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...
I loved Nell in the first book and couldn't wait to see how she would progress now that she's undergone Spook Squad training! There's always been a capable, tough edge to Nell but boy has she needed it. Having escaped a lifestyle that felt more like a cult and less like a church, Nell has weathered many a storm and feels comfortable and at ease with herself. Her magical connection to her land quite literally grounds her but as she returns home, something isn't right.
PsyLED has a new case though so there's no time for Nell to fully understand what's happening at home as strange things start happening in Knox County. What initially appears to be a radioactive leaks pretty soon turns out to be magical workings that are running amok. Something has been created, a dangerous mutation as an experiment runs wild, leaving an ever widening area of death rapidly spreading out. Is it an accident though or a deliberate act and will Nell and PsyLED find a way to contain it in time?
Okay, first and foremost I have to say Curse on the Land is completely different in tone to the previous Blood of the Earth. At times it felt less about Nell and the people in her life and more about magic, how it works and more importantly the consequences. I really enjoyed this story but it didn't seem to have the same 'feels' as the previous book. There is a lot of science in play and I'm not sure all readers will enjoy that. What surprised me most was the sheer depth Ms Hunter brings to light here and at one point I actually found myself doing an Internet search on Sponge Bob! Now that's something I never expected and that's what makes this author's stories so fascinating I think, as you never quite know just where they will take you.
Okay, no spoilers but it would be remiss of me not to mention Nell’s growth as a woman. I'm guessing I'm not alone in wanting to see her a lot less alone than she is. Please note, I didn't say lonely because that's not how she feels to me. Self-contained, yes, and devoted to her family who actually seem to be developing into warmer, much more fleshed out individuals. I never enjoy caricatures so seeing them become less one dimensional really added to this story. Nell isn't the only family member with a certain something extra though so do pay attention!
Speaking of attention, those who enjoy the cheeky Texan, Occam, will be salivating as he starts getting all protective; let the oohing and aching commence! Still, our ' widderwoman ' Nell isn't about to jump into anything, although she has definitely noticed that mighty fine male. Still this wouldn't be a book set in the Jane Yellowrock universe if Rick didn't feature, and boy have his sins come home to roost; but you know what? I'm not entirely sure his punishment fits his crime but I know that's a contentious issue for many.
My final thoughts are Curse on the Land took me on an amazing and very surprising journey as science and biology are not my strong point and yet I was gripped enough to keep reading. I did feel this was very much a middle book and perhaps lacked emotional depth at times. Still it's very impressive and even though I'm not a fan of scientific gobbledygook, I didn't want to put it down. This has been a hard review to write and I kept putting it off but I can honestly say I can't wait to find out what happens next and perhaps discover the truth behind Nell’s abilities.
I was gifted a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.