Hound is the final piece of Caleb James’ Haffling series and it wraps up this saga quite nicely. While there was much to do in this installment, the author met the task head on and brought about a satisfying and exciting conclusion to the series. Fans of these novels will be overjoyed by the way in which the author brings all the main characters together to fight Queen May. In the end, the way in which the story concluded was quite clever and action packed—albeit a bit bloody to say the least.
The story picks up with May still split in two and on her rampage to find the third haffling—May and Alex’s brother, Adam, and by doing so finally become the ruler of all three worlds, the See (human world), the Unsee (fairy world), and the Mist—a creation of her sister’s doing that keeps the two main worlds apart from each other. Along the way, using her highly addictive fairy dust that is created by the fireballs her second self spits out a will, May has created an army of addicts that would follow her anywhere just to continue to use the dust. We finally learn why May cannot seem to ever achieve her goal of world supremacy and the link is none other than Finn, the firefighter we met who rescued Liam in the second novel.
Finn is critical to the success of beating May due to the secret he is unaware he holds. However, he must first get into the Unsee in order to discover his full potential and that is where he meets Redmond, who is essentially a fairy psychiatrist and runs the center where the insane or broken are housed. Redmond, himself a recovering addict, is now in charge of attempting to heal one half of May—the one that one of her sisters managed to bring to Redmond’s door. However, the risk of falling under the addiction of fairy dust is very real for Edmond, and Finn will be the key to his avoiding a full on relapse. A war is brewing and none will escape May’s deadly thrall unless Finn is able to figure out how to defeat her.
I will admit that this novel began a bit slowly—more so than any of the others and it also introduced a series of new characters that left me reeling a bit. I would have liked there to be a bit of a synopsis of the past installments to help clarify exactly were we were in the saga and to jog the memory. Despite that, once I got my footing in this book, it took off and the action never let up. May was incredibly blood thirsty in this one—needing more and more magic to sustain her due to being split in two. As a result, there was a great deal of her eating other magical creatures with a nonchalance that was a trifle disturbing. But this too made great sense for she was truly the pure embodiment of evil and, as such, should and did strike fear in the hearts of nearly everyone.
Finn and Redmond together made for a lovely romantic side story that was way too swift in forming and much too short in detail. While I understood the need to give us just a smattering of the two of them falling for each other due to the impending battle, I felt that the instant love that sprang up between them was give too little page time for it to make sense. I really wanted a few chapters of them both getting to know each other and allowing their love to evolve—unfortunately that wasn’t in the cards. Instead in less than a day the two fell deeply in love and then the crisis erupted and that was that.
There were a lot of loose ends to tie up in this last book and author Caleb James managed to give them all a satisfying conclusion. While this book truly focused on Finn and Redmond, the other characters, particularly Alex and Alice, were front and present and both got the page time they needed and deserved. All in all Hound was a worthy final chapter and will more than satisfy fans of the Caleb James’ Haffling series.
A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.