Hilda and the Black Hound: A slightly scarier adventure for our Hilda

Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsHilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsHilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson

The fourth book in the HILDA series by Luke Pearson sees our little blue-haired adventurer grappling with two brand new mysteries. Taking place in a Scandinavian-inspired setting filled with all sorts of mythological creatures, Hilda and her mother have recently moved to the city after their log-cabin was destroyed — and Hilda is finding it a bit difficult to adjust.

Her mother suggests she join the Sparrow Scouts, something she was involved with as a little girl, which will give Hilda the opportunity to once again enjoy the outdoors. Immediately struck by the idea of collecting badges, Hilda embraces the club and its motto: to be a friend to all people, animals and spirits.

It’s for this reason she’s confused when her mother refuses to let her help a homeless nisse (a house spirit) or look for a giant black dog that’s terrorizing the township. Isn’t she supposed to be a good Sparrow Scout so she can earn her badges?

Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviews

 

So, secretly, Hilda tries to learn more about why the nisse has been turned out of his house, and investigate the reasons why a giant black hound might be roaming the neighbourhood. Naturally her sincere desire to be helpful comes up against every adult’s duty of care, but there is room for some good discussion to be had on what a person (especially a child) owes another. Should we break the rules to help someone? Put ourselves at risk to do so?

As ever, Pearson creates a rich and vibrant world full of intriguing creatures and locations — this time around we discover the liminal spaces that exist behind bookcases and under beds: the places that nisses dwell in. There’s some marvellous stuff done in Hilda and the Black Hound (2014) with size and space, whether it’s Hilda squeezing herself into impossibly small places, or the giant spectre of the hound towering over streets and houses.

As ever, there’s a two-pronged mystery to solve, and Hilda faces her problems with her usual spunk, intelligence and insatiable curiosity. More importantly, the resolution is once again reached through compassion and understanding — no violence necessary!

Published in 2014. The fourth in Luke Pearson’s acclaimed series of magical adventures starring Hilda, our favorite blue-haired heroine—now in paperback! Hilda stumbles upon Tontu, a lost house spirit. Plunged into the secret world of the Nisse, Hilda discovers hidden passages that only the house spirits can navigate—and something has been ransacking them all!

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REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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