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October 15, 2014

Liked It: Black Dog by Caitlin Kitteridge

Series: Hellhound Chronicles 1
Format: eGalley
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
BLURB:
The first installment in a fabulous dark urban fantasy series—think Kill Bill with demons and gangsters instead of martial arts—from the award-winning author of the Iron Codex trilogy and Vertigo comic Coffin Hill

Ava has spent the last hundred years as a hellhound, the indentured servant of a reaper who hunts errant souls and sends them to Hell. When a human necromancer convinces her to steal her reaper’s scythe, Ava incurs the wrath of the demon Lilith, her reaper’s boss.

As punishment for her transgression, Lilith orders Ava to track down the last soul in her reaper’s ledger . . . or die trying.

But after a hundred years of servitude, it’s time for payback. And Hell hath no fury like an avenging Ava.


QUOTABLE QUOTES:
I'd died because I was loyal. Loyalty was for stupid girls and brainless thugs, I wasn't either of those things anymore.

All of the demons in Hell are inhuman monstrosities, but Lilith craves only the end of everything. She wants to taste the ash of the burning world on her tongue.


BLACK DOG is one of those books where it felt like something at first then the world got upended and you end up with a totally different story. To expound on the plot, Ava found herself in a world of shit after aligning with Leo the necromancer. She found herself amongst The Fallen, fighting against, Lilith as she tries to free Lucifer from Tartarus. Yeah I know it's a lot and it does sound good lined up like that, right? 

Well here's the thing, BLACK DOG by Caitlin Kittredge is predominantly made up of high intensity, high powered action and chases. If you're an (bookish) adrenalin junkie like me then you'll get a kick out of all the shitty situations Ava found herself in. Right off the gate Leo got her, struck a deal, and off they went to have more terrible adventures together. It's this breakneck speed that made BLACK DOG such an enthralling read and a quick one at that. 

The thing is, the plot kept on growing where it felt like there's too much going on to the point where some of the earlier threads felt unnecessary. Like Leo's deal with Ava? By the end of BLACK DOG it felt like a distraction and nothing more. Then there's the Lucifer business. I've read a LOT of books where the Prince of Lies was the final prize but the writer usually nips it in the bud before his prison break. CKittredge didn't back down though and the build-up for The Morning Star's freedom was so ripe I was so ready to oooh and ahhh in awe. I mean really, Lucifer as a character in the story?! It ought to be EPIC right?! Like devastatingly good that I want to know HOW CKittredge is going to make such an infamous and colossal character small enough to fit the story but still big enough to be formidable and almost invincible. 

Photo credit

That said, BLACK DOG is obviously a very character driven story. Lots of interesting personalities from Russian mafioso, brothel whores to redneck shifters and rogue Fallen. A great salad of creatures that would appeal to most UF readers. Ava is an okay heroine to me with a big potential to be great. She started as a pawn, an errand chick and ended up being the top dog pun intended! I liked her history too, the flashbacks provided a great breadth of her growth as a character and naturally made me understand why she's the way she is. There's not much stuff on Leo though so maybe we'll know more of him in the next book?

BLACK DOG is one of those books whose strengths also became it's weakness. The pace is great and fast but too fast that the potent parts of the story felt like it was plunked in the middle of chaos. We started with hellhounds and a simple soul collection tale and ended up with Lucifer, Death (the guy on a horse), and an impending powerplay in Hell. And there's a lot of scenes where Ava was just snatched and found herself in new locations, new places, and new shiznit to deal with. Didn't work too well for me. However, BLACK DOG is the first in a new series so I'll cut Hellhound Chronicles some slack, beginnings are usually wonky so maybe, hopefully, book 2 is better.







40 comments:

  1. I can always count on you to tell it how it is. Nowadays, I don't have much time for mediocre reads, so most likely skipping this one.

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    1. I feel you but sometimes it's inevitable.

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  2. "A great salad of creatures.." I love it!

    Even though this doesn't sound mind blowing I am glad it was somewhat okay. It does sound like it has a little bit of something for everyone in the sup department.

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    1. Yeah, I just wish she took her time so things could be developed better.

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  3. I've read a few really great reviews for this one but I'm not sure it's for me. I'm an impatient reader lately lol

    I think I'll put it on my maybe list and see. Ya know - for when I don't have any other books to read. HA!

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Wise choice or wait for the next book to come out and take it from there.

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  4. Hmmm sounds like this one had a lot of potential but it got kind of messy. Loved your review!!

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

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  5. I wonder if there is any connection to Kittredge other UF series which I really love? She is a great author, and I'm glad you enjoyed this book, Braine. I hope to pick this up someday.

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    1. It might be her, this is my first Kittredge novel and I haven't really traced her works yet

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  6. I know what you mean about these types of books. At first all the action and chaos is exciting, but then it starts to wear on you and by the end you are exhausted. Still this sounds promising.

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    1. Yeah I mean this is a series so she has more than enough time to really draw out each thread and flesh out every character and connection. Now I wonder what's next since it's like the good stuff have been crammed here

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  7. Hmm, this one looks interesting!
    Thanks

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    1. It is, I hope if you do read it that you enjoy it better than I did.

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  8. Eh..ok I will wait and see what people think about book 2

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  9. Hopefully book two will settle some. Goodness. I think that would be a bit much for me right now.

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  10. This sounds like an interesting read. I always give a series a couple of books before I make my mind up about it...hopefully the next installment will be better. I'm adding it to my list on account of the demons and action! :)

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    1. Yeah, that's fair, The first book is usually dense with world building and introductions and now that's out of the way I'm looking forward for the next one.

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  11. I feel this way about Karen Chance's Cassie Palmer series. I love it, but it also makes my head spin. There are lots of tough situations, but the storyline and character development doesn't advance much each time. I might check it out for the excitement factor. Thanks!

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  12. Too much too soon? Hopefully boom 2 will be better. Heck a three rating ain't bad at all either ;)

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  13. Woot! I'm a bookish adrenalin junkie as well :)

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    1. Guns, monsters, sex, anything that keeps the heart pumping!

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  14. I tend to cut the first book in an UF series slack too. I can see that it has potential, so hopefully those issues you mention will work out. I'm curious about this book, but I'll wait for the 2nd book.

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    1. That's fair, hold off on the judgment for a little bit

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  15. Yeah, I love high intensity, lots of action type books so I might like this one.

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    1. I'll be curious to compare notes with you. I seem to be the odd one out lately.

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  16. Hmm... This isn't probably a book I would pick up. But I do like that it had a lot of plot. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. Ah yes I had the same problem with this one. I liked it but it's really too fast for us to totally connect with everything. I need to post my review too..

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    1. Ooh I won't miss it! Post it soon, let's compare notes!

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  18. I love this review. I love intensity but hear what you are saying. I think I will wait to see how book two is received.

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    1. I hope it improves, unlike Ghost Layer which I skipped thank to you and Carmel's similar complaints and rating.

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  19. This sounds fun, I love it when books keep the pace moving, although it seems like it didn't fully work in this one, I still might check it out. Great review!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

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    1. If you do, I'll be curious to compare notes with you. See if the things that bugged me will bug you too

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  20. Fabulous review, Braine. I haven't read any Kittredge but I've always wanted to. I like the sound of Black Dog despite the issues you had. I'm glad you'll give book 2 a go - hopefully Kittredge will resolve some of the things and it'll be even better.

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