Review: Old Dog, New Tricks by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve been sitting here for a long time, trying to figure out exactly what it was about this book that left me a little lukewarm. It’s not the main character, because I really like Thierry. It’s definitely not her dad, because I find Mac fascinating and the relationship growing between him and his daughter is really something special. It’s not the world-building, because that was expertly done. And it wasn’t the ending, because it wraps up the series arc quite nicely.

So what is it? Two things, I think. One, the romance in this series has never quite connected for me. Yes, I get that Thierry has made her decision, and as of the end of book three, she’d committed entirely to Shaw. It’s not so much that I think Rook was a better choice for her, though a couple of books back, it seemed like he might have been. Maybe it’s because I never saw them fall in love. Maybe it’s because he hurt her so deeply. Maybe it’s the age difference. All of these or some combination, no matter how you slice it, I was just not invested, even if I could want Thierry to be with him just to get the HEA she earned.

The other thing? The books felt… uneven. They didn’t feel like slices of a single journey but Thierry veering from one thing to another in her life. One book (and a novella) about her being a marshal. One book where Shaw breaks her heart, she goes to Faerie, and explores a possible second love interest. One where she goes on a road trip with her BFF and explores friendships with her big cat and her guards before she eventually gets back with Shaw. And now this book, which is all about her bonding with her father as they return to Faerie to save the human world. It didn’t feel linear. Not exactly like I was jerked around, but that I kept having to adjust my expectations with each book and I kept getting something different. Does that make sense? (Probably not, but it’s the best I can do.)

As I said, this is all about Thierry and Mac building both a father-daughter relationship and one of student and teacher. I really enjoyed their time together. For all that he is Other, there is no doubt that the Black Dog loves his daughter and that she carries his magic is undeniable. The big problem to solve here is that Morrigan has kidnapped Shaw and Thierry must not only figure out a way to rescue him, but to defeat the goddess on her own home turf. Obviously, that means Rook is in the picture and he is dealt with, although I would have liked to have seen a bit more strength in his character. (I felt like he was given an extra shove down to make Shaw seem like a better choice but maybe that’s just me projecting.)

Watching Thierry pick up new abilities and fighting for her loved ones was great. Like I said, Mac was great. The ending was fine. But I think I am still looking for more coherency. Like the guards who played so prominently in book three. Yes, I know they were mentioned, but I wanted to see them come back around. I wanted a different kind of resolution for Bhain (because… ew.) More with the dragons. The on-page reunion of Rook and his sister.

I know my belly-aching may make it sound like I am poo-pooing the book, but I don’t mean to. It wasn’t bad and I don’t regret the series. It’s still worth checking out and I will read the spinoff books. This just didn’t quite live up to the potential I feel like it had.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon

Old Dog, New Tricks
by Hailey Edwards
Release Date: July 30, 2015

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