Review: Grim Tidings by Caitlin Kittredge (Hellhound Chronicles #2)


Grim Tidings by Caitlin Kittredge // VBC ReviewGrim Tidings (Hellhound Chronicles #2)
Caitlin Kittredge
Published: Apr. 19, 2016 (Harper Voyager)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

 Reviewed by: Margaret

 Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

 Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Black Dog.

 At the end of Black Dog, the first book in the series, hellhound Ava found out why she was always a little different from the other hounds. She was meant to be the Grim Reaper’s personal hound. But there hadn’t been a Grim Reaper for centuries and the rest of the reapers were running amok without a true leader. Then Ava’s maybe-boyfriend Leo became the Grim Reaper. Now the two are on their way to reaper headquarters in Minnesota to “take over the company.” The reapers who are currently in charge are, of course, opposed to the new leadership.

On the way there, Ava receives word that The Walking Man, a supernatural serial killer she encountered years ago, has escaped from Tartarus and the angel Uriel wants her to go find him. Ava leaves Leo in Minnesota to continue negotiating with the reapers while she pursues The Walking Man. The story alternates between flashbacks to the 1940s and ‘50s when she first fought him and her present-day hunt.

I really enjoyed the look into Ava’s past. It’s unusual to see so much of a book devoted to backstory, even when the characters are a century old. But in this case it works, tying in several elements relevant to the present day story. I also liked the monster hunting state police officer that Ava partnered with in the ‘50s.

And I was struck by how human Ava is for a supernatural heroine. She’s a lot like Mercy Thompson in that her real superpower is stubbornness (and the fact that they both turn into canines). Like the first book in the series, this one also reminds me at times of the Sabina Kane series. They feature some of the same mythology, though it’s remixed a little differently. The elements in Grim Tidings will also be right in the wheelhouse of Supernatural fans.

Lots of plot threads wrapped up in quick succession at the end of the book, which felt a little choppy to me. I also wanted more of Leo and the Grim Reaper storyline. The title and the cover suggest that will be the focus of the book, but by the end they haven’t really made much progress on the reaper front. Hopefully there’s another book coming that wraps up that plotline and gives me more Leo and Ava (Lava?) time.

Sexual content: kissing. Also scenes of kidnapping and abuse that might be triggering for some readers.

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