I read the first book in this series, Spiral Hunt, last year, and I liked the story enough to get Wild Hunt when it came out this year.
The Premise: This is an urban fantasy series set in Boston, where the protagonist is Genevieve (Evie) Scelan, a bike messenger who also has a side business finding things for people with her highly advanced sense of smell. A sense of smell that is a genetic gift from a famous ancestor, which is the reason for her nickname – Hound. In this installment of the series, Evie is called in for a special last request for a customer, and finds out about a foul family artifact and an ill-fated expedition to Boston. Another customer asks her to find out about some objects that their ancestor stole. As Evie tries to do her job, she discovers more connections between the two jobs, and strange goings on in the city, like a call to Hunt which Evie can’t help responding to.
My Thoughts: The main character in this series is a working class girl with a little bit of power and a lot of responsibility. She knows some things about magic but it’s what she’s learned on the street, and it’s not very much. She has a small group of friends, who make reappearances from the first book – Rena the cop, her friend Sarah, and Nate, a graduate student raising his younger sister. You need to read this book after reading the first book in the series, otherwise you will probably be very confused about what’s going on. I had some trouble remembering things myself, which made me wish I had the first book to flip through, but I remembered the ending at least which is referenced a lot in Wild Hunt.
In this book there isn’t really a clear objective for the protagonist other than to try to do a job or two and to do the right thing. We follow Evie in her day-to-day work, and like Evie, we know something is going on, but we don’t have an idea of the big picture until three quarters of the book is done. This is a urban fantasy where the heroine does a lot of catching up: she isn’t really investigating anything in particular, just doing a couple of jobs for customers and stumbling onto odd things, but eventually discovers connections. Despite being considered one of the big guys in Boston after her role in the last dust-up, Evie is fairly unschooled in magic. The other characters expect her to know more than she does, and then berate her when she shows her ignorance. This was an irritating thing for me – I’m not sure where people expect Evie to have gained this knowledge, and I’m not fond of this device. Fortunately for Evie, her tenacity counts for something, and she comes out stronger than before. It’s done without fanfare and a lot of work, but I think that through no plan of hers, Evie gets more knowledge and power each time she has one of her adventures.
One of the things I enjoy about this series is that the author integrates myths I hadn’t heard of before. There’s the Celtic mythology of the first book, and in this second one there’s mythology and magical lore from other places which combine well with what Evie has learned thus far.
Another thing I liked was the romantic relationship in this series. The love interest is a nice guy, and his relationship with Evie feels like real life. It reminded me a little of the relationship in the Kitty books by Carrie Vaughn. In fact, I would recommend this series for people who like Kitty Norville. There is interest in both sides but both people are too shy to admit it, and it’s sweet when they finally get together as we hope (thankfully the author doesn’t torture us)!
Overall: I enjoyed this one more for the characters than what Evie gets involved in. It has a more character driven feel despite the fast-paced plot, and the author left me curious as what would happen to Evie next. Not in a cliffhanger way, but I’m definitely interested in finding out more.
Calico Reaction – Worth the Cash
The Big Idea @ John Scalzi’s blog: Margaret Ronald – the author tells us about Boston as a setting