- Hound by Caleb James
Hound by Caleb JamesHot
Hound, the epic finale to the Haffling trilogy, delves into the darkest reaches of the addictions we all carry. To save the worlds and themselves, Finn, Redmond, and even May must confront the ghosts of their past and the demons of their present. The clock is ticking. There are no second chances. Everything is on the line.
So, it's been a month from the end of book 2 to the start of book 3 and a lot has happened and a lot has been done. Once again, the omnipresent – but mostly dual POV – really helps us get all the pieces put together, without anything important going missing. The need for Marilyn and May's full scene POV's is made clear, while sometimes it's a more subtle need of omnipresent awareness within the dual POV chapters that helps us make sense of what's happening.
The story tackles some very deep issues, as did the previous books – 9/11, sacrifice, suicidal thoughts, drug addiction, depression, loss, unrequited love, and betrayal by loved ones – but it does so with sensitivity, honesty and by making the resolutions as realistic as possible. There is no pity, here, no judgement or pressure for the people to “get over it”, but an acceptance of the issue and a hope that things will change.
Redmond was an interesting character, because we'd heard about him before, but only in the most fleeting sense, and where we knew nothing about who he was or what kind of person he might be. Here, I was amazed at the depth of characterisation that was managed to seamlessly. I shouldn't have been surprised. James has this way of writing that sucks me in and makes me feel like I know all the characters personally. Redmond is no exception. His perceptions during his psychiatric meetings with May were astoundingly brilliant. I loved the way that little bits of the puzzle were let slip, just a little at a time, and in a way that let us figure it out as we went along. I loved the way that he exposed May to the hidden secrets in her memories and explains her two failed attempts to rule the three worlds, without making it sound too perfectly planned out.
I loved Finn, too. I really liked him in the previous book, where he was just a side character, but here he really was something magnificent. The man he is and the Hound he could be really blended seamlessly. At first, I was taken aback by the insta-love aspect of his connection with Redmond, but once things began to unravel, it all made sense. There was nothing to say that the Hound of old truly loved either of the Sisters, nor to say that his spirit/essence is strong enough out drown out who Finn is, at the core. I loved that there was no struggle between the two, just acceptance of the weird and wonderful thing that had happened and that gave Finn the ability to find what he'd always wanted.
While I can't say much more about the plot without giving it away, I will say that it was an emotional rollercoaster. Nimby killed me, Gran was hilarious, Katye and Lizbeta are devious witches, and I feel really sorry for Lance. But, I have a sneaking suspicion that the thing that wasn't written on the page – about Lance's fate and the ending – will mean that Alice might actually get her man, after all. One can only hope.
As I said before, I hate that it's over. But, I wouldn't say no to a spin-off or a revival at any point in the future. And I'll be keeping these on my re-read list for a long time.
“Finn tried to lighten things. “So, what’s today’s adventure? Vampires, werewolves, that Jewish clay monster that avenges the downtrodden?” It felt forced.