This week, I’m trying to fight off Lockdown apathy by escaping into American Urban Fantasy with two of my favourite writers. I’m joining Nell Ingram in Tennessee for Faith Hunter’s fifth ‘Soulwood’ novel and going to Atlanta for the first book in a new spin-off from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews.
I want to relax with books that make me keen to pick them up so that I can find out what will happen next. I’m hoping that I can lose myself in both of them.
‘Spells For The Dead’ by Faith Hunter (2020)
‘Spells For The Dead’ is the fifth book in Faith Hunter’s Soulwood series about Nell Ingram. a young woman, raised in the Clouds of Glory Church, a polygamous sect she has now left. Over the course of the previous four books, Nell has comes to terms with the fact that she is not human, that she has a connection with the sentient woodland she lives on, and that she has a bloodlust that calls for her to feed the land. She’s moved beyond her sheltered background and worked her way to through a period as Probationer with PsyLed to become a Special Agent in a team that is made up entirely of Paranormals.
The Soulwood series is set in the same world as the Jane Yellowrock series but it is more than just a spin-off. It follows its own path and largely steers clear of the Vampire politics that I felt was at one time slowly strangling the Yellowrock books. The energy in these books comes from Nell and the unique view of the world that she brings. She IS dangerous but she’s not a typical kick-ass heroine. Her Church background and her links to her family and her rarer-than-hen’s-teeth Paranormal heritage set her apart from the modern world that she’s working in. She’s not driven by a need for status or power but she will not bend to authority just because it’s authority.
‘Spells For The Dead’ will be the first book where we see Nell as a full member of her team. I’m hoping that she comes fully into her adult self but that she keeps the perspectives that make her unique.
‘Blood Heir’ by Ilona Andrews (2021)
The Kate Daniels books, by the wife and husband team who write under the name Ilona Andrews, has given me a lot of pleasure. The tenth book in the series ‘Magic Triumphs’ was published in 2018. I delayed reading it because I didn’t want the series to be over. Then I learnt that ‘Blood Heir’ was coming out, kicking off a whole new series, with Kate’s adopted daughter as the main character and I decided it was time to see how things turned out for Kate. It was an excellent book and left me even more eager to read ‘Blood Heir’.
‘Blood Heir’ was originally serialised on the Ilona Andrews website but it’s been overhauled, turned into the first book of a new series and released in paperback, ebook and audiobook formats.
I’m hoping for something new, that builds on the Kate Daniels world but gives it a new twist. I want this to be the start of series that I’ll continue to pre-order as each book is announced.
If it’s as good as ‘Iron And Magic’, the last spin-off, I’ll be very happy.