Blood of the Earth is the first book in the Soulwood series by Faith Hunter.Those that have read the Jane Yellowrock series will have a head start, but newcomers to Hunter's world will be able to catch up quickly.
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.
Blood of the Earth is a happy surprise for me. I have always hear good things about Hunter, but just had not invested the time in reading her other books. I figured with the start of a new series I could jump on in, and I am so glad I did. Nell is a complex character, struggling to stay safe after leaving the religious cult she was raised in. She might have left the compound, but she still struggles with the conventions that creep into her daily life choices. Then there is her unique ability to work with the earth and her connection to the forest. When Rick comes and asks for help her life is disrupted even more and the characters and readers fall down the rabbit hole together. As Nell helps his team search for missing girls she comes to further understand herself, her gifts, and how much of what she knows is actually the truth. The investigation is complicated, as are the dynamics of the cult and Nell’s family. I really enjoyed some of the character interaction and growth, the PsyLED team is a group of characters that I want to know more about and whose interplay (among themselves and with Nell) is nearly perfect. There is plenty of groundwork laid down for more investigations and growth for Nell- and the entire team. I am very interested to see where this leads.
Blood of the Earth is a solid start to a new series, even for those of us that have not read the previous books by Hunter. The characters and story are complex, with plenty of twists and turns to keep those pages turning. The only reason I have not read the Jane Yellowrock series is because I discovered it after it was significantly underway and I did not have time to catch up- now it is has risen up my to be read pile and I will find the time.