June 2024
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Review: Must Love Hellhounds, Charlaine Harris et al

This anthology is composed of four stories by very prominent urban fantasy / paranormal romance authors, each of roughly equal page length and often filling the gaps in their larger series. I’ll be honest, I bought this one because it had Ilona Andrews on the cover (as I would buy anything the husband and wife team write) but I read all of the stories and will give them all a bit of time in this review. All of the stories in the anthology have something to do with big, vicious dogs, as you might imagine from the title!

First up was ‘The Britlingens Go to Hell’ by Charlaine Harris. This story begins with two Britlingens, elite bodyguards, sent into a place called Hell due to a personal vendetta. This story is loosely connected with the Sookie Stackhouse series in that the Britlingens were introduced in one of the books, but otherwise is completely separate – these bodyguards live on their own world and simply travel around the universe to protect others.

This story was probably my least favorite. I didn’t really get a feel for either of the main characters, though I did like that they encountered Amelia Earhart and Narcissus. It was fun, but also a bit strange, with giant slugs featuring alongside some odd sexual mechanics. I think it would be okay for some, but I thought it a bit out of place in an urban fantasy anthology where all of the other stories resemble our world in one way or another, and it wasn’t at all what I’d expected.

The second story was the one I was looking out for, ‘Magic Mourns’ by Ilona Andrews. Kate is out of the office due to injuries from a previous book, leaving her friend Andrea, a secret werekin, in charge when a three-headed dog starts rampaging. Andrea has to defeat not only the dog but contend with her feelings for a bouda and her secret shame at her own genetic background.

Any reader of this blog will know that I adore this series and personally felt the anthology was worth the purchase for this alone. The change of perspective was actually really nice; I adore Kate, but I had read a lot about Andrea too and was quite happy to get in that additional backstory (and of course it helped that Kate appeared at the very end!). It was just fabulous to get a little bit more of this world and there is actually a surprising amount squeezed into this story even though it never feels rushed. Andrea has to deal with a lot of her own personal issues and the romance comes out exceptionally well.

‘Angels’ Judgement’ by Nalini Singh is similarly an extension of her Guild Hunters series, of which I’ve so far read the first two. In this one we learn how Sara and Deacon got together and in the process are taken along on a hunt for a rogue vampire. I enjoyed this one and I liked having a different perspective on the world along with a romance that wasn’t headed by an irritating angel, as the normal series books have been. This is set prior to the actual books so contains no spoilers for the series itself.

Last was ‘Blind Spot’ by Meljean Brook. I’ve only read Brook’s steampunk book, The Iron Duke, and none of the Guardian series in which this novella plays a part. I’ve read that it contains minor spoilers for one of the books in the series, but it wasn’t a particular concern of mine as by the time I hit book 5, I’ll have to reread this novella! Anyway, this novella is about former CIA operative Maggie who is sent with a hellhound to find a missing woman and protect her brother Geoffrey Blake. At first, neither we nor Maggie understand how a blind man can help find his sister, but Blake’s unique talents soon reveal themselves and the hunt is on.

I was fairly surprised to find myself enjoying this one and think I’d have to pick it out as my second favorite of the anthology. I enjoyed the romance and the storyline of this and really thought it gave us a lot while fitting neatly within the confines of its length. I do actually have the first full novel of the Guardians series on my TBR and am looking forward to reading it a lot more now.

Overall, this anthology was worth the money for me and provided four stories that I enjoyed, albeit to varying degrees. I’d go so far as to call it a must-read for fans of any of the latter three authors, but I wouldn’t pick up the book for the Charlaine Harris story alone.

I am an Amazon Associate. I purchased this book.


1 comment to Review: Must Love Hellhounds, Charlaine Harris et al

  • This collection sounds like a really great way to introduce myself to adult urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I haven’t read a lot of books in this genre, though I do have a few on my shelf, and so this sounds very tempting to me. I am glad that you enjoyed it and I really relished reading your review. Thanks for sharing it with us!
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