Warhound Series Book One

Fiction - Fantasy - General
680 Pages
Reviewed on 08/12/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Catrina Prager is a 24-year-old fantasy author, freelance journalist, and avid traveler. Her short stories have been published in journals and magazines, including Bridge: The Bluffton University Literary Journal, The Rush Magazine, Montana Mouthful, Coffin Bell Journal, and others.

Hearthender is her first novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Hearthender is the first novel in the Warhound Series by Catrina Prager. With King Helling too old to govern, it was up to Prince Adelras and Prince Mei to look after the Amagiraeans. The land and its people appeared prosperous, but something dangerous lurked in its heart. The Oracle foreshadowed a war, and Adelras was ready to do everything in his power to protect his people. Mei was willing to support her brother and get to the bottom of why everything was changing. However, it was poor Abiny who suffered the most. As the rest of the kingdom feared her to be a witch, Abiny was nothing but a poor woman lost in the dangers of her mind. Someone wanted to tell her something, but they only spoke to Abiny in her dreams. What did they want from Abiny? Was Adelras strong enough to lead his people? Was Mei fierce enough to get to the bottom of it all?

First of all, the world-building in Hearthender was off the charts. It was complex in the best way possible. I was lost in the Amagiraeans' culture, values, and dynamics. I loved how painstakingly detailed it was and instantly became a fan of Catrina Prager. The narrative was smooth, which is a huge compliment, considering there are multiple POVs. Each chapter revealed something new and made me excited to discover more. The tension was high, and I was invested. I liked Mei but loved the spark Abiny brought to the story. Adelras, on the other hand, was calculating the risks and considering the facts. There was a plethora of characters, each of whom shared something new with readers. Instead of overwhelming readers, they make the story more entertaining. The epilogue with the Overseer was remarkable. It excited me for the next book, and I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Jamie Michele

Hearthender: Warhound Series Book One by Catrina Prager begins in the city of Longshore where a horn signals the sudden arrival of war by the Veshini, threatening the city. Prince Adelras takes charge, convening a council to forge an alliance with the Seadwellers against the Veshini. Captain Eryk and the Raconteur take on a mission to negotiate this alliance, while Fyrsten prepares for battle. Meanwhile, Abiny resists societal expectations, Mei and Adelras discuss the kingdom's precarious state, and Eife seeks to rescue her captured husband Eryk who has now been taken. Abiny grapples with her connection to Mourner's Lake, and she and Crane contend with the stranger Avery. Against Council pleas, Fyrsten leads forces to protect the land, and a betrayal rocks the realm to its core in the face of overwhelming odds.

More than a fantasy war adventure, Hearthender by Catrina Prager is a story of survival and destiny. Abiny is a worthy female protagonist in a genre where most are male and I loved the internal battle that rages in her while the world she knows has battles raging beyond. My favorite characters were actually Eryk and the Raconteur, who I felt both had incredibly strong character arcs at very nearly the same intentional growth as Abiny. Multiple points of view characters are made simple with chapter headings of whose eyes we are looking through, and seeing a once harmonious existence threatened, complete with horrific slavery and the decimation of an entire way of life. The prose is often intensely beautiful and effectively juxtaposes a calm demeanor with the weight of what is happening. "You are marvelous... and you are yet young. In another world, you might’ve been a prophet, extraordinary, a revelation. But this is the first world, and in it, you are fated to die." Hearthender is a solid entry into the Warhound series and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

K.C. Finn

Hearthender is a work of fiction in the dark fantasy, metaphysical fiction, and action-adventure subgenres, and it forms the opening novel to the Warhound Series. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Catrina Prager. This immersive and atmospheric novel paints a tale of a war-torn world where a demented Oracle advocates the annihilation of Amagiraea. In this world, war, quests, and political intrigues shape destinies. The story follows Prince Adelras, who must safeguard his people from the malevolent influence of the Oracle's followers. Meanwhile, Abiny, driven by dreams of Mourner's Lake and whispers of witchcraft, seeks answers to a riddle that challenges her sanity.

Author Catrina Prager balances the narrative perfectly between suspense, action, and moments of reflection as the story delves into the complex lives of characters facing a war that transcends physical conflict, exploring their identities, choices, and roles in the world's chaos. Prager skillfully combines elements of fantasy, mystery, and psychological tension, creating a richly layered narrative. The worldbuilding and loving craft the author puts into the lore, history, and attitude of the place was second to none, with a blend of war, mysticism, and self-discovery that kept me engaged. Dialogue played a great role in this unveiling, too, in a naturalistic fashion that had me eager to uncover the secrets that lie within the pages of this imaginative tale. Overall, reading Hearthender was a gripping experience that immersed me in a world of intrigue, where well-developed characters navigate the thin line between darkness and hope, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to fantasy fans everywhere as the start of a truly epic, unique new series.