Reading Realms reviews Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Book 1 of the Iron Druid Chronicles
Rating: 4 smileys
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer. Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.
A great debut in a very crowded urban fantasy field. Personally I liked the premise of the story: it seemed a bit Highlander and a bit Dresden from the blurb. Can't really say that after reading the story though, it had it's very own feel. Obviously one might lean more toward Dresden and other urban fantasy novels due to the fantasy elements, but I thought it ended there. And although Atticus is over two thousand years old, the story didn't jump around through time as a Highlander story often does. The Iron Druid chronicles takes a much more direct approach with Gods and Fae than most other fantasy. At Atticus' power level he is already on- not equal, but close enough footing to tangle with them. This makes me wonder where the story will go from here as he never seemed overly challenged even fighting godlike beings (even if his magic left him drained). It leaves me wondering if this is simply walking us into something bigger and more interesting as the series unfolds. I enjoyed the magic in the book. There is a wide variety of it, but Atticus himself is a Druid and I thought the author did a great job of explaining and using his nature/earth bound form of magic. The world was well done as well. Obviously it takes place on our earth (with fantasy mixed in), set specifically in Arizona; but I thought he did a great job of mixing the fantasy elements into the world and dealing with various cultures across the globe. This book really moved along, almost like a chase story without the chase-- being that after he found out the bad guys were coming after him he pretty much just stayed put and waited for the confrontation. But the pacing was so fast that even with the few elements that made me go hmmm, it didn't leave me much time to dwell on them.
In the end, it was just a well done story with good pacing, good characters and a decent story for the beginning. I'd recommend this to any urban fantasy fan or even fantasy fans looking to try out this genre. It's available now in paperback and the next two novels should be rolling out soon. I don't know if this is only a trilogy or an ongoing, but it looks like the first three novels are at least done and rolling out a few months apart.
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