Houndstooth by Travis Riddle — A Review

I’m going to include reviews that I wrote for all three books in the trilogy below. Very slight spoilers may commence in the later reviews. Be warned.

Flesh Eater

I’m not much of a consumer of ‘furry’ media, or books with dark themes in general. In that way, maybe Flesh Eater wasn’t for me, but I just couldn’t put it down!

The world of Ruska is beautifully detailed, and every bit of it excited me. It’s not a world I’d want to live in, but that’s maybe for the best. And Coal, the lens through which we see that world, is a troubled soul with a desperate fire in his gut. I’m a sucker for books that can be summed up as ‘And then things got more complicated and dangerous,’ and this story lives up to that. Some of the exciting scenes from this tale will be burned into my mind for weeks to come.

If you can handle a little gore and some dark themes, don’t pass this one up. It’s every bit the rip-roaring dark fantasy, and manages to blaze its own path in a crowded genre.

Mother Pig

The short-awaited sequel to Flesh Eater is here, and it is NOT more of the same. It’s better! Different, but better.

Coal is back, and he’s still his awkward, endearing self. But we get other points of view to work with as well, which I like almost as much, and Travis introduces other characters that I love and love to hate. Now that the plot is rolling along, there’s so much more character interaction to be had, and I could read an entire book of just the conversations.

The stakes are higher, the battles are bloodier, and the ‘main quest’ is on. It feels for a while as if the plot is going to stick to the straight and narrow for a change, but I should have known better. The mysteries still deepen, the journey is filled with fraught battles and confusing turns, and the last tenth of the book completely blew me away. You won’t get more spiderback racing, but if (like me) you were concerned that this ‘quest’ wouldn’t have the same appeal as Coal’s struggle to survive, then, uh, don’t. Plus, Coal still has plenty of folks out there trying to kill him.

Ruska continued to astound with every city, every encounter, every story. I’m much more excited for book 3 of Houndstooth than I was book 2, and I can’t wait to enter this imaginative world yet again.

Dirt King

There is barely anything I can say about this book that would not be spoilers. Dirt King follows up the other two books perfectly. Really, if you read the first two, you won’t need a review for the third. You’re going to buy it, and you’re going to like it. By order of the Dirt King himself.

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