Book Reviews, Misc, Netgalley

Book Review: Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter

Flame in the Dark returns to the darkly magical realm of Soulwood, pitting Nell Ingram and the PsyLED team against an unknown paranormal with deadly intentions.

A vicious killer out for blood, and a young woman still feeling out her place and purpose in life, cross paths in Faith Hunter’s fast-paced urban fantasy Flame in the Dark.

PsyLED Unit Eghteen is part of a team investigating attacks against Tennessee senator Abrams Tolliver and his family, ones with potential paranormal origins. As the attacks escalate, it becomes clear that there is something terribly wrong. Multiple shootings and fires claim life after life, and the race is on to identify this unknown assailant before the entire family is assassinated.

As if crazy, possibly pyromanic, paranormals weren’t enough, Nell is undergoing changes of her own. Each contact, every healing, with Soulwood draws out her inhuman nature. Not to mention not one, but two potential love interests. Will she give in to family pressure to marry Ben Aden, or explore her new options with wereleopard Occam?

This was my first foray into Faith Hunter’s works. I have several of the Jane Yellowrock books in my TBR mountain though. I’ll get there one day! Hopefully, one day soon. I enjoyed the overall storyline of Flame, but think the enjoyment would have been greater if I’d read the previous two books in the series- Blood of the Earth and Curse on the Land. The writing had a very modern noir feel to it, with hints of X-Files and Grimm.

I love the idea of a paranormal branch of Homeland Security. This book felt like the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series could have been, before being taken over by rampant sex scenes. I enjoyed the worldbuilding. It was certainly a pleasure to see something other than werewolves as a staple. Wolves get old, and cats are so much more intriguing. We don’t see much of the vampires of this world in this book, so I didn’t get too solid a feel for them. I want to know more about the arcenciels, and grindylows! The grindys seem so cute, but clearly they have a function shepherding weres. I look forward to seeing more of Nell’s evolution, as she discovers what she is. My guess- hamadryad. In her gift, and in Soulwood, there is healing, there is peace, and there is the reminder of Nature’s bloody fury and impersonal destruction.

There was a lot in the story that felt more telling than showing, and some things felt over-emphasized. Nell’s past in the church was like that. At times, I felt bludgeoned with it. Part is personal grievance on my part, I know. I tend to get my hackles up with anything remotely Christiany, and this backwards-seeming church pushed all my buttons and then some.

If you enjoy urban/paranormal fantasy and unique preternaturals, you’re sure to enjoy Flame in the Dark!

*** Dos mere to Penguin/ Netgalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review!

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