When writing a long-running series, the trick is to keep things interesting for your readers. While this may not be some obscure secret, it wouldn’t be the first series to start milking the shark they jumped several instalments ago. As far as The Iron Druid Chronicles is concerned, it’s still a young series with only five books, but it’s clear Kevin Hearne knows he has to change the formula to keep the sharks at bay. The finale of the fourth novel showed glimpses of a new wind able to blow through the series – not that it was necessary, though – and Trapped followed up and delivered.
After twelve years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave.
Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge—but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief, who all seem to have KILL THE DRUID at the top of their to-do lists.
When we left our heroes in Tricked, Atticus and Oberon faked their death to disappear for twelve years in order to make Granuaile a full-fletched druid and bind her to the earth. All goes well, until the very evening of her final ritual. The gods who believed the last druid on earth dead and all the more happy for it, discover the truth and plot to get him in the ground again. For good this time.
“a crazy hunt across the country
First of all, I liked how Hearne handled the whole Druid initiation thing. While it is definitely interesting, to say the least, I think he made the best decision possible to skip ahead twelve years and give us the very end of it all. It’s satisfying enough to witness the final bindings and to see the different transformations possible for Granuaile. What follows, however, is a crazy hunt across the country when the gods decide to interfere and release pandemonium on earth. Things always were a little crazy in the life of Atticus and Oberon, but the shenanigans going on here are topping it all, and I’m loving it! It’s got a bit of everything going on, without it ever going over the top. Previous books had the tendency to overdo it with the gods, so whether I got accustomed to the crazy nature of The Iron Druid Chronicles or Hearne balancing it all out more, it’s surely a change for the better. The story takes you everywhere and surprises lurk around every other corner. In the third book, the story started to get a bit more serious, which was noticeable in Tricked, but this book really takes the series a step further and away from the light banter from Hounded. It still holds on to that silly nature of old, but it’s all less carefree. The natural progression of the plot and the tone is great to witness here.
As far as the characters are concerned, I can only say that Atticus and Oberon are on par once again, but the main star here is Granuaile. It’s not that she takes up a lot of the spotlight, but because she became a main character for good here, she simply demands attention and I’m more than wanting to give it to her. It’s funny how I never really felt that there was anything missing with the Atticus – Oberon duo, but know that Granuaile joined the party, they just fit so much better together. It’s as if she was meant to complete them from the very start. The best part of Granuaile, though, is that I see her as the new kind of kickass female lead. She is no damsel in distress, but does not resort to being overly sarcastic or tough-as-nails to prove her independence. There are lots of other characters and creatures walking the pages of this book, and this is once again one of Hearne’s strong suits. He knows how to populate his world and does it so well. There are some great scenes with different kinds of creatures in here and awesome spells being performed.
“the new kind of kickass female lead
The writing is everything you can desire from this kind of novel. Fluent, fast-paced and a joy to read. While their has to have been put a lot of effort in this book, it just feels like Kevin Hearne wrote it cover to cover, that’s how smooth is all flows. Also, a little shout-out to the cover artist is in place here. I always liked the covers for this series very much, but this one tops them all. Can Granuaile become a permanent addition to the cover art, please?
With Trapped, Kevin Hearne once again proves that he is a name to be watch out for in the urban fantasy genre and it might as well be his best one yet. The cover of the book features a quote of SFFWorld saying that “It may be possible that Hearne and Atticus are the logical heir to Butcher and Dresden”. While this is a bold statement, I feel like it’s not that far from the truth.
★ ★ ★ ★
Get trapped in this amazing series. Now!