Book Review: Blood Hound by James Osiris Baldwin

Alright, alright! I have so many reviews to get knocked out, and I’m hoping I can get quite a few done this weekend. I always feel bad when I don’t get them done in a timely manner 😦 With NaNoWriMo being over, I at least have some more time now to sit and get them written and done. I did go and mark stars on Goodreads at least for a few of them, so it is just a matter of going back and writing about them.

So, the first of many reviews goes to Blood Hound by the Dragon Awards-nominated James Osiris Baldwin.

James Baldwin is another fantastic author from the NaNo group whom I am going to smack a few times alongside Kelly Blanchard and Jeffrey Cook for severely messing with my feels.

“One of the first things every new mage learns about magic is that-despite your newly discovered powers over the universe-you are forever a struggling speck of krill in a very large, very cold, very dangerous ocean.”

Blood Hound is the first book in the Alexi Sokolsky: Hound of Eden series by James Osiris Baldwin. This is a gritty, fast paced urban fantasy that walks the careful balance that is the world of the mafia. With magic. Because Alexi is a blood mage that works as a hitman in the Russian mafia where he was raised. When a man shows up dead and mutilated in their territory, they are on a time limit to figure out the why and the who the heck did this, especially since the man belongs to a rival mafia. The last thing anyone needs is an all out turf war.

I wasn’t entirely sure how well I would like this book when I picked it up. Mafia books aren’t really my thing. But, as we all know, fantasy/urban fantasy is. Plus I’m pretty willing to read anything at least once if it’s an Indie/NaNo author. So believe me when I say this book is awesome.

Alexi and his best friend Vassily have been raised by the Organizatsiya. Even if they wanted out, the hierarchy makes it impossible, especially since the two were being primped to take over. But Alexi’s new job and Vassily’s strange antics might spell out a completely different direction in the mafia than what they had previously thought. Our mage is being pulled and moved around like a pawn on a board bigger than he can possibly imagine.

Okay, so I had to try and figure out how to approach this review because I really just want to sit here and tell you all about it. The characters and the world building Baldwin created are simply fantastic. There is an amazing amount of detail/research that he put into not only the occult and magic, but into making sure the structure of the mafia was legit, right down to the pesky Russian love of a million diminutives for each name and using them in the correct circumstances (seriously, as someone who has Russian characters….yeah.). On top of that he also works through the societal stigmas and prejudices that are apparent not only in our current world, but especially in the 1980s and especially in an organization like the mafia.

If you haven’t bought it or added it to your Goodreads list, you really should do it now. This book is an amazingly crafted, gritty look at an Underworld where magic is used and power can be fleeting. When you think you know who is pulling the strings, another twist is thrown in. And when it all comes to a head, grab some tissues.


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