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Daughter of Hounds

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  941 ratings  ·  96 reviews
They are the Children of the Cuckoo. Stolen from their cribs and concealed in shadows to be raised by ghouls, they are now changelings in service to the creatures who rule the world Below and despise the world Above. Any human contact is strictly forbidden and punishment is swift and severe for those who disobey.

Raised by her widower father, Emmie Silvey has a precocious
Paperback, 448 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by Roc
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  941 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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FINALLY, it's over.

I've read some crap books this year, and I don't think this was the worst of them, but it sure the hell takes the 2015 Draggingest Ass Book Award. This shit just would not fucking end. Every time I thought, "Here we go, now we're getting somewhere..." it would just take a hard left back into "This is a dream. I'm dreaming. I'm going to wake up now and this will all have been a dream. You're a dream. I'm a dream. Everything's a dream."

Say "dream" again. Say it a-motherfucking-
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
So, we read this as a group read because we didn't realize, at the start, that it was the end of a trilogy. Now, I have actually read Threshold on my own a few years back, but I've ever read Low Red Moon and some reviews say this is a more direct sequel to LRM.

I say that by way of explaining that I felt like I was missing some things. That there was information about the Children of the Cuckoo and the Hounds and the Bailiff that I was meant to already know which I didn't.

That said, I felt like
Soldier is a Child of the Cuckoo, stolen from the crib to be raised as a human servant to the ghouls; Emmie Silvey is a strange, yellow-eyed girl plagued by visions. The ghouls are threatened by an outside force, and now Solider and Emmie will come together in a looping road of intrigue and secrets. Ultimately this book has a simple premise, but its winding, looping storytelling complicates both the plot and the writing. Sometimes this style can be frustrating (many scenes end just on the brink ...more
Feb 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2010
God I loved this book. This is the 3rd Kiernan book that I have read, Silk and The Red Tree being the first two. I have really enjoyed Kiernan's prose and her character development, no cardboard cutouts here. In this book Kiernan has created a wonderful dark fairytale, filled with ghouls, witches, demons, and elementals, yet it is done in a world that is not far off from being our own. Urban fantasy at it's finest. A wonderful little girl is the protagonist and her wit and maturity are the heart ...more
Gori Suture
Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Recommended for dark fantasy enthusiasts
From the moment I started reading, I was spellbound. The colorful characters -- Emmie Silvey, Saben White, Soldier, Deacon, Pearl, and Odd Willie -- stepped right off the page, handed me a cup of sludgy tea, and dragged me off to a dark world where monsters from the Irish mythos ruled my every thought for days. Kiernan creates a dark fantasy world were little girls might just be what goes bump in the night, and reality isn’t what it always seems. The story paints a grim picture of an ongoing bat ...more
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
LOVED it! This is my favorite of hers I've read so far. It has a depth that I don't think any of her previous books quite reached - there's more explanation of what's going on as it happens. Because of this, it didn't have as much of the looming creepy feeling to it that I loved in Threshold and Low Red Moon, but it's SUCH a satisfying read. And mad props for having an awesome little-kid main character. Emmie is awesomely smart and sarcastic, and just fun to read about. Caitlin R. Kiernan rocks, ...more
Jan 30, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the act of reading this, but underwhelmed by the end state of having read this. It's like hearing your aunt tell a wonderful tale full of adventure, and then she says "so that happened," and gets up to pour herself another drink.

And you say, "no wait, what happened?"

And she says, "exactly," and wiggles her fingers spookily so she can exit the room before you ask any more questions.
This was terrifying
Nov 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First read November 8, 2011
Second read January 7, 2017
I am halfway through and still trying to figure out the point...

Eventually I find that Soldier, a Child of the Cuckoo, is the true focus of the story, even though it loops around and never focuses on her except at certain points. It was a good story, and had a really good ending, but the looping tale made it difficult to comprehend and tie all the tale's pieces together.

We do learn that Soldier is one of the stolen children, although we neve
Paige Ellen Stone
I write this with a bit of sadness. This is the last of Kiernan's novels I had left to read. I read her most recent novel, The Red Tree, first. Since my books are packed, it will be a while before I can find it and read it again, which I will do. I was stunned by The Red Tree, knew it was genius but could not appreciate it.
To this book. If I could give it ten stars, I would. It seems silly to rate it. It is beyond compare and by that I mean while it was clear that her previous novels showed tha
E. Kimble
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this so much more than I did. The atmosphere's delicious. The brutality can be fantastically matter-of-fact and at its best hits just as hard as it should. Kiernan's prose occasionally veers toward the overdramatic but for the most part fits around her story as snugly as it ought, which is why I was somewhat surprised to find how little I cared about what happened next. :(

Mild curiosity powered me through to the end, but the fate of the characters never concerned me. Can't deci
Robert Corbett
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
CRK's prose is an impressive instrument, both evocative and lulling as well as precise and pointed. I actually came to her writing through a book that is part of a trilogy she disdains, Blood Oranges, in which nearly all the reverence (and romance) is drained out of an urban fantasy setting. If her blog is anything to go by, what started as satire became a burden, perhaps because satirizing fantastic and supernatural fiction runs thin, since a primary point of the genre is escape. (There is pote ...more
Mar 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: at-home
The third in the series by Caitlin R. Kiernan, this book is one that surprised me. I've enjoyed many of her other books, but this had a bit of a story and a couple main characters that were even more sympathetic to me than I've noticed before. There's a lot of hope in this book in odd places, and also a lot of interlocking stories that relate to the other two books, Threshold and Low Red Moon of this trilogy. The story also strangely refers to happenings in the other two books (Silk and Murder o ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-own
It wasn't a bad read, but for me it just didn't flow. A bit disappointed and it is probably not something that I would read again. There was just too much going backwards and forwards and there are no explanations until the very end, and even then things were just glazed over. I have a couple of her other books so I'll still give them a try but hopefully they will be a bit more riveting and forthcoming! ...more
Oct 03, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was a meal that was slippery and savory, but then expanded in your gut, so that you had to slow down and chew. I became attached to all of the characters, even the "bad" ones. She took a long time to tell what could have been a much shorter story, but I didn't mind because the writing is twisty and sharp and the characters are Dark Crystal least in my mind. ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
This was a perplexing book. First off, the author chose to use a few writing devices that I was very unsure about. The book is written in third person in present tense. It sounded normal when there was dialogue or a character was thinking, but when the book would go back to describing the characters in action, it was jarring. I was confused and surprised every time, and it would take a couple of sentences to get me back into the flow of the story. When a character lost consciousness, the sentenc ...more
LMW Mackinnon
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The mythology here is fantastic, the Ghul have completely fascinated me and their various mechanics/world about them. I’ve read short stories involving the ghoul creatures Caitlin has written about but hadn’t been aware there was so much more. Daughter of Hounds gave life to this insane piece of darkness hiding in creepy houses on creepy hills, and the story involving that psycho changeling Soldier was just bonkers enough to make it realistic in my mind.
Desiree Rowan
May 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great, interesting read

I really like the few Caitlin Kiernan books I’ve read these past few months. The trilogy with the albino twins was really cool and sort of a thriller, but this was more of a well-crafted drama about childhood and families but with monsters and magic. Definitely worth your time - I found it very well-rounded.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Gritty story of changelings and hounds, demons and things older. Interesting concepts of time bending, but I enjoyed her shorter stories more.
Teresa Lopez
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobook
This story pulls the reader in fast. The way Caitlin weaves the story not has the characters questioning the truth, but the reader too. I really enjoyed this book and will check out the others.
Dec 26, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another quick-pick from the city library, based on a strapline about "Lovecraft with guns", which is accurate in some ways but not others.

The best thing about the book is probably the prose: sometimes lyrical, frequently uncomfortable, with a tendency to see ordinary life through an unsettling lens. Skies hang like something rotten about to burst. Rivers coil like scaled dragons. Both the key protagonists come out with some crackling wisecracks. The whole thing builds tension and pulls you along
Oct 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was the 5th Caitlín R. Kiernan novel I've read this year (the other four being, in this order, "Silk," "Threshold," "The Red Tree" and "Low Red Moon"). After the superb "Low Red Moon," I did find this one slightly disappointing, though I still found it more enjoyable than "Threshold" (which I feel is the weakest of this trilogy of sorts). My main issue with it was I just didn't like the characters at all. I read Kiernan's novels more for their style and atmosphere than I do their characteri ...more
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Each time I've read a book by Caitlin R. Kiernan, I've said to myself, "This is the best one I've read so far." That statement remains true. I enjoy dark fiction and horror - and this is an excellent example.

I don't generally give 5-star ratings; for me, that is a place reserved for those truly great books, the stories you can't forget, that give you that emotional gut punch. Did this book do that? Mmmmm... not quite... However, based on a comparison scale of ratings I generally see on Amazon or
Dan Henk
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
As a huge Lovecraft fan, I had this book recommended to me. I was a few pages into it, when I left it in a plane. While I waited for a new copy, I read her novel Silk.
Her writing style is a bit surreal and florid. She loves to go off on tangents, with a vague, unsettling evil skulking somewhere about the corners. It's a Lovecraft trick, but he does it a bit better. When I read her book Silk, she was so loose with her story and wordplay (sometimes involving words she makes up for the occasion) th
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book was a random selection at the used book store that completely captured my fascination. Normally not a prolific reader of dystopian fiction, I found this book to be one I was unable to put down. Kiernan's writing style and vocabulary combined to create a vibrant world that while unpredictable and unique seemed unequivocally genuine and well conceived. The dual storylines seemingly incongruent nevertheless resolved into a satisfying overlap. Perhaps on of the greatest successes of the pl ...more
Jeremy Preacher
May 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Daughter of Hounds is my favorite of this stack - it doesn't eclipse The Drowning Girl, but otherwise it is more precisely suited to my tastes than any of the other early Kiernan books. I'm not sure it's a better book, but I don't much care about absolutes.

Probably part of my fondness arises from its relative plottiness. I do like me a plot. Part of it is Soldier's unapologetic ass-kicking curb-stomping attitude, which I will pretty much always get behind. And I just like the whole mythos of the
Dec 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book for its atmosphere, its characters (Soldier is such a badass), and its sense of impending doom. I love the way Kiernan plays with the concepts of time and space. Each one is pliable in this novel, and people on all sides of the conflict use them for their own ends. I love that Emmie is smart and sarcastic, and that Pearl is a bratty little jerk (also the shout-out to The Scarlet Letter, with some people calling her Pearl and some calling her Hester).

But....after being glued to
Andreea Pausan
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was like watching one of those paintings within paintings: a self-portrait of the artist who paints a canvas of himself painting..and so on. The technique is called mise-en-abime and it is simply hallucinating the way Kiernan chooses to display it here. We never know and the characters often wonder which is truth, which reality and which dream.And they all blend seamlessly together in a mad adventure transgressing the limits of time and blurring the boundaries between worlds. All set i ...more
Alicia Utter
Jun 12, 2016 rated it liked it
This is the second book in the series; I will have to go back and catch up. I enjoyed the characters of this book, although I found myself checking back a lot as there is so much going on. Some of the descriptive parts seemed repetitive. I loved the tie ins throughout and hearing about the underworld. I think it would have been a bit easier for me if Emmie had been about ten. Her vocabulary, even as a genius, just didn't jibe for me. But I did enjoy it.
Soldier's character, as she develops, is fa
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Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan (born 26 May 1964) is the author of science fiction and dark fantasy works, including ten novels; many comic books; and more than two hundred published short stories, novellas, and vignettes. She is also the author of scientific papers in the field of paleontology.

(from Wikipedia)

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“The horse is dead," she says and squeezes Soldier's hand. "From here we walk."
"Anyone ever told you you're sort of a creepy kid?" Odd Willie asks.
"All the damn time," Emmie tells him. "I don't bother keeping count anymore.”
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