"Rift in the Soul" By Faith Hunter

Review by Terrance McArthur

Nell Nicholson Ingram is a plant-lady. She isn’t a plant herself—yet—but she can make plants grow . . . and sometimes kill, but only if the person (or vampire) deserves it. She can reach into the earth and read it, especially if she has a connection to her home, Soulwood. Her unique powers have led to her becoming an agent of Psy-LED (Psychometric Law Enforcement Division), the part of Homeland Security that polices vampires, witches, and other paranormal creatures. Nell’s urban-and-rural fantasy adventures reach their sixth installment in Faith Hunter’s Rift in the Soul.

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Wedding bells are soon to ring for Nell and Occam, her shape-changing cat-man, but work comes first. Nell and Team #18 are called to Knoxville’s home of Ming, the somewhat crazy vampire Master Of the City (MoC) (or is she stranger than usual because vampires have just been given back their souls?) to pick up a dead body (not one of theirs). Nell recognizes the body, an outcast boy from the polygamous sect where she grew up in Tennessee. This launches the Psy-LED team into a search involving the Spanish Inquisition (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!), the Blood Tarot (Don’t play poker with these cards!), demon-infected vampires, arcenciels (rainbow dragons), and a missing Psy-LED associate director.

Back at home, Nell is trying to raise her true-sister away from the sect. Esther, her other true-sister, is divorced, and is raising her twin babies on Soulwood land. Also connected to the land is the Vampire Tree, product of an accident, which has become sentient, manifesting in Nell’s mind as a Green Knight, slowly learning to communicate with her. Nell’s sisters are plant-women, too, gradually developing their own powers.

Ming’s mansion is destroyed by the invading vampires, who want to have the Blood Tarot, rainbow dragons, and Nell’s powers. Nell gets a guardian vampire, (Yvonne, aka “Yummy”), Psy-LED agents patrolling her land, and she has to tell the Green Knight who to suck the life out of and who to allow to roam among the plants un-sucked. On top of that, she is finally told the secret knowledge of her cult’s women: why some young men are sent away, and why some women become plant women, like her.

The Soulwood series is a spin-off of Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock, Vampire Hunter urban fantasy series. It wouldn’t hurt to read that series, too, as a companion to the Soulwood books. The Soulwood series is a good one to read in order, but Rift in the Soul can be easily understood as a stand-alone. Of course, if you read all the books, you’ll have “a real good time”—just saying.

Is this the last book in the series? Some readers and reviewers think it is. Others think it isn’t. Most of them want more of Nell and Psy-LED. I think you will, too.

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Terrance V. Mc Arthur is newly retired as a Librarian in Fresno County, California. He is also a storyteller, puppeteer, magician, and maker of pine needle baskets. On top of that he writes stories that range from rhymed children's tales to splatterpunk horror. He's an odd bird, but he's nice to have around.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


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