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Lailu Loganberry #2

A Hint of Hydra

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Thirteen-year-old chef Lailu Loganberry must stop a war between the elves and scientists in this follow-up to A Dash of Dragon, which Kirkus Reviews calls “a recipe for success.”

It’s the Week of Masks, a festival held to chase away evil spirits. But Lailu doesn’t have time to worry about demons. She has bigger fish to fry—or rather, griffons, now that she’s been asked to prepare a mystical feast for the king’s executioner, Lord Elister.

Unfortunately Lailu’s meal is overshadowed by the scientists’ latest invention: automatons, human-shaped machines that will respond to their masters’ every order. Most people are excited by the possibilities, but the mechanical men leave Lailu with a bad taste in her mouth.

Even worse, the elves still blame the scientists for the attacks on them weeks ago, and Lailu worries that the elves might be cooking up revenge. So when she and her sorta-rival-turned-almost-friend Greg stumble across the body of a scientist, the elves are the prime suspects. With help from Greg, her best friend Hannah, and the sneaky, winking spy Ryon, Lailu has to discover the truth behind the murder, and soon—because hostilities between the elves and the scientists are about to boil over faster than hydra stew.

And just ask any chef: war is bad for business.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published July 10, 2018

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About the author

Heidi Lang

15 books93 followers
Heidi Lang believes that the next Grand Adventure is always just around the corner. She has chased her love of judo from the East to the West Coast, run ultramarathons, started her own dog-walking business, and converted a Sprinter van into a tiny home so she could experience #vanlife. Currently she lives in eastern Washington with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

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5 stars
49 (51%)
4 stars
31 (32%)
3 stars
13 (13%)
2 stars
1 (1%)
1 star
2 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews
November 7, 2020
I’m loving this series! It’s so dark, intriguing, creative, & action packed. I can’t say too much since this is the 2nd book, & I don’t want to spoil anything from the 1st. But the tension is up even more. You don’t know who is doing what...when you think you know, something happens & then you’re not so sure. People I sort of liked in the 1st book I started to dislike in this one, & some I didn’t like as much in the 1st I started to love in this one lol genius. Ryon still has my heart.😉 I still just love this whole world-w/the Elves, scientists, monsters(who we hunt & serve in a restaurant😊), the Royal dynamic...just everything. There was just as much action, adventure, twists, & suspense..if not more. Another beautiful cover too.😍😍Highly recommend, & am currently loving the 3rd & final book!!💜💜
Profile Image for Waniya Aneel ☾.
59 reviews18 followers
November 15, 2021
DNFed in the start of a few chapters. i was expecting ALOT but got disappointment in return. i wonder if I would have survived reading a few more chapters but I just stopped reading it. it was sooooooo boring!
no star literally, 1 star for cover only!
Profile Image for rey.
49 reviews4 followers
July 20, 2022
It was good!
No, it wasn’t perfect.
Yes, I read the second before the first one.

I read this in May 2021, and it’s June 2022…so I don’t remember any of it…………..

Profile Image for Dragons*☆4Ever .
727 reviews15 followers
March 20, 2022
🐍🧡🍽️💛A HINT OF HYDRA💛🍽️🧡🐍
It's the week of masks, a festival where every has to wear fancy masks and attend balls. Lailu is starting to feel confused; everyone she loves is growing farther apart. They're keeping secrets from her. The scientists have made a new machine; the automatons, machines that can be controlled easily. And are capable of doing almost anything. When a scientist is found dead, and the scientists prime suspect is the elves, and the tension between them brews darker. Lailu must go on another daring adventure, figure out where her heart lies, and find out the truth.

𝓣𝓱𝓪𝓷𝓴𝔂𝓸𝓾 𝓼𝓸 𝓶𝓾𝓬𝓱 𝓜𝓮_𝓽𝓱𝓮_𝓡𝓮𝓪𝓭𝓮𝓻 𝓯𝓸𝓻 𝓰𝓮𝓽𝓽𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓶𝓮 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝔀𝓱𝓸𝓵𝓮 𝓽𝓻𝓲𝓵𝓸𝓰𝔂! Sadly, book two and three were not available at any library! So thanks to Me_the_Reader for giving me the amazing and totally worth-it opportunity of continuing this series!

𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐬 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐚𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐨𝐧𝐞, 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐭, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐜𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬! This book...*organizes thoughts* was so good. I ended up picking it up, reading it, and reading it until 1:00. (Extremely tired now...but this was entirely worth it). These characters..are all so unique and amazing! The plot never misses a beat. It always packs a punch, with the masterful dialogue. The banter in this series... is amazing. It's absolutely amazing. Especially when Lailu and Ryon start talking. Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski, are such talented authors. Looking back at their other trilogy; Whispering Pines. They skillfully change the vibe so much from this The Mystic Cooking Chronicles, filled with romance, action, elves, scientists, cooking, and fantasy. To Whispering Pines, horror, mystery, murder, sci-fi, flesh-eating bugs, and changing alliances. They masterfully put the right ingredients in at the right time. The scenes flow so artfully, with violence, romance, and plot twists all put it at the exact right times.

The characters are amazing. Lailu is strong-hearted, caring, but is vulnerable when it comes to people abandoning her. Ryon was again, our mysterious, but witty, character and at the end of the day, an enjoyable and hilarious character. Greg is our caring, strong, rarely but sometimes a jerk, character who always adds some dramatic scenes to the plot. Hannah, is admittedly starting to grow on me. She is capable, smart, and has overcame her sins, to start anew. The love triangle is this book is good. As in, the romance isn't overpowering, but it is still a part of the plot. Usually with a love triangle is really frustrating. But honestly, both Ryon and Greg are good characters, so I wonder where book 3 is going to go with the love triangle.

These books always make me so happy! But to be real... majorly deprive me from sleeping. Just when I'm about to shut this book, down, it slaps you in the face with a major plot twist! I'm really excited to write a book 3 review when I'm done with book 3! It's probably going to be filled with emotion because (I want to finish this series... at the same time where I want it to last longer). Make sense?

This book series is so underrated. This series should literally become one of the best fantasy middle grade trilogies of all time. These characters! Love them with my whole heart! And the elves (I have a weakness for books with elves. And Dragons!) Honestly, this war is written well, because I'm no totally sure which side I would take in Lailu's situation. Both sides are right, and wrong at the same time. This is amazing. Need to get to read book three, to get that book review out into the world!


A amazing enthralling adventure, filled with magic, scientists, adventure, dragons, and dark (cool) elves!
Profile Image for Briana.
656 reviews12 followers
September 9, 2018
I didn't review A Dash of Dragon for the blog, but I enjoyed the characters, world building, and even the crazy plot line enough that I jumped at the chance to read the sequel when I saw it at the library. While the motivations and actions of the characters are still a bit unclear in this installment, a criticism Krysta leveled at A Dash of Dragon, I couldn't help but find that all the craziness really made me think.

Basically, although I read the book because I think it's entertaining and like the idea of a young chef running a top restaurant while also becoming involved with national intrigue, I kept reading because so much of it seems unique in middle grade, and I started thinking a lot about side points in the book.

First, I find the idea that protagonist cooks mystical creatures like dragon, griffin, hydra, etc. as "exotic food" really interesting.  This is a world where few people eat dragon basically because dragons are hard to kill.  However, none of the magical creatures eaten are the anthropomorphic, wise you get in other books.  Indeed, a lot of them are basically pests, and Lailu and her fellow chefs are doing citizens a favor by hunting some down and turning them into tasty dishes.  The book tries to be responsible about discussing hunting and the ethics of killing animals, but I was also just fascinated by the idea of a world where magical creatures are both awe-inspiring (you often need a hero to kill them when they're menaces) but also kind of boring (people regularly eat them when possible).

Second, I am fascinated by the magic vs. science narrative in the book.  The plot line is somewhat convoluted and would be difficult to explain in a review, particularly without giving spoilers, but the gist is that the scientists (basically a new phenomenon in Lailu's country) are feuding with the elves.  It would be so easy for the authors to make one of these sides "bad" and have a "science is the way of the future" narrative or a "the world needs magic" narrative.  However, they don't do this.  In fact, there are so many villains on both sides and so many misuses of both science and magic that you can't even say the message is that "science and magic both have their place." Well, the book does point out good on each side, but the whole issue is more complicated than one would think, and I've spent a lot of time pondering what the book is trying to say about science and magic.

Admittedly, I was actually put off by this at first because I couldn't tell if the science vs. magic think was complicated because the authors are trying to say something nuanced or if it's complicated because the authors are nuts and threw a bunch of plot points at the page that sound dramatic but don't really make much sense in the grand scheme of things.  Ultimately, however, the English major in me decided it didn't matter what the authors intended to do: if the book says something interesting, it says something interesting, even if it's "accidental" and the authors weren't aiming for it at all.

