One of the more exciting Urban Fantasy series in recent years has to be The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. With lots of mythology and sass, Hearne came out guns blazing and with each novel, he went from strong to stronger. The previous instalments had Atticus and Granuaile running for their lives, both literally and figuratively speaking, and the end of the sixth brought us the reveal of the existence of a new – or is he? – major player in the game. Cue the stakes raising even more.
For nearly two thousand years, only one Druid has walked the Earth—Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword have kept him alive as he’s been pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company. Atticus’s apprentice Granuaile is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy. And Owen has some catching up to do.
Atticus takes pleasure in the role reversal, as the student is now the teacher. Between busting Atticus’s chops and trying to fathom a cell phone, Owen must also learn English. For Atticus, the jury’s still out on whether the wily old coot will be an asset in the epic battle with Norse god Loki—or merely a pain in the arse.
But Atticus isn’t the only one with daddy issues. Granuaile faces a great challenge: to exorcise a sorcerer’s spirit that is possessing her father in India. Even with the help of the witch Laksha, Granuaile may be facing a crushing defeat. As the trio of Druids deals with pestilence-spreading demons, bacon-loving yeti and frenzied Fae, they’re hoping that this time, three’s a charm.
After all the shenanigans that went on in the previous novels, the arrival of Owen Kennedy gives the plot in this novel a much needed reprieve. While the major plotline is continuing, we get something different for about half the novel.
Granuaile finds herself in a quest for her father and she and Orlaithe travel to foreign territories, where she reunites with Laksha, the witch who previously inhabited a part of her mind. This part of the novel are festering with demons, fighting and awesome. Which contrasts nicely to Owen’s chapters, where his reintegration in modern society takes the main stage. This is pretty much hilarious on all accounts and Owen is a great character to add to the mix. All the while, Atticus and Oberon are continuing the main plot from the previous novels and once again it is totes hilaire.
“once again it is totes hilaire
Of all the new creatures we encounter in this book, the Yeti are the ones who made the biggest impression. Shattered was – much like the entire series – brimming with great scenes, but the bacon-loving Yeti top it all. All this fun and crazy does nothing to prepare you for the big bang at the end. There’s been some fighting and action in this series, the most memorable the big battle in Hammered, but this one might just be the biggest battle of them all. The thing is, though, I have the feeling things are just getting started.. Hats off to you, dear sir Hearne. Next to some Fae, you absolutely blew my mind!
Whereas the plot isn’t as fast-paced as say in Hunted, the characters benefit from this in terms of growth. Granuaile has been around since the first book, but here she’s out on her own for the first time and she’s shining like never before. She and Orlaith are a great team and complement Atticus and Oberon so well. A match truly made in Tír na nÓg. As I said before, the addition of Owen is a great one. Whereas Atticus and Granuaile complement one another really well, Owen makes for a great contrast and so far I really like what he brings to the story. It was quite the surprise to find he’s a POV as well, but it keeps things fresh and adds something new to the mix.
“A match truly made in Tír na nÓg
The tricky thing with multiple POV’s is the voices, but that’s not a issue here. Previous novels have already showcased Hearne’s ability to write distinctive voices – in fact, Granuaile might just be one of the most convincing female characters written by a male author – and with Owen, a third one gets added. If that’s not a display of true writing talent, then try the tone of the novel. Not a lot of authors can pull off the kind of sass going on here and still be convincing afterwards when everything starts falling apart around the characters.
This series is one that goes from strength to strength, and Shattered is no exception. In fact, it might be the best entry in the series yet, along with the previous one. Kevin Hearne did a lot of things right with this one, but most of all, he made me look forward to Staked so much I might just pre-order it right away to be sure I will have a copy when it comes out.
★ ★ ★ ★
Get ready to be Shattered!