Hound and Key by Rhiannon Held

I’m just a little conflicted about Hound and Key. On the one hand, I really like the story, the characters, and the idea on which the book is based. On the other hand, I struggled a bit with the writing, and I can’t exactly articulate why.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hound and KeyTitle: Hound and Key
Author: Rhiannon Held
Series: stand alone
Publish Date: September 6, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s DescriptionKey has lived her entire life in captivity, forced to use her magic to kill the enemies of Ariadne, an ageless woman with powerful magic of her own. Key knows she and Ariadne are both members of the Hand of the Gods, five souls reborn through the ages, but Key remembers none of her past lives. She chafes against Ariadne’s control, and longs to escape to lead a life of her own.

Eric has worked for Ariadne for years in ignorance of her secrets, but now coincidences and bad luck are piling up. When he talks his way into the compound that houses Key and the other members of the Hand, he learns the truth about Ariadne’s magic—and the murders she’s committed with it. Together, Eric and Key escape and set out to find Lantern, the one member of the Hand Ariadne has never managed to capture—and who may know how to stop her for good.

Possible spoilers beyond this point


Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

The foundation of Hound and Key is a legend or fairy tale that has appeared many times over the years in many cultures. The author demonstrates this by “citing” snippets of the tale at the beginning of each chapter. Each snippet is from a different time period and culture, with the exception of a few at the beginning. The legend is about the Hand of the Gods, five creatures, or Powers, created by the gods to find the Youngest God, who has gotten herself lost. Each Power has a special ability, such as unlocking doors, tracking, using maps to locate someone, etc.

I love this world building.  It’s unique in the world of UF, at least to me. I like the way the Powers pass to others, and how they all relate back to the legend.  I like the way the antagonist is portrayed and her motivations. I like the protagonists — Eric and Key. There is a ton of good, interesting stuff in this world that I really enjoy.

But for some reason, I struggled with the writing.  Not that the writing was bad at all, just that it didn’t click with me, maybe?  I think a leisure book should lead the reader through the story, like following a series of bread crumbs. I lost the trail a few times, and had to back up and reread to make sure I understood where the story was going.  There were a few times I didn’t understand why a character choose a particular action, or when I thought a big part of the story was introduced without the emphasis and fanfare it really needed. And it seemed there was a lot in this story that either wasn’t necessary (especially if this really is a stand-alone and not a series) or not really explained. It was all interesting stuff, but I wasn’t sure how it related to the big picture.

badge3v4Overall, there was nothing I *disliked* in this book, but I really wanted to connect with it more than I did. The world and ideas and characters are excellent and I’d really like to read more if I could just click better with the writing. I think there is plenty of material for a series, should the author wish to pursue it, and I’d be eager to learn more about this world.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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About Invested Ivana

I'm currently a freelance line editor, a book blogger at One Book Two, and lifetime reader. I like geeky things. All opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Red Adept Editing or any of my clients, the other reviewers on this site, or this site as a whole.

Posted on September 12, 2016, in 3-Okay, Invested Ivana, Review, Urban Fantasy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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