Mother Pig by Travis M. Riddle – Book Review


The Houndstooth has forever loomed over Ruska. A towering black tree with indestructible bark, it seals away powerful dark magic. But its bark is cracking and this magic is leaking, threatening to extinguish all life in the valley.

Six individuals are infected with this foul magic, imbued with unnatural abilities called Blights. Coal is their final recruit, tasked by the immortal Dirt King to track down ancient artifacts that can seal the Houndstooth and restore balance to Ruska. As the Blighted venture through the kingdom, they realize its condition is worse than they feared. They must tangle with cults, navigate through melting forests, and fight hordes of grotesque beasts warped by the Houndstooth’s magic.

Ruska’s fate rests on their shoulders, but are they already too late to save it? 

Released March 27, 2021. Book 2 of The Houndstooth Trilogy. Pages: 504


I would like to throw up a high five to Travis for writing a sequel to Flesh Eater, one of my favorite books, that far exceeded my apparently measly expectations for what the adventure would entail upon the end of book ones progression. I feel like there would’ve been a great way to end Flesh Eater without it turning into this monster of a trilogy its turned into. Travis made the tough decision as a writer to commit to something big and so far its paid off tremendously.

I cannot leave out the incredible covers this series has. Both, so far, are extreme in droolworthy factor, no doubt about it.

Mother Pig was a mad and frenetic series of events told with such ease. Although the events are many, and the ups and downs of the characters happen throughout, it’s written so that his slice of life style carries over and the end point never lost.

The characters that Coal ends up with as companions on a mission to save this weird and interesting world progress in all directions. There is emotional depth explored in some, and others have shown that even in fiction, some people lack depth, yet still can be interesting. It’s intentional and helps create the realistic world populated by anthropomorphic people.

Trying to avoid spoilers, but the story begins immediately following the end of Flesh Eater. Coal has joined with a group that has been mysteriously put together by the wishes of The Dirt King. The Dirt King seems to have the ability to Not die, as well as being able to create and distribute varied unique technologies and plans across the vast geography of this world. There is a border though, or a limit to his influence, that stops at the striking Houndstooth mountain range.

Strange creatures, and odd mutations of already living creatures are occurring and this group Coal has fallen in with are charged by The Dirt King to help resolve and stop this from resulting in, pretty much an end of the current way of life.

I’ve absolutely loved and enjoyed every page of the Houndstooth series. I feel as if I’ve gone along with Coal as his buddy, and experienced all the ups and downs along the way. Mother Pig introduced chapters from the viewpoint of additional characters which ended up being very refreshing, especially since the group has to split up to recover the necessary magical items. So memorable was the tragic and weird journey, I was emotional and sad, but also downright floored to be a part of this adventure. Cannot wait for the next one!!

TRAVIS M. RIDDLE lives with his pooch in Austin, TX, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English Writing & Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University. His work has been published in award-winning literary journal the Sorin Oak Review. He is the author of such works as Balam, Spring and The Narrows, which Publishers Weekly praised for its “intricate worldbuilding and familiar but strong narrative arc.”

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