This book series isn't perfect, but it's a lot of fun with all the drama and spying and intrigue and murder and explosions.  I like the characters, and I like the adventures they go on.  Most of all, however, I like that a book got me thinking about representations of mythical creatures in fantasy and representations of confrontations between science and magic in fictional worlds.
Profile Image for Becky B.
7,516 reviews94 followers
February 10, 2020
Lailu is hard at work preparing food for each night of the Week of Masks. Hannah has found herself a job with the chief scientist, and Lailu's afraid she's going to lose her. Slipshod is also acting very strange and keeping something from her. She and Greg go hydra hunting and fall over the dead body of a scientist in the swamp. The scientists immediately start pointing fingers at the elves. Meanwhile the scientists have these new automaton things they've created that keep going haywire. It feels like war between the scientists and the elves is imminent, and then to top everything off, Lailu's mom shows up.

These Lailu Loganberry books are so much more intricate than normal for a middle grade fantasy. There's at least four different political factions at play in the background: the elves, the scientists, Lord Elister, and the royal family. They are all playing this very complicated game of chess and Lailu keeps getting drawn into it. There's the murder mystery. Lailu's dealing with interpersonal stuff with her mentor, several friends, and her mother. And then there's her hunting mythical beasts, cooking, and running a restaurant. There's a lot going on but it all works together very, very well. It's very sophisticated writing and a great in between book for readers right on the edge of middle grade and YA. I could see this being shelved in either section. Lailu and her peers may be in their early teens but they are all pretty much living on their own and masters of their trades by now. The world they live in harkens back to a Victorian age before there were such a thing as teenagers, either you were a child or an adult. And Lailu and friends have transitioned into the adult bracket. They are given a lot of responsibility and independence. So that combined with the sophisticated plot could definitely let you argue that this belongs in the YA area. On the other hand, the core issues Lailu faces really resonate with the middle grade crowd. She's wondering if her friends really like her or not because they are keeping secrets. She's debating how or if she should tell a parent who overworks that she often feels abandoned. And she's in that age where some of her friends are getting boyfriends and girlfriends and she doesn't know how she feels about that. So it is approachable for the middle grade crowd, but wrapped in a world that's a fantasy Victorian steampunk with a lot of political games in the background that means it is plenty sophisticated for teen and adult readers too. I also love that this series appeals to both guys and girls thanks to the way it is told and the world building. Highly recommended.

P.S. I don't think the cover artist(s) for this series actually read the books. They have Lailu in jeans and a t-shirt on the next cover and a tshirt on this cover. She's described wearing Victorian/Edwardian type outfits in the book.

Notes on content: No language issues. No sexual content beyond some hand holding. There are 2 murders but they don't happen on page. There are some automaton attacks with only minor injuries to people. There's hunting of mythical beasts with the kill strokes described. One of the characters does some disturbing experiments and their lab is a bit creepy/disturbing. Some magical attacks. One explosion that results in some serious injuries and one fatality (not described except the initial boom).
Profile Image for Tooley.
50 reviews5 followers
June 13, 2018
-Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book— all opinions are my own-

A Hint of Hydra by Heidi Lang & Kati Barkowski is an unique, fun filled fantasy adventure! In the story, a talented cook called Lailu, who also hunts magical beasts for recipes, is faced with challenges as the scientists, led by Starling, create new automatons and inventions, and the elves living in the city threaten war. When a scientist ends up dead, the truth of what may be going on begins to come out. Lailu is forced to figure out the mystery and confront her own fears of losing her closest friends in this exciting tale.

As a lover of fantasy, I really enjoyed the twist on magical aspects of the elves and the magical creatures. The world is exciting and unique in the way that it is built. I enjoyed the story being told from a cook’s perspective rather than an up and coming ‘hero’ as many fantasy stories tend to be told in. This book has fun characters and takes the reader on a journey of solving a mystery. Try it out if you would a new twist on a fantasy world!
Profile Image for Katie Nelson.
Author 2 books52 followers
March 14, 2018
A thrilling sequel!

After freeing herself, and her restaurant, from the clutches of the evil loan shark Mr. Boss, Lailu thought she could focus on her restaurant and friends. But when she discovers a dead body in the forest while hunting, she realizes that the feud between the elves and the scientists isn't over, and she might be caught in the middle of it.

I adored everything about this action packed story! Lailu is fierce and determined, but also a sympathetic character who tries to be brave but still faces all of the challenges of a typical pre-teen girl: friends, parents, and confusing boys. The story expands on the world of the first book, and readers learn more about the kingdom of Savoria and its enemies and history. The steam punk elements are clever and feel fresh and unique to this world, which is also inhabited by elves, pixies, and all kinds of delicious magical beasts.

I'd follow Lailu on a thousand adventures!
Profile Image for Kimberlee.
319 reviews1 follower
March 30, 2018
Lailu Loganberry is back! Since her last adventure hunting dragons and making deadly deals with elves, Lailu has continued to keep delicious monster cuisine at her very own restaurant. But hostilities between the Scientists and the Elves haven't simmered down! The scientists have unveiled a brand new invention that might be more dangerous than people expect, the elves are DEFINITELY up to something, and people are turning up dead. Lailu and her friends once again get pulled into a situation to hot to handle. Will they get through the Week of Masks alive? What secrets are Ryon hiding? Will Lailu ever become a Master Chef?

I'm really loving this series. Lailu is smart and confident, but still a little rash and stubborn. Her interactions with her friends are real and engaging. While there doesn't seem to be a ton of depth in the world building in the Loganberry series, the books are just plain fun to read. I'm definitely glad I got to read an advanced copy of Hint of Hydra.
Profile Image for Meg.
75 reviews
August 2, 2018
What a sizzling sequel! I’d been looking forward to more of Lailu’s adventures ever since A Dash of Dragon, and A Hint of Hydra delivers.

The world-building is creative and unique, the plot is zippy and full of surprises, and the characters are as charming as ever. I was especially happy to see more of Ryon; he’s fast becoming my favorite (after Lailu, of course). The combination of magic and steampunk is delightful too.

I’d recommend this fun fantasy series to readers of all ages. Can’t wait to see what else Lailu cooks up on her adventures!
Profile Image for Alexandra Ott.
Author 5 books75 followers
March 29, 2018
I loved A Dash of Dragon, so I had high expectations going into A Hint of Hydra, and it didn't disappoint! There's just as much adventure, magic, and humor here as in the first book. Lailu continues to be an amazing heroine, and some of my favorite characters from the first book--Greg! Ryon!--make appearances here as well. Readers who love adventure fantasy should make sure not to miss this series!
Profile Image for Tara Goedjen.
Author 4 books98 followers
July 14, 2018
I loved this book! It's got a little bit of everything -- dragons, chefs, elves, scientists -- and it all comes together in a hugely satisfying way. A Hint of Hydra is imaginative, funny, charming, and set in an all-around utterly delectable world. I'll be recommending it and A Dash of Dragon to all the MG readers in my life!
Profile Image for Julianne Dunn.
578 reviews11 followers
July 20, 2018
Another quality installation in the Lailu Loganberry story - full of intrigue, magic, and just sheer pluck (courtesy of Lailu). I love her reactions to situations and how willing she is to just fling herself into danger for her friends and, more importantly, ingredients for her recipes.

The only thing that bums me out about this book is that there is only one more in this series.
Profile Image for George Jreije.
Author 4 books58 followers
August 2, 2020
What do I say about this book? It's suspenseful, twisty, and an all around great read! Laily is a character I want to root for and how is it possible that reading this made me so hungry? I'd go for a Hydra Omelette right about now, or any of the other tasty items described in the book. I'd recommend this for kids of all ages, and can't wait for the third book!
Profile Image for Allison.
Author 4 books68 followers
May 8, 2018
Great book! I love the continuation of Lailu's story, and how the world of the series deepens and grows. The magic in the cooking, but especially the characters, connects me to the story, and I can't wait to read more!
101 reviews4 followers
May 24, 2018
I loved A Dash of Dragon, so I had high expectations going into A Hint of Hydra, and the sequel didn't disappoint! A HInt of Hydra had just as much adventure, magic, and humor here as the first book. Readers who love adventure fantasy should make sure not to miss this series!
Profile Image for Amy Shaw.
259 reviews44 followers
July 21, 2018
At least 4.5. I loved it! And there's a nice moment with Greg towards the end that made my heart so happy!
Profile Image for Meggan.
178 reviews
August 3, 2018
3.5 Stars. I liked it a little more than the first one. Interesting ideas and interesting magic
259 reviews
June 19, 2022
Another happy reread. I love this series so much. PEOPLE STOP ABANDONING THIS ABSOLUTE GEM OF A PERSON!!!!!!!! I just adoooore Lailu so much; I have half a mind to leap into the story and forcibly become her older sister so that someone other than Greg has her back. Wren breaks my heart; I hope she finds peace someday. Again, Lailu is easily in my top female protagonists. PEOPLE READ THIS SERIES IT'S SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!
Profile Image for Wendy MacKnight.
Author 3 books83 followers
October 13, 2018
Lailu Loganberry is back! Heidi has another winner here, as our intrepid heroine is forced to deal with automatons, griffons, demons, elves, and scientists running amok! The whole shebang!

I loved this book! Heidi's storytelling is clever and heartwarming and smart! A worthy follow-up to a Dash of Dragon, which I also loved!
Profile Image for T.J. Burns.
Author 83 books44 followers
Want to read
December 12, 2018
I received a copy of this book from Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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