Review – Death Trace

Death Trace book cover


Death Trace


Hound of Hades #1


Zoe Cannon


Urban Fantasy


Mal Keyne came back from the dead five years ago. Since then, she’s been fixing the god Hades’s problems for him—the kind that are best solved with a bullet. In the secret war between the gods, discretion is the name of the game, and Mal’s got it covered.
But there’s a new player in town, someone with power that doesn’t work the way a god’s power should. They’re strong enough to risk open war with Hades, and reckless enough to disregard the one rule all the gods can agree on: keep the mortals in the dark. And they’re assassinating Hades’s agents all over the city—including one of the two people Mal actually trusted.
With the help of a sheltered priestess, and a magic-wielding mortal who may or may not be on her side, Mal is going to hunt down the people—and gods—responsible. And she’s going to show them why you don’t mess with the god of death.


4stars rating

As you may (or may not) know, I looooooove mythology! That said, I think this was actually one of the first books I’ve read that wasn’t about the god or goddess per se, but rather one who works for them. This is the first book I’ve read by the author.


Mallory, or Mal, lives in a world where, unbeknown to regular people, gods are very real and have divided the world amongst them. Secret wars are fought by their Marked and Guardians. The Marked are the ones that move around and fight the battles while the Guardians take care of the spiritual needs of their god or goddess and their temple on earth (as well as assist the Marked). There is one rule that is paramount: mortals are not to know about what is going on behind the scenes.
While we got a lot of information about how the world and the power structure (which god/goddess rules what and what are some important alliances for example), we learned about it throughout the book, so there was no information dump.
An urban fantasy set in present-day New York City, we follow Mal on her hunt to discover who’s behind the murder of her fellow Marked. As she moved around a lot, looking for clues and following death traces, we had to know where we were and what we were looking at. The author did a great job describing the environments as well as all the little details that were important to Mal.

Character development:

Right of the bat, I have to say that Mal felt very real and believable. It has been 10 years since she died and 5 years since she came back in service to Hades. We got to know her history a little bit, though much of what happened during those years is still shrouded in mystery. She is very aware of her strengths and weaknesses and she knows when to call for help and whom to ask, even if they are not on her team. She isn’t a damsel in distress (she wouldn’t be a Marked if she was) but knows how to fight and get out of tricky situations.
Then we have Bastian, who we still know so little about! We know he is mortal, but he wields an unknown power. He has a very clear set of norms and values and tries to stick to them as much as he is able, even when helping Mal.
Side characters such as Kimmy, Lissa, Ciara and Tamara, we don’t really get to know. So I hope their backstories get some more love in the next book. That said, we might not know much about them, but they feel real and part of the world.

Pacing & Flow:

It started pretty slow, and it took me a while to get into it, but once it got going it was smooth sailing till the end.
There was a good amount of conversation, which sometimes took the upper hand a bit, but as this was the first instalment that was to be expected.

The book itself:

The book itself was well written with no (noticeable) errors. There is no sex described (if that is important to you).
This instalment has 236 pages, spread over 30 chapters and is told from Mal’s point of view.

Final Thoughts:

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book, courtesy of BookSirens, and I can honestly say it was an entertaining and enjoyable read. It was something new and refreshing in a genre that I absolutely love (plus you know… mythology!).
For those looking for an urban fantasy/mystery where there is little to no romance (as of yet), this book is for you!