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Posted July 17, 2013
3.25 stars: HELLHOUND is the first storyline in Kaylie Austen’s new series focusing on the fantasy world of the Mythian. There are shapeshifters, Hellhound, Black Angel and a cerebral chamber where the truth, as seen by the mind’s eye, can always be revealed. The political infighting is rife with deceit, betrayal, nepotism and the Council of Elders whose need to rule by power and intimidation are pushing the lower classes towards an uprising of epic proportions.
The world building is intense-so intense that I will try to explain the sociological description and implications.
The story is awash in a hierarchal political system, almost caste like (and Marxist) in structure where those beneath you are considered unworthy or minions. Minions is a term that is used quite frequently (throughout the novel) by those who consider themselves above reproach and in control. The entire societal structure of the Mythian culture reeks of ethnocentrism (whereby one judges all others based on the culture and belief system of one’s own) and in this, the Mythian society believes themselves to be better and more powerful than other species, societies and humans.
There is a definitive sociological and power elite premise at work within the story. The class structure is very Marxist and the relationship between the power elite and the lower class workers is definitely a study in class, status and power. There are arranged marriages and a hierarchy of inherited families (castes), class conflict, inequality, division of labor and of course, because of the powerful ruling elite-a revolt on the horizon.
The caste-like society within HELLHOUND is similar to many South Asian cultures and belief systems. The story is a study in discrimination, prejudice and stereotyping of anyone considered not within the same class. Classes are segregated in domiciles and work levels where the physical distance between the groups is to ensure there is no unnecessary contact or interaction. There were also issues of sex and gender. Selene was either objectified as a female of worth and power, or she was considered second class because of her gender and age. And the women within one particular class were considered nothing more than whores or to be objectified as a vessel for sex.
But I digress. Hellhound is a story about Selene-a young woman who is expected to ascribe (by bloodlines) to the position of ruling royalty of which she wants no part. She is also a woman who is expected to marry into an equally powerful family and bring forth an heir to continue the royal bloodline. Two powerful bloodlines insures the continuation of their supernatural powers and position within society, culture and the Council of Elders. But falling in love with Demetrius-a tracker and a man beneath Selene’s status- is enough to send the power families to war against one another. All too soon Demetrius is accused of killing Selene’s father and her future husband (arranged by the ruling families), and the memories of others could never be wrong. Selene is ordered to hunt for her elusive lover but in doing so she knows, to extract the truth will mean death to Demetrius-one way or another.
The writing is simple. There is no sex (implied only), no graphic or vulgar language but there is some violence and death. Because of the ‘cerebral chamber’ there are many flashbacks from retrieved memories. But I had a few issues of cohesion. Perhaps it was a problem with editing but the story (in several spots) seemed to jump into another scene without a break or build up.
HELLHOUND is an interesting storyline of murder and mystery; of friendship and love. But the relationship aspect of the story was lacking. Because the author chose not to delve into the romance/sex and love issues, the love story fell flat. I did not feel the connection between Selene and Demetrius. I do not need implicit sex scenes to grasp the love between two people, but there was very little to assure me that Demetrius and Selene were truly in love or had ever been intimate and close.
HELLHOUND is also a study in class distinctions, social structure, power and control. I am not sure if many readers will see the same sociological problems as did I, but the story is a definite study in social relations and class and, the struggle of the working class to gain a foothold in society.
Posted June 28, 2013
Posted June 28, 2013
Posted May 7, 2013
I'm not sure where to begin, "wow" just doesn't seem to cut it. This book was amazing. The characters were beautifully written. The story itself was like my own personal quicksand...meaning that once I stepped foot into the world of Hellhound, the story sucked me further and further into that world until I was completely lost in it. This is one book that you do not want to miss out on. You have some mystery, some romance (the forbidden kind of romance), and you have the magical elements of the Greek gods. All of these things make for a fun and exciting read.
Selene, the Hellhound, is supposed to take a throne and lead but her desires are to live her own life away from home. Her parents arranged for her to marry Nathanial but her heart seeks one that is like her, one that holds her same desires, Demetrius.
When she rebels and leaves home to be with Demetrius, to live life as a tracker and hunt down criminals, it upsets some of the council, especially Nathanial and his father. Sadly, things take a drastic turn for the worse. Her own father and Nathanial have been murdered. When the eye witness reveals the murderer as Demetrius she is given the mission of hunting him down.