I am so happy to be part of the tour for Spells for the Dead. This is one of my favourite Urban Fantasy series and, at book five, I think it just keeps getting better. Please don’t read it out of order – it will make no sense and you will be confused as hell.
SPELLS FOR THE DEAD
Mass Market Paperback | 384 pages | $7.99
Published by Ace | Jul. 28, 2020 | ISBN 978-0399587962
Nell Ingram faces a dark craft known as death magic in the newest pulse-pounding paranormal procedural in the New York Times bestselling Soulwood series.
Nell Ingram is a rookie PsyLed agent, using the powers she can channel from deep within the earth to solve paranormal crimes. Together with her team, she’s taken on the darkest magic and the direst foes. But she’ll need to tap into every ounce of power she has for her newest case.
Nell is called to the Tennessee mansion of a country music star and finds a disturbing scene—dead bodies rapidly decaying before everyone’s eyes. The witch on her team, T. Laine, knows this can only be one thing: death magic, a rare type of craft used to steal life forces. PsyLed needs to find this lethal killer fast. But when a paranormal-hating FBI agent tries to derail the investigation, they find themselves under attack from all sides.
Genre: UF, Paranormal, Violence
Nix GoodReads Shelves: Paranormal, romance, violence, magic, part of a series, First – POV, police, death
Content Warnings: Forced marriage, recollection of rape, violence, abuse, misogyny.
Writing Style: First POV
The plot starts with a Magical case. People seem to be dying through a magically spread contagion. No one can find it, no one can limit its spread, but it feels to Nell like “death and decay”. The deaths start with a famous singer (with a lot of secrets) and so the pressure is on everyone to find the source of it.
It is clearly magical in origin which gives the local PD (who are full of supernatural haters) the opportunity to arrest a local witch. But whilst she is sitting in jail, the disease keeps spreading and people keep slowly rotting to death. Can Psy-LED find the origin before it spreads out of control?
With tensions running high within the team as Firewind tries to both stamp his authority and work out the team dynamics, it’s more important than ever that they pull together to defeat this virus. Especially as the local PD hates Supernatural beings so much they find each step of their investigation thwarted and questioned…
The usual characters all make an appearance (with the exception of Soul) but Rick is away for the majority of the book. The team is led by Firewind and we learn more about him; I am still not a fan. He is far too easy to ask Nell to risk her life and it was clear he was struggling to adjust to the dynamics of a Paranormal team. I don’t know about him yet…
Nell is dealing with a lot of emotions in this book. She starts to process what has gone on at the Church (lot of flashbacks – there are some disturbing ones and CW for talk of abuse of a minor) and also the entire case makes her learn more about her powers, and some of the knowledge disturbs her. I enjoyed watching her realise the responsibilities of having powers. She has never considered that she may be dabbling with forces she knows nothing about; she simply considers them as hers to with as she wishes. Confronted with the fact that they are open to abuse and becoming dark, she realises that she may have to learn more about her plant-magic or become dangerous herself.
Nell and Occam have already taken their relationship to the next stage at the start of this book. They are a couple, with them spending nights together (no on-page sex occurs BTW) and having active roles within each others lives. I do love to read about them … they are so well suited. Both of them are dealing with parts of the relationship in this book and, I have to say, I much preferred one characters struggle to the other.
Occam is struggling with professional/personal boundaries at work. Nell doesn’t want any PDA (unless she is injured and then she is fine with it – she is confusing) and she wants to be in charge of the decisions she makes in terms of her power. All completely reasonable, right? Well, it depends. See, Nell puts herself in unnecessary danger. A LOT. And she expects Occam to just accept that. It didn’t feel right – I am all for people being in charge of their own destinies but, in a relationship, there is an expectation that you don’t hurt the other person by doing reckless and dangerous things. I really felt sorry for Occam as she kept on putting her own life at risk – she didn’t seem to consider his feelings.
Nell is struggling with jealousy and it is completely unreasonable. When I say jealousy, I mean anyone that even looks at Occam gets death stares. Although this is the first “real” relationship Nell has been in, the jealousy felt out of character and petty.
Also featured in this book are Nell’s two sisters. Mud has been living with Nell permanently and, over the course of this book, Ester moves in too after her husband kicks her out for growing leaves. Ester is heavily pregnant which is making her plant magic WILD. I really liked their character development over the course of the book; Mud has to learn that there are boundaries outside of the church and Ester, whilst she is still reeling from being abandoned by her husband and Church whilst pregnant, has to learn to deal with living in a whole new world quickly. There is the added difficulty that she has to face with her developing powers as, not only is she a woman with power, she is about to give birth to child with those powers. I really, really enjoyed this part of the book and cannot wait to see how this develops.
“Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love you to the full moon and back.” His lips twisted wryly. “That right there is a little bit of slightly mangled Shakespeare. I learned it because I know you love his writing. I don’t understand every word , but I understand the meaning. And I never have, and I never will, quote them words to another creature as long as I live”
Yeah, I’ll read this. I shall also get the audio book as I usually do – I like the way it reads 🙂
Faith Hunter is the New York Times and USAToday bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock series, the Soulwood series, and the Rogue Mage series, as well as the author of 16 thrillers under pen the names Gary Hunter and Gwen Hunter. She has 40+ books in print.
Faith collects orchids and animal skulls, loves thunder storms, and writes. She likes to cook soup, bake homemade bread, garden, and run Class III whitewater rivers. She edits the occasional anthology and drinks a lot of tea. Some days she’s a lady. Some days she ain’t.