Review: The Faerie Hounds of York by Arden Powell

Published: Self-published (August 20, 2020)
Series: standalone
Cover Art/Design: author
Genre: Fantasy, Historical
Page count:

Blurb

    England, 1810. The north is governed by a single rule. Faerie will take as it pleases.

    William Loxley is cursed. A pale and monstrous creature haunts his dreams, luring him from London to the desolate, grey landscape of his forgotten childhood. There, it will use him to open a door to Faerie—a fate that will trap Loxley in that glittering, heathen otherworld forever.

    His only hope of escaping the creature’s grasp lies with John Thorncress, a dark and windswept stranger met on the moors. The longer Loxley stays in Thorncress’ company, the harder it becomes to fight his attraction to the man. Such attraction can only end in heartbreak—or the noose.

    But Thorncress has his own bleak ties to Faerie. They come creeping in with the frost, their howls carrying on the winter wind. If Thorncress’ past catches up with him before they can break the curse, then Loxley will not only lose his soul.

    He’ll lose Thorncress, too.

    Content Warnings:Death, self-harm, suicide

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Review

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout which has in no way impacted my honest review. This is an ARC review, and some quotes and content may not make it to the final version of the book.

Points of interest:
✧ Eldritch creatures;
✧ A stalking presence in the dark;
✧ Not your average Fae;
✧ Atmospheric haunting;
✧ M/M romance

Do you ever just wanna sit back, relax, and be completely destroyed by a story?

Well, if you do, The Faerie Hounds of York might just grant you that wish, and if you don’t, this is one book that sneaks up on you anyways.

From the very beginning, this was one eerie story, something that should have prepared me for what I got: a fairy tale just like the classics. 

By which I mean, of course, one tale of imaginative myth, of impending danger personified by a creature that would naturally fit any Guillermo del Toro movie, and a prince in distress being helped through the woods by a dark, brooding wanderer. 

Except it’s gay, which my 12-year-old self never got to casually read (though children-eating ogre queens were fair game) and now my old(er?) self can’t get enough of.

Loxley is the prince in this story, not actually a prince at all, but a confused man who one night wakes up dirtied and without memory, facedown in a Faerie ring.

“What happened to me?” Loxley wonders throughout this novella, and together with him and his companion, Mr. Thorncress, we slowly unravel the truth behind Loxley’s rendezvous in the woods.

I thought he either partied too hard or he’d been Fae-touched, cursed some kind of way by a trickster. Lucky for me, it was the second option— I already have my healthy share of drunk in the woods stories (only kidding…or am I?…).

Powell works the backdrop expertly, transporting the reader right into the scene, while also allowing them to peek into the historical happenings of the moment. 

Right from the beginning, this story sets a sinister atmosphere, making excellent use of its setting, York, England, 1810. This place of very occasional sunshine, with a prevalent gloomy mood solidified by its overcast days, is the perfect playground for beings of another world to frolic with humans. 

And none do it so as the Fae. 

These are not your average creatures, or at least I have rarely (if ever) seen Fae depicted like this; as terrifyingly haunting ugly beings stalking their prey. It was such a far cry from the “otherwordly beautiful” depiction of the Fae that I enjoyed myself immensely.

Not to mention I love horror stories and this was a short slash to the heart.

Being a novella, or, better said, because the author was great at constructing a story that was at once short and entertaining, there is never a moment of boredom. 

An entertaining, eldritch fairy tale with a gut-punch of a plot twist that I very much basked in reading.

Read an excerpt of the 1st chapter on the author’s blog!

The Faerie Hounds of York is available at


About Arden

Arden Powell author photo
Arden Powell author photo

Arden Powell is an author and illustrator from the Canadian East Coast. A nebulous entity, they live with a small terrier and an exorbitant number of houseplants, and have conversations with both. They write fantasy, romance, horror, and comedy, often in combination, but rarely two consecutive books in the same genre. Everything they write is queer.


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