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…
Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ 1/2
So I finally got around to reading Faith Hunter’s newest series, a spinoff of the Jane Yellowrock series. Our hero is Nell Ingram who we first meet in the short story “Off the Grid” when Jane talks her into indirectly helping to save a captured vampire from the leader of the cult that Nell was raised in. From that moment, Nell’s quiet life is forever changed as her actions put her at odds with members of the cult who blame her for the troubles that they suffered because of Jane (leave it bad guys to blame other people when they get caught in their wrongdoings). Now I have to say at this point, I have read all of Faith Hunter’s books and except for the Rogue Mage trilogy, they have all been enjoyable. And honestly I think one of the big problems with the Rogue Mage series is that Ms. Hunter wasn’t putting paranormal elements into the a world that already exists, but creating her own world so wasn’t that good at building the world within the story without boring her readers.
Anyways, the Soulwood series didn’t have that problem. I think they were only two things that bothered me. The first was how it took Nell so long to spread her wings, so to speak, and become part of the world and stop letting her childhood lessons hold her back from really living. She also does not attempt to find out what she is because it’s clear that she’s not quite human and considering she’s no longer living under the cult’s thumbs with its radical Christianity and other crazy cult traditions, she could have done that. Plus we learned in her intro in that short story that she was a woman who was interested in learning, something that was restricted in her childhood because of the cult.
My other problem was concerning the cult and the life that Nell lived previously. I despise cults because they prey on the weak to create horde of brainwashed folks with, excuse my French (why do we blame the French for our foul language?), fucked up ideas about the world. Cults are also mostly patriarchal and use monotheistic patriarchal religions as their hammers to mold people into brainless twits. If you’ve read my profile, you know I’m pagan and thus that makes me more then a bit distrustful of such religions since a large population of their followers have this belief that their religion is best and that people need to be either forced to follow their religion and beliefs or killed off they won’t convert and they are deemed different in an evil way. Now I know all people aren’t like this, and I know some wonderful people who are affiliated with religions that I feel iffy about which is why I haven’t become one of those people who have gone and completely labeled these religious as the sources of all evil, but some of these wonderful people have also played a part in leaving a bad taste in my mouth their faith (I have a college friend who is convinced I’m going to the Christian hell, because I refuse to worship or believe in her god despite the fact that she knows that I’m good person; as a logical person this makes no sense that good people are sent to eternal punishment just because they didn’t join the deity’s fan club). But I’ll get off my soap box and just say that the cult Nell was a part of due to her family is cray-cray, although cray-cray is now evolving into something more tolerable at the end of the book.
In any case, Nell Ingram shares a lot of traits with Jane Yellowrock as they are both two very strong women who enjoy reading and are beginning to learn what they are. So with that said, since it took forever to get around to reading book 1, book 2 is already out so I’m going to see how Nell is developing.
P.S. I smelled a hint of romance between Nell and another character. If anyone reads this book, let me know if you caught the tentative romance blooming.