superior. Colonel Jackson had been the previous leader who’d demanded that the twelve-year-old Nell marry him. Sister Erasmus is respected by Daddy and John and makes a rare sweet wine; she and Mama Coral have been selected as deaconesses in charge of women and their complaints. Sister Mary is Erasmus’ sister-wife, and she has the gout. The Perkinses have a small front end loader.

The Nicholsons are Nell’s family with Micaiah her father. Mama Cora is Nell’s mother; Mama Carmel and Mama Grace are Cora’s sister-wives. Sam is Nell’s full-brother and recently married to SaraBell. His favorite hunting dog, Chrystal, died of cancer (between books). Tally had been one of Chrystal’s descendants and was eaten by the tree. More siblings include Mindy, a.k.a. Mud, who has Nell’s gift too and Priscilla “Priss”.

The Vampire Tree used to be an oak. Now it’s sentient and likes blood.

The Witches
Taryn Lee Faust with her earth magics is of the Lee witches and is the coven leader in Knoxville. Irene Rosencrantz came from a family of witches who were incredibly powerful. Lidia is Irene’s sister. Theresa Anderson-Kenter is a water witch of the Anderson line, Suzanne Richardson-White is an air witch of the Richardsons, Barbara Traywick Hasebe is a powerful moon witch and is of the Traywick line. Each line had migrated to America after World War II.

The Victims
Lisa Langston-Smith is one lucky baby. Dougie Howell is the mother (her daughter’s name was Alisha Henri) and grandmother of Kirsten Harrell (Sally Clements is her partner) and Sharon Sayegh (Adam Sayegh is her husband) and the grandmother-in-law of two others.

LuseCo has government contracts and is testing part of the collider theory. Kurt Daluege is the principal owner and CEO. (His grandfather had been an SS officer.) Makayla Lin is the CFO. Daveed Petulengo is the COO on leave in the Alps. Brad Maxwell is not Mr Lawyer Man! Colleen Shee MacDonald of the Shee line is a witch in hiding. Aleta Turner is a specialist in particle physics. Wendy Cornwall is Aleta’s mother; Rivera Cornwall is Aleta’s aunt, a twin to Wendy. All three are witches who can trace their ancestry back to Salem.

The Johnson Space Center is where Harold White and his team were making faster headway on a quantum vacuum plasma thruster. Kamines Future Products is another competitor.

The Party of African Weres (PAW) and the International Association of Weres (IAW) is led by Raymond Micheika, a rare African were-lion, the were-ambassador to the US. Kemnebi is the husband of Safia, the woman who bit and turned Rick, who was herself killed by a grindylow.

A sleeper is an Old One, very, very old and a very, very, very dangerous magical intelligence buried deeply in the earth. The dancer is Infinitio. The Human Speakers of Truth appeared in Blood of the Earth.

Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker, is a rogue-vampire hunter who’s become the Enforcer for the Master of the City of New Orleans. She’s also a sort of friend of Nell’s. Psysitropes are the energy particles used during magic activities by paranormals. The Director-in-Charge of the Knoxville FBI office, Thomas Benton IV, had been a Welsh gwyllgi (dogs of darkness that were the evil in Blood of the Earth). An RED is a radiological exposure device, a weapon of mass destruction containing radioactive material. An MED is a magical version. Working is the proper name for what we mundanes would call a spell. Infinitio has the potential to be a revolutionary energy source. Unendlich might lead to weaponization of workings. An arcenciel is a rainbow dragon.

The Cover and Title

The background of the cover starts with black and quickly moves into a bright blue in the author’s name at the top, the left border of black pointed ellipses, and the river-like swirl circling the long-haired Nell who is dressed in a deep blue tank top (like Nell would wear something like this!) and a light brown skirt. Lime green provides an accent swirl in the water and forms a ground, a bank if you will, with an abstract of trees behind that. The rest of the text is in white from the info blurb just below the author’s name, the larger title above Nell’s head, the series information to the right of Nell, and the testimonial at the very bottom.

The title is what’s killing so many, the Curse on the Land.

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