Grendel is the second book in, The Hound Who Hunts Nightmares series and follows on immediately from the events of the first book. The books combine the fantasy/detective genres and contain a lot of mystery and intrigue.
The second book continues to follow Thomas Dearlove, a teenage boy who is staying with his strange uncle, Cornelius and the mysterious, The Hound at their supernatural detective agency for the summer. The detective trio are still trying to hunt down the vampire Manfred de Warrenne who is set on stealing the four crowns of Albion from the Fae folk, so he can rule the supernatural world. As well as one of the main antagonists from the first book, we’re also introduced to Johnny Grendel, the most feared and ferocious creature in the Fae world who appears to be immortal and unstoppable, and is wreaking havoc across Brighton.
The story moves quickly and there’s a good amount of suspense throughout to keep the reader interested, while also revealing secrets and answering questions along the way. As the book picks up where the previous one left off there wasn’t a lot of plot refreshing, which was confusing at times but not enough to detract from the story as a whole.
There’s good character growth throughout the book, especially regarding Tom; we learn a lot more about his past and his family and he ends up going through a lot of emotional trauma as well as some physical. There’s also some real heartfelt moments with Cornelius and The Hound, who also have to come to terms with events from their past and this all helps the reader to empathise with the protagonists of the story.
Strong bonds between the main characters, which were introduced in the first book have grown throughout the second book and these will no doubt continue to grow throughout the third book. We’re also introduced to a number of new characters in this book, which could have detracted from the story as a whole as at times the cast was quite busy, but Plume manages to make the increased cast work and has a number of sub-plots running throughout the main one to accommodate them.
Although most of the questions raised in the first book are answered in the second, there are still a number that have yet to be answered and entirely new questions have also been raised, which will hopefully be answered as the story continues. It’s clear that the books are building to an intense climax and it will be interesting to see how the series plays out in the third book.