Before Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she had no one to rely on, finding strength only in in her arcane connection to the dark woods around her. But now she has friends in the newly-formed PsyLED team to keep her grounded—even if being part of the agency responsible for policing paranormals presents dangers of its own…
After training at the PsyLED academy, Nell returns home to her woods to find the land feeling sick and restless. And that sickness is spreading. With the help of her team, under the leadership of agent Rick LaFleur, Nell tries to determine the cause. But nothing can prepare them for the evil that awaits: an entity that feeds on death itself. And it wants more…
Worldbuilding: I loved the world of the PsyLED, their system of cataloging paranormal activity, Nell’s team, plus the Soulwood concept of a living forest and the whole paranormal richness of elements – magic, witches, shifters, all kinds of beings -. Awesome world!
Characters: Though this is #2 in the series, it was my first introduction to Soulwood and Nell. I really liked her. I love the things she loves – her home, good food, spending time in her sanctuary of sorts that is Soulwood, working with her team, being independent, helping her loved ones. Nell is awesome in a very authentic and earthy sort of way, and I loved her for it. She has a curious mind, she’s brave but not foolhardy, she’s invested in doing what needs to be done. I usually love snarkier characters with an edgier attitude, but I loved her too.
Plot: The story was a cool mix of investigative action, mystery, a little bit of a romantic tangent too, action scenes – awesomesauce. I loved the alert but not overly agitated tempo and how all elements were woven together.
Writing: First person, past tense narrative, Nell’s POV. I really liked Nell’s voice and her view on the world is interesting.
Curb Appeal: Very cool cover, hooking blurb – impulsive buy material for my UF cravings.
The one element I disliked is the presence and involvement of the sect – any Bible-thumping sort of vibe is highly irritating to me, so though the Nell’s family in and of itself wasn’t that bad, religious fanaticism just ruins the mood. But this element wasn’t ever-present and when it was it didn’t become as irritating as it definitely could for me personally. I loved Nell’s stand and her view in this regard.
It was easy to feel totally up to date on the series though I started with book #2.
I recommend Curse on the Land to fans of witchy/magic UF, stories involving nature/forests, stories about realistic, down-to-earth characters and agencies/agents.