The Pact, Black Hind's Wake #2 by J. E. Hannaford - Book Review

Write on: Wed, 04 Jan 2023 by  in Sue's Reviews Read 73

In The Pact, which is the sequel to The Skin, we find ourselves back on The Black Hind with Georgie the selkie, Zora the sea witch, Theo and Rialta, who are also not quite exactly as they seem at first glance.

The equilibrium of the world has been held precariously by a pact agreed between humans and different branches of he Old Ones. A group of guardians has been set to watch out for signs that the pact is failing, and the diligent Maddoc has noticed that his particular sign is changing over time. He rushes to inform his mother, the Lady of the Lake and embarks on an adventure which throws him together with Georgie and the other Old Ones as they try to rescue a dragon egg, defeat a misguided queen and basically save the world as they know it.

I loved Maddoc, a calm and easily pleased chap who wanted nothing more than to eat cheese sandwiches and guard his yew tree, he found himself thrown into all kinds of scary situations by his mother, and bravely took them all in his stride, despite devastating injury and likelihood of death. His addition as a POV character added further magical layers to the story and made it all the richer.

Theo was also one of my favourite characters, along with Georgie and Zora. He is harboring a secret that not even he is aware of and it made for an exciting reveal in the middle of the story.

The world has expanded extensively in The Pact and its world building was sharp and easy to visualize. Even the invisible locations!

I enjoyed the tension of the final battle but felt that it was all over a little too quickly. We had been building up to this face-off for the majority of the novel and then it seemed that the bad guys were too easily defeated by our heroes.

Throughout the story we encounter many creatures from Welsh folklore. I found these highly intriguing and would have loved an appendix giving more information about each of them and a guide for how to pronounce their names. Maybe a field guide to the creatures of The Black Hind’s Wake could be a future publication? I would certainly read one!

I am sad to leave these characters who I have become so fond of - they really are a heartwarming band of unusual found family members and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in their company!


Sue is British, living in Massachussetts since 2003. A Mum of two teens, she enjoys fantasy, SciFi, dystopian, thrillers, occasional historical fiction in both YA and adult genres. She wrote her grandad's life story during 2020 and has a couple of ideas for other books. You can find my reviews by Sue at