Review: Storm Hound by Claire Fayers
Jess Price finds the cutest puppy in a rescue centre, but it turns out he isn’t any ordinary dog. He is Storm of Odin, the youngest puppy in the wild hunt, and he is in danger.
Storm hounds are full of magic, a resource which is running short in the human world, and there are people who would kill Storm for his magic. Meanwhile, Jess can’t tell whether the new boy at school has an agenda of his own.
A magical adventure with a big heart. I love stories about magic which are rooted in folklore and place, so it was a delight to read Storm Hound which is set in Wales. It imagines a world where the figures from mythology are an eternal presence. The magicians of stories past are as alive today as they were centuries ago.
The relationship between Storm and Jessica is beautiful, and I love Storm’s unique voice. Although he is a tiny puppy, he has the voice and attitude of an ancient god. He thinks an angry neighbour as the Valkyrie-Lady and refers to Jess as his human servant. If you like stories which give you an insight into the thoughts of other animals, this one is for you.
This is also a story about a family finding their new normal after an amicable split. Jessica and her brother are from London, and the Welsh countryside is outside their experience. They’ve left their friends and everything they know behind to be with their Dad. They adjust to this in different ways. It was nice to see a story about a break that wasn’t traumatic. Sometimes separation is a healthy and mutual choice. Although it hurts, young readers need stories where the characters move forward with a positive outlook.
A gentle sense of humour makes this stand out among middle-grade fantasy adventures. Although the threat is there, and it has the potential to change the world, this story never felt dark or frightening. It maintained that sense of wonder and humour which is unique to children’s literature.
After Mirror Magic in 2018, a book which swept me away, Clare Fayers had a hard act to follow. I have to admit I was turning the pages until I reached the conclusion and will be back here for her next story.
Thanks to Karen Bultiauw and Macmillan Children’s Books UK for my proof copy of Storm Hound. Opinions my own.