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Hound and Key

Hound and Key

3.5 2
by Rhiannon Held

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Key has lived her entire life in captivity, forced to use her magic to kill the enemies of Ariadne, an ageless woman with powerful magic of her own. Key knows she and Ariadne are both members of the Hand of the Gods, five souls reborn through the ages, but Key remembers none of her past lives. She chafes against Ariadne's control, and longs to escape to lead a life


Key has lived her entire life in captivity, forced to use her magic to kill the enemies of Ariadne, an ageless woman with powerful magic of her own. Key knows she and Ariadne are both members of the Hand of the Gods, five souls reborn through the ages, but Key remembers none of her past lives. She chafes against Ariadne's control, and longs to escape to lead a life of her own.
Eric has worked for Ariadne for years in ignorance of her secrets, but now coincidences and bad luck are piling up. When he talks his way into the compound that houses Key and the other members of the Hand, he learns the truth about Ariadne's magic—and the murders she's committed with it. Together, Eric and Key escape and set out to find Lantern, the one member of the Hand Ariadne has never managed to capture—and who may know how to stop her for good.

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Rhiannon Held
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Meet the Author

Rhiannon Held is the author of the urban fantasy Silver series. She lives in Seattle, where she works as an archaeologist for an environmental compliance firm. Working in both archaeology and writing, she’s “lucky” enough to have two sexy careers that don’t make her much money.

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Hound and Key 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
InvestedIvana More than 1 year ago
I’m just a little conflicted about Hound and Key. On the one hand, I really like the story, the characters, and the idea on which the book is based. On the other hand, I struggled a bit with the writing, and I can’t exactly articulate why. The foundation of Hound and Key is a legend or fairy tale that has appeared many times over the years in many cultures. The author demonstrates this by “citing” snippets of the tale at the beginning of each chapter. Each snippet is from a different time period and culture, with the exception of a few at the beginning. The legend is about the Hand of the Gods, five creatures, or Powers, created by the gods to find the Youngest God, who has gotten herself lost. Each Power has a special ability, such as unlocking doors, tracking, using maps to locate someone, etc. I love this world building. It’s unique in the world of UF, at least to me. I like the way the Powers pass to others, and how they all relate back to the legend. I like the way the antagonist is portrayed and her motivations. I like the protagonists — Eric and Key. There is a ton of good, interesting stuff in this world that I really enjoy. But for some reason, I struggled with the writing. Not that the writing was bad at all, just that it didn’t click with me, maybe? I think a leisure book should lead the reader through the story, like following a series of bread crumbs. I lost the trail a few times, and had to back up and reread to make sure I understood where the story was going. There were a few times I didn’t understand why a character choose a particular action, or when I thought a big part of the story was introduced without the emphasis and fanfare it really needed. And it seemed there was a lot in this story that either wasn’t necessary (especially if this really is a stand-alone and not a series) or not really explained. It was all interesting stuff, but I wasn’t sure how it related to the big picture. Overall, there was nothing I *disliked* in this book, but I really wanted to connect with it more than I did. The world and ideas and characters are excellent and I’d really like to read more if I could just click better with the writing. I think there is plenty of material for a series, should the author wish to pursue it, and I’d be eager to learn more about this world.
onemused More than 1 year ago
"Hound and Key" is a fascinating fantasy novel about a group of reincarnated individuals referred to as the "Hand of the gods." Each of these individuals was given a unique power to aid the gods in some way on Earth. They are meant to complement each other. Key, the first we learn about, is able to lock and unlock any (non-digital) locks as well as learn about a person through their keys. Map can take an image of a person and find them. Hound can track someone's steps. Breath can breathe life into or out of someone; Breath can also transfer the Hands powers to another person. Lantern is the fifth member of which we know less, but it seems that Lantern has the powers of a light. When reincarnated, they retain the memories of the Hands that were before them over millennia. However, this ability disappears when they are placed in a younger body. The younger the body (e.g. infant), the less human they are, only really having their skill and not feeling human emotions or feelings, including pain or fear. Breath has been holding all the others aside from Lantern (but is seeking Lantern) and has placed them into relatively young bodies. Map was the oldest (placed at 7) and has most of the memories. Key has her humanity but no memories (placed at 3), while Hound is an instrument without humanity (placed as an infant). All of them have the ability to take a life through their skills, and Breath has been forcing them to do this for her. The story unfolds in bits and pieces as Eric gathers more and more information through his study/exploration. It begins when he is having a date with someone his boss had sent him to gather intel on, and she dies suddenly of a heart attack. He presses for more information, looking up and noticing all the people that he had collected information on have died suddenly. He attempts to get taken into the inner circle and learn about how. In his search, he meets Key, who sends him on a quest to find Lantern. Key is an interesting character. We know she is somewhere in her 20s but since she has been so sheltered and not had much interaction with the world, she acts like a child to some extent. She is very naïve but wants to experience the world. She has been forced to be chaste by the Breath's control of the guards and her interactions with others (the why of this, we learn at the end). When she meets Eric, they begin a casual relationship. I wasn't sure how I felt about this, since he is obviously much older and more mature. However, she is old enough to consent and she takes the lead in their interactions. Speaking of the romance, I think this was one of the most interesting concepts in the book. There is a pervasive idea that love transcends human boundaries, including gender. Although hard for the human Eric to accept, he begins to grasp this concept later in the book. I would be very curious to see how this evolves in (hopefully future) sequels. I won't say too much more about this or the plot, as I don't want to give away any spoilers! The book is fast paced and keeps the reader engaged with only pieces of the whole story revealed until the end, when it all begins to really come together and make more sense. I didn't ever feel lost in the book and it's very engaging. I was really fascinated with the idea of their powers and the concept of reincarnation. I think it's a strong book, and I really hope that I will be able to read more about this cast of characters in the future (maybe learn more about their reinc