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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

"Daughter Of Hounds" by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Official Caitlin R. Kiernan Website


Always on the lookout for a new author to sink my teeth into, I first heard about Caitlin R. Kiernan when I saw that her latest novel "Daughter Of Hounds" was being released in January ’07. Upon further research, I discovered that this was merely the newest entry involving psychic Deacon Silvey. Knowing that, I decided to check out Ms. Kiernan’s previous works first, starting with her sophomore effort "Threshold". After completing the book, I admit I was torn. On the one hand, "Threshold" offered a lot to like: flawed, yet interesting characters; a thought-provokingly surreal world to explore; and a promising new talent in Ms. Kiernan whose gifted prose definitely made the story shine. On the other hand, I felt that the book’s ending was too ambiguous for my tastes – even if that was the author’s intention – and left me feeling unsatisfied.

So, it was with some trepidation that I undertook the follow-up novel "Low Red Moon". Suffice it to say that I enjoyed this volume much more than "Threshold". Once again following the exploits of Deacon Silvey & Chance Matthews, and introducing us to the likes of serial killer Narcissa Snow, the Children of the Cuckoo and the Hounds, "Low Red Moon" is a more clear-cut, yet still complex horror tale that brilliantly straddles the line between the visceral and the bizarre. Which finally brings me to "Daughter Of Hounds."

First of all, I don’t think it is necessary to have read either "Threshold" or "Low Red Moon" to understand and enjoy "Daughter Of Hounds", for each novel easily stands on its own, though I would recommend "Low Red Moon" since "Daughter Of Hounds" seems to be a more direct sequel to that book. Of course, if you’re someone who enjoys all those subtle nuances and references that "Daughter Of Hounds" possesses, then I would, by all means look into Ms. Kiernan’s previous works.

Now, "Daughter Of Hounds"…what can I say? Of the three novels that I’ve read by Caitlin R. Kiernan, I enjoyed "Daughter Of Hounds" the most for many reasons. To begin with, the writing is just magnificent. Ms. Kiernan has vastly matured as an author and the pose and command with which she brings her vivid imagination to life is awe-inspiring. Secondly, the characters… Though set in the same world as "Threshold" and "Low Red Moon", previous protagonists take a back seat to a whole new cast that includes Soldier, Emma Jean Silvey, Pearl, “Odd Willie” Lothrop, Saben White and the Bailiff, not to mention a more in depth look at the Children of the Cuckoo and the Hounds of Cain. While the narrative switches mainly between Soldier and Emma Jean, each unique character figures prominently in the overall tale and end up much more complex than they first appear…a standout trait of Ms. Kiernan’s. Finally, the story itself is a beautiful amalgam of gothic horror, urban fantasy and mythological fiction that transcends genre restraints, and is, at its core, a powerful tale of self-discovery and living with the choices that we make…

Undoubtedly, I have become an avid fan of Ms. Kiernan and highly recommend her novels to anyone who likes their books full of ambitious ideas, poetic wording, compelling characters, and open-ended conclusions that challenge the readers’ own imagination. In short, I will anxiously be awaiting Caitlin R. Kiernan’s next creation…

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi - excellent review. I featured it on my readers' blog at http://abunchofwordz.wordpress.com/2007/10/10/daughter-of-hounds/. It's sometimes hard to find good reviews, so thanks for making this info available. :)

Robert said...

Thanks for the comments and for including it on your site :) Your blog looks very interesting. I think I'll have to keep stopping by :D Thanks again!

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