#SPFBO5 Book Review - HOUND OF THE MOUNTAIN by Stephan Morse

(Title: Hound of the Mountain / Author: Stephan Morse / Publisher: Self-Published / Publication Date: May 28, 2019)

Chase Craig is a teenager who has been given a gigantic task by his father on his deathbed.  He's been told that his mother is trapped at the top of a nearby mountain and he must save her if she still lives.  The problem with this task is that it isn't going to be very easy considering that there are hideous beasts who reside amongst the crags and peaks of said mountain.

Not only that, but to even attempt to undertake this mission alone would be sure and certain suicide.  Chase's only option in his mind is to join THE RANGERS, an elite squad who are trained in hunting and killing the mythical beasts that inhabit the mountain.  Adding to the daunting task of becoming a ranger is the fact that only one person among the many who apply actually get the chance to become a Ranger.

To become part of this special unit, Chase must go through a series of gruelling trials aimed at singling out only the best of the best for selection.  The reward for passing is a magic tattoo that will endow the new Ranger with certain powers.  Powers that Chase hopes will propel him to finding his mother and bringing her down from the mountain safe and unharmed.  But will he be able to pass the test?  Or will he have to journey alone into the perilous mountain facing danger without the backing of the much vaunted Rangers?

HOUND OF THE MOUNTAIN was a book that I felt had a lot of unrealized potential.  The story was very original and I thought the concept of a magic system based on tattoos is a cool idea.  While this was a fun fantasy tale in general with a western-style theme, where it lost me was in both the juvenile tone of the main character and also the long time period that takes place before any real action happens.

Part of this was the fact that the Ranger trials were so detailed and lengthy in description.  What I kept wanting to get to was Chase's journey into the mountain, but it felt like that took forever to happen.  Ultimately this is where I grew a bit impatient and I thought that the book dragged for a significant amount of time.  

Getting back to Chase as a main character, I just couldn't get invested in his story.  There were times when he just seemed like a spoiled brat and I didn't connect with him in any way.  Likewise the story of the Rangers didn't grab me either and all in all although this is a light fantasy read with some good moments, as a whole this book was just okay for me.

(My Rating: 5.5/10)


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