Any new series, especially if you’re a debuting author, needs to be marketed well to reach its target audience. I can’t really remember how I came across The Iron Druid Chronicles, but I immediately new I was the audience. An Irish druid who can mindtalk with a big dog? Count me interested! The fact that these books are visually pleasing as well made it all the more easier to purchase them and give them a go.
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 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.
As far as Urban Fantasy goes, this one fits in with those series who don’t pretend to be anything deep or serious for that matter. That’s what’s so charming about this book, it doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t and really works for its simplicity. It’s a light hearted and fun read which doesn’t leave you questioning all that much. I have to say, however, that I had a few minor issues with it.
There is a lot of mythology in this book and perhaps a bit too much of it. this is definitely a personal thing, but for me it would have worked better it this aspect was toned down a little. All the different gods from those different pantheons are very interesting – and fun to read about as well – but almost every other chapter a different deity is barging in and halfway through it’s getting a bit difficult to keep track of all those godlike beings. Also, those gods are supposed to be really powerful – seeing as Atticus ran away from one for centuries – but when push comes to shove (spoiler). Another thing that was perhaps a bit too convenient for my liking, was how the mess with the witches got solved. I liked the idea of a powerful witch who is renting a room in the head of the local barmaid, and who is a hottie at that(*), but once again it felt a little bit contrived. I think it would have been better if all this was a bit more spaced. Now it’s a bit too much for the length of this book and it felt a bit too crowded. Like I said, these are just minor issues cause overall I really enjoyed this book and had some really nice elements going on. Especially the Elementals and the different kinds of tea really appealed to me. It’s those details that add that extra touch to a book.
An important part of Urban Fantasy is its characters. Every book, whatever the genre, needs good characters, but I feel that when it comes to UF, the characters really carry the story and since it’s mostly written from a first person POV, much of it stands or falls with the characters. As far as Hounded goes, I think the characters are what I liked most about this book. The main star is Oberon(**) whose comments are just to die for. I really like the humour that’s used here and some of his conversations with Atticus are just golden! Atticus is a very nice character as well, although I have to keep reminding myself of the fact that he’s 21 centuries old and not just 21, cause he doesn’t really act his age. Perhaps I just expected the old, wise soul in the young, fit body, so I was taken aback when Atticus sometimes acted like a teen. However, given some time I see that Atticus is just good the way he is, it’s all part of his charm, really.
The writing is very nice as well. Fluently written and it doesn’t feel like cookie cutter UF. Kevin Hearne has his own voice and I like what I read so far.
So despite some minor issues with the plot, I really enjoyed this debut and The Iron Druid Chronicles is definitely a series that I’ll keep following cause it’s a good one in its genre. The only drawback perhaps is that I have to keep my bank account in check, cause with these books comes a craving for sausages. Or French Poodles…
★ ★ ★
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(*) The barmaid, not the witch, mind you.
(**) Sorry Atticus. Still love ya, though!