Review: The Hound at the Gate by Darby Karchut

The Hound at the Gate (The Adventures of Finn MacCullen, #3)

The Hound At the Gate by Darby Karchut

The Adventures of Finn MacCullen #3

January 13, 2015 – Spencer Hill Press

272 Pages -Young Adult, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fiction

Source: The author

A copy of this book was given to me, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Goodreads: Autumn: the season of endings. And beginnings.
Especially for one young apprentice.
At the annual Festival of the Hunt, thirteen-year-old apprentice goblin hunter Finn MacCullen and his master, Gideon Lir, join other Tuatha De Danaan to honor their people’s heritage. But Finn soon realizes that there are some who denounce his right to attend due to his half-human bloodline.
As he struggles to keep his place by his master’s side, he finds himself embroiled in a decades-old grudge between Gideon and another Knight, bewildered (and beguiled) by a female apprentice with a temper as explosive as his own, and battling a pack of goblins determined to wipe out the entire camp in a surprise attack.
It’s going to take some fancy knife work, the help of a female Knight with a lethal bow, and one old pick up truck to defeat the goblins and prove to his people that Finn’s blood runs true-blue Tuatha De Danaan.

My Thoughts:

What can I say? I am in love with Finn, he is like the little brother that I didn’t know I always wanted. Again, I am really impressed with Darby, and she has proved once again why I say she is a D.E.A.R. author. But I don’t want to spend too much time on her, just take my word for it, she is awesome.

This is the third book in the series, and there is so much that I like about it. First it is rich with Celtic tradition and mythology. But, more than that, it is rich with family and growth. If you are just hearing about this series, and this title let me tell you what you find. There is humor and sarcasm, Finn and Gideon are such a pair, and I have to remind myself that they have not always been together. Lochlan and Finn run into the same trouble that young boys often do. There’s fighting-lots of fighting. I wish that the fight between Gideon and Tully had not been cut short, maybe that would have prevented the damaged he caused at the end, but probably not. The Amandan are out in bold numbers, and trying new and bolder moves. They have gotten stronger, forcing the knights to remind the creatures why the knights should be feared.  The festival brings them all together and introduces us to a few new characters, and I am looking forward to seeing more of them.

For those who have read the first two books and want to know what’s different in this book–There is a good side to Martin O’Neill. I think I spent most of my time like Lochlan, not really liking Martin (Lochlan’s dad) but also not completely understanding him. It may take forever but in the end Martin redeems himself a bit, and things happen (another character’s insight) that makes me understand his nature. I hope that this continues into the next book, so we can see more.

On the flip side, Ennis, Finn’s cousin, also shows  progress. While, I can’t say having a horrible master is an excuse for such bitterness, I am avid believer in we manifest in us whatever is encouraged and cajoled out of us. Ennis is an example of that. But, events that happen at the festival shows me two things. Ennis is really a strong leader, when given the opportunity and he would shine on the light side if he was an apprentice to a master that didn’t feed his negative side so much.

Finn. My boyo, also has some growth in this adventure. He is turning out to be such a swell lad. Even though I have never been a Tween boy, I remember what it was like in middle school and how everything seems to be changing so fast and in ways that leaves you spinning in confusion. I think that this transition is captured accurately with Finn, and that makes him a hero that boys can relate to.

Finn and Gideon’s relationship is tested in this book. The bond between them is growing, and you can see this not just at the end when they be separated, but throughout the whole book.

5 stars *****

I cannot stress this enough, if you have not started this series you must! If you have a boy that is middle school aged-he will love this series. If you are a middle school teacher, this book is definitely a must have for your classroom library.

Sadly, we must wait another year for the final book in the series. Darby, if you are reading this, I want you to know that when I told Henry that we wouldn’t be able to get the next book until next year he started crying. He flailed his arms and kicked his feet in protest. He was none too happy about that.

Always Shine!


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