Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles is one of the best things happening not just in the the universe of urban fantasy but in the publishing world tod...moreKevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles is one of the best things happening not just in the the universe of urban fantasy but in the publishing world today. With the seventh installment, Hearne graduates to hardcover where hopefully he'll find an even larger audience to appreciate the exploits of Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon.
A quick word of warning, however. If you haven't read the first six installments in this series, starting here is probably going to be a confusing experience. While Hearne wisely includes a quick refresher on events up until now, it's no where near as rewarding or as much fun as reading the actual novels themselves. (You will miss out on all the wonderful interaction between Atticus and Oberson, which is among the highlights of the series).
If you're caught up, odds are you've been eagerly awaiting Shattered. The good news is that Hearne has made it worth the wait. Picking up right where Hunted left off, the seventh installment gives us not one but three first-person narrators. As expected, we get chapters told from the viewpoint of Atticus but we also see events unfolding in the eyes of Granuale and the newly brought back to life Owen Kennedy (at least that's the modern equivalent of his Druid name).
Among the highlights of the latest installment in the series is the introduction of the Yeti and their love of ice hockey, Owen's attempts to integrate himself into our modern world and, of course, lots of great interaction between Atticus and Oberon. There's also some moving forward of various plot elements and call backs to the first couple of novels in this series and some interesting ground world put in place for the final several novels in this wonderful series. Hearne's storytelling assurance continues to grow with each novel and Shattered is among the best this on-going series has offered to date.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was given an ARC of this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program. And, yes, I eagerly snapped it up. If you're not reading this series yet, you should be. (less)
Jim Butcher's on-going Dresden Files has been one of the best things in the publishing world for a long time now. Each new book is a must read for me...moreJim Butcher's on-going Dresden Files has been one of the best things in the publishing world for a long time now. Each new book is a must read for me and I eagerly look forward to the moment I can crack the cover and spend a few hundred pages with my favorite wizard, Harry Dresden.
So maybe I had my expectations set a bit too high for the fifteenth installment, Skin Game.
It's not that Skin Game is a terrible book or a jump the shark moment for the series. But it just didn't quite thrill me as much as some of the other recent installments have.
In many ways, Skin Game is the Dresden Files' take on Ocean's 11. Harry's boss Mab loans him out as part of a team that is looking to pull off a heist from an underworld safe. The stakes are just a bit higher however than just stealing the (literal) holy Grail. Dresden is paying off Mab's debts and his own and failure is not an option.
Butcher does a nice job of pulling in a wide variety of familiar faces from the series and reminding us just what Harry stands to gain and lose should this particular assignment succeed or fail. The book also examines some of the impact and consequences of Harry's decision to become the Winter Knight and to wield the powers and responsibilities that come with that mantle. I have a feeling that Butcher is setting the stage for some other