The Phoenix Chronicles

The Hound

Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
397 Pages
Reviewed on 12/20/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

The Hound is the first book in The Phoenix Chronicles series by Joseph Topp. Tỳnarr was ready for a change. As a farmhand with a strict master, Tỳnarr was used to waking up before the sun and toiling hard every day. Snatched from his home when he was just a toddler, Tỳnarr was grateful Dagfinnr took him under his wing as an adopted “son.” He was ready to be freed from his servitude when a horrible incident happened and changed the course of his future forever. After shrugging off grief for a life lost, Tỳnarr decided to chase the life he had lost in the first place: his family from whom he was snatched. The trek back to the past was filled with peril. Tỳnarr knew it wouldn’t be easy, but the path was far more difficult and dangerous than he imagined.

An epic fantasy with heart-stopping action and plenty of drama, I was hyper-focused on the story by reading just page one. The world-building was fantastic and the way it was presented was almost magical. Author Joseph Topp had a way with words and it showed how seamlessly he blended his chapters and the story flowed forward. The chapters were the perfect length, the pace was fast without being overwhelming and Tỳnarr’s character was a reader’s dream come true. He had a past, he had a goal, he was resolute and he delivered the promised action. I loved the moments when Tỳnarr was almost chasing his memories to find his way back home. He made friends and foes and each of them had a lesson to teach him. The narrative was alive with the action and the constant chase. The dialogue was thoughtfully crafted, and the descriptions were so vivid that I felt like I was right next to Tỳnarr. To say that I was in love with Tỳnarr’s development would be an understatement. You don’t come across gems like The Phoenix Chronicles very often!

Cloie Belle Daffon

Tỳnarr did not remember the day his Neasánian captors came for him; he had been kidnapped to be sold as a slave, but had been lucky enough to be taken in and treated like an adopted son by Dagfinnr. Tỳnarr worked for his adoptive father and on paper, he was still a slave, but he was at least treated better than most slaves. On his eighteenth birthday, Dagfinnr would release him from his slave title and Tỳnarr would finally have a taste of freedom. He can finally look for his lost family and see what happened to them after he was taken. However, an unexpected turn of events left him shaken and he discovered something unexpected about himself. Now Tỳnarr was on a mission of vengeance to find out more about himself and his lost family. Join him in the first book of Joseph Topp’s The Phoenix Chronicles: The Hound.

The Hound by Joseph Topp is an exhilarating and engrossing coming-of-age fantasy tale that had me hooked by the time I finished the first chapter. Tỳnarr was five feet and nine inches tall, had a perpetual smile on his face, and a smart mouth that often got him into trouble. He understood he had been luckier than most slaves, so he treated other slaves as kindly as he was allowed to. I was proud and heartbroken for Tỳnarr as I followed him on his journey to discover the truth and to exact vengeance on those who did him wrong. The somewhat carefree seventeen-year-old boy at the start of the novel grew into a hardened young man as he discovered unexpected truths about himself, gained allies, and made enemies.

The Hound was an innovative and enthralling read. It deftly captured my attention with its fantastical storyline, distinctive characters, and informative narrative that helped me visualize the world the author built with this book. Topp is a master storyteller that introduced me to an exciting new world and had me looking forward to more! This was an excellent book!

Vincent Dublado

The Phoenix Chronicles: The Hound by Joseph Topp prepares you to join the adventure of a captive boy who rises to carve out his destiny. Týnarr does not remember the day his Neasánian captors came for him. He was reared by Dagfinnr as an adopted son rather than a slave. While other captive children have been taken by raiding parties to work in the fields, the mines, or in the forges, Tynarr considers himself to be lucky that Dagfinnr sees him more as his child and he has the privilege of earning a wage. Unfortunately, Dagfinnr, the benevolent slave master, didn’t survive an attempt on his life. Fresh after turning eighteen, Týnarr goes on a quest for closure and vengeance. A vision shows that he is the key. He doesn’t know why, but he understands that he is important. As he sets forth to affirm this vision, he will forge alliances. But great dangers and an insurmountable conflict will also confront him.

As a coming-of-age adventure fantasy, The Phoenix Chronicles looms large, especially if you are the type of reader who has been weaned on sword and sorcery yarns. You follow Týnarr from his humble origins as a privileged slave to his development as the fulfillment of a prophecy. Joseph Topp’s writing style is crisp and vibrant. His mastery of dialogue and action scenes is put to use wisely and makes even the smallest scenes strong. Background descriptions of people and countries make the world of Malteor come alive. He is a skillful pacer, managing to sustain the momentum of the plot throughout. The characters feel alive in their fictional universe. The book is worth the read, and I am willing to bet that it will continue to appeal for years to come.