I have the author P. G Bell to thank for directing my attention to this gorgeous book. Storm Hound takes together Northern European mythology about the Wild Hunt especially Cŵn Annwn together with Welsh mythology of Ceridwen, and it has rescue dogs too. When my husband brought this home early release from Waterstones, as someone adores mythology and who is devoted to her own
Storm Sleep Hound this book with its cute and gloriously shiny cover designed by Becka Moor jumped to the top of the TBR pile.
The book has it’s own deeply unique world but equally has flavours and hints of classic books and movies that wrap around you and make it feel a comforting familiar quickly drawing you emotionally into the narrative.
Storm of Odin falls to Earth on his first ever Wild Hunt and finds himself in the body of a tiny black puppy not the fearsome StormHound he truly is.
To his indignation he is taken to a rescue home where he is adopted by the Price family, chosen by Jessie who is drawn to him in her emotional struggle after her parents have split and she relocated to Wales with her father and brother.
But danger is on the horizon as strange people have come to seek Storm’s magical presence, and not with good intentions.
I am Storm of Odin, temporary guardian of this dwelling. Leave your bag of treasure and flee my wrath before I smite you!
The narrative voice of Storm of Odin has elements of Stitch from Lilo & Stitch growling and making mistakes meets Thor in the original Thor (2011) all proud, pompous and slightly Shakespearean.
The world according to dogs with Storm’s twist is excellent from perceptions of obedience training to the section depicting Storm first encountering a Postman is sheer brilliance and I was laughing so much I was compelled to read out the entire section to the family who all laughed and agreed it was spot on!
Jessica/Jessie is sensitively written, a believable young girl lost and emotionally bruised by her parents split and the relocation from a busting city to rural Wales. The torn feelings of acclimatising to her new life juxtaposed with the guilt of where that leaves her relationship with her absent mother is palpable and heartbreaking.
I also loved the Bedknobs and Broomsticks flavour of the book with the fluffy white
rabbit hare shape shifting character of David/Morfan/ NotBoy who is battling his own coming of age dramas against the well meaning but suffocating control of his ‘aunt’ the mysterious motorcycle riding Ceridwen.
Fayers is both respectful of the original mythology but is also takes enough poetic freedom to make the stories fresh and new moving the stories forward with new blood and new generations.
There are gorgeous parallels with Stardust by Neil Gaiman with the magical creature fallen to earth being pursued by a trio of magic-hungry villains however the darkly edged humour reminds me somewhat of the tongue-tied travelling Quack and his assistant with designs on carving up Elliot in Pete’s Dragon.
Overall this is just a gorgeous romp of a novel, with a love of dogs, a love for mythology, a love for Wales and a heart rending story that will delight and ignite inspiration in so many readers as a dog lover and a rescue dog mummy it made me rather emotional at certain times and leaves me with such a wonderful glow. I will certainly look out for more by this author.
StormHound by Claire Fayers is published by Macmillan and now available from bookstores and online.