Author: Faith Hunter
Release: February 26th 2019
Received: ARC in exchange for review
Warnings: Animal death, torture, rape
I received a copy of Circle of the Moon in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Circle of the Moon is the latest novel from the Soulwood series. It is also set in the same world as Jane Yellowrock, and this particular novel comes after the events of Dark Queen. If you’re not up to date with Jane’s series, do not read Circle of the Moon unless you want some major spoilers!
Okay, now that I have that part out of the way…on to the rest of my review! I originally fell in love with Faith Hunter’s novels thanks to the Jane Yellowrock series, so it was only natural that I started reading her newer series based in the same world, Soulwood.
I love both series, but for completely different reasons. Okay, not completely different, but you get what I mean. Both give me my fantasy fix, and both are very well written and have exceptionally strong and fascinating characters.
Jane Yellowrock is this tough and amazing person that has gone through so much. And even knowing that she’s going to go through a lot more before her story is done, I can’t help but follow her every adventure. I love that she doesn’t take BS from anyone and that she’s fully capable handling situations on her own – while still preferring to have people in her life.
Nell Ingram is tough in her own ways. She’s gone through just as much, if not more, than Jane, but the molds that built them were completely different. Nell has had to fight tooth and nail for everything that is hers, and she isn’t afraid to speak out for what she thinks is right. She isn’t as physically strong as Jane, but she has other things going for her.
Personally, I love everything about Nell’s ability set. From the apparently unique nature of it to the fact that for the longest time she was a mystery to everyone, including herself. In some ways, she still is a mystery, and that’s so amazing. I love that every novel we learn a bit more about her and the limits to her abilities. More than that though, I just love the way her abilities work, and the aesthetics of them.
Okay, I think I’ve done enough babbling about the reasons why I love this series. Onto the newest novel, Soulwood. Again, I’d like to state that if you’re not up to date in Jane Yellowrock that you should not read this book. It should probably go without saying that you shouldn’t skip the previous Soulwood novels either, but I’m just going to throw that out there too.
Warnings first: If you’ve read any of the previous books in both Soulwood and Jane Yellowrock then you’ll know that Faith Hunter doesn’t pull punches. Sometimes that means that when a horrible person (or creature) is on the move, that means horrible things happen. In this novel, there’s quite a lot of animal death, as well as mentions of rape and torture. None of the latter is seen or experienced firsthand, for what it is worth.
Part of me was a little nervous to begin reading Circle of the Moon. I know that sounds crazy, but bear with me, alright? You know when you love a series so much, and the last book you read in it was so amazing that you just don’t know how the next one could possibly top it? That’s how I was feeling going into this. I imagine I’m not the only one feeling that way, so let me help everyone else out: I had no reason to be anxious or concerned. Circle of the Moon lived up to all my expectations and then some. I’d actually have to say that this is potentially my favorite novel in the series so far.
Circle of the Moon had a lot of ground to cover, courtesy of the conclusion of Flame in the Dark, which had a long of long term consequences for several members of the PsyLED team. I am happy to say that these consequences were not ignored or overlooked. Well, happy in the sense of continuity. Otherwise I just felt bad for certain characters (you know who I’m talking about).
It felt so good going back to the world of Soulwood. I hadn’t realized how much I missed the characters; all of them! It was wonderful to see Nell and Mud again, as well as her whole PsyLED team. There were characters I could have lived without seeing again, but then there wouldn’t have been as much conflict here, so I’m not actually complaining.
Nell was her quirky self, as per usual. I have loved watching her learn her abilities throughout the course of the series. More than that, I love that her abilities have limits and costs. It makes everything she does feel that much more important. Plus, if I’m being honest I just love the plant theme to it all. And little Mud is adorable, as always. I like picturing her as the spunkier mini version of Nell.
It’s funny seeing what characters end up crossing over between the two different series. Speaking of, a new character introduced during Dark Queen made an appearance here. So once again I want to stress reading Dark Queen first, as you will certainly not appreciate his role as much without that important context.
Speaking of characters, if you asked me three or four books ago how I felt about Rick, my answer would be very different from the answer I’d give you today. I don’t think I’ve ever had my feelings for a character shift that dramatically. But the writing supported it; I don’t think I could have felt any way other than how I did.
As for the plot itself…wow. I almost feel like I should leave it at that! But I won’t. The plot was broken down into several different parts, all of which wove in and out and then finally together to create this incredibly intense finale. It was tense, it was brutal at times, it was political and smart at other times, and it was an incredible read throughout. In short, it was exactly what I wanted for this series.
So, in the end, I went from being anxious about starting the novel, to sad about having to finish it. That sounds about right though, doesn’t it? But that’s also the sign of a well-written book, so I will happily pay the emotional toll for it.
I know that Faith Hunter just finished up on the next Jane Yellowrock novel (Shattered Bonds) and that progress is being made for the next Soulwood novel, so hopefully, that knowledge will help me get through the next few months while I wait for news.