Book Review: Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne

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Atticus O’Sullivan leads a simple life. He runs an occult bookshop in Arizona where he sells specialty teas and is mostly sought out by local college kids who want to know if any of his special herbs are actually weed. At home, he is kept company by his Irish Wolfhound and an aging Irish widow from down the street. It’s a quiet existence for someone who still looks young enough to be in college alongside his clientele, but it’s all a deception.

Atticus is an anglicized name he took long ago. He’s actually twenty-one centuries old, and the last living Druid in existence. A fact that still irks one particular Irish deity to no end. And that deity, Aenghus Og, is about to catch up to him. Aenghus wants a mystical sword that Atticus is hiding, one that would give him untold power and a chance to take over his entire pantheon. Atticus has no choice but to protect the sword. But he can’t do it alone.

The druid must call upon his friends–his werewolf and vampire attorney team, a bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and the Chooser of the Slain–to help him face his nemesis. Their two millennia dance has been fun, but enough is enough. Atticus knows that this time it’s him or Aenghus Og, and he’s not ready to die just yet.

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I had a fabulous time reading this book. It was such a fun read that in an effort not to oversell it, I’m going to have to start with the things I didn’t like.

Most of the characters are of Irish, Polish, or Scandinavian origin, so even though they’re hanging out in Arizona, there is an overabundance of European white people. Even the Hindu witch has possessed a red-headed white girl. The cast is mostly monochromatic.

I’m sure that in over 2,000 years, Atticus has learned to work it, but over half the women he meets want to bed him. It started to be more comical than sexy. To be clear, I wasn’t upset about this, I just gave it an eye roll here and there. It was still worth the laughter.

There is more than one possession in the book, and I’ll have to be vague here to keep from spoiling anything, but one of them made me feel terrible for the possessee (is that a word?). The situation tried to be smoothed out, but there was only so much that Atticus could do. I didn’t like it, but it added a depth of character for Atticus. He’s not an altruistic hero. He’s more of a gray area type of main character, and it makes him more interesting.

So there were upsides to a few of the things I wasn’t crazy about. Now to the things I enjoyed.

The humor in this book is sprinkled through in such a way, that I never really stopped giggling. Even though heavy stuff was discussed, I never felt weighed down by it. I don’t need a palate cleanser book to help me recover from the gravity of it all. It was funny in all the right ways.

Oberon. The Irish Wolfhound is more than a companion animal, he’s a great character. He might actually be my favorite character. If someone bought me the stuffed Oberon from Kevin Hearne’s website, I wouldn’t complain.

The widow. She’s amazing. I hope there is more of her in books to come. If she dies at some point in the series, don’t tell me yet. I don’t think my heart could take it. Seriously, if it happens I will straight up ugly cry.

The battle scenes are not drawn out in ridiculous ways. The majority of fights in books and film are way too long compared to the average length of a fight in real life. But in Hounded, I never felt that the battles were unrealistic in length. Also, there is more mental maneuvering at play here. I loved that. Some of the battles are those of wit. My favorite kind.

Also, since I’ve been pretty open on my blog before that I’m a Christian, I’d like to add one more. I appreciate the way my religion is acknowledged by Atticus. It is not my deity that he doesn’t care for, it’s the people (we, the followers) who are the problem. I actually couldn’t agree more on that point.

There are other things I could gush over, but spoilers. I loved this book. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series. Beyond that, I’m signing up for Kevin Hearne’s newsletter and will eagerly look for more of his work to devour.

Highly recommend.

 

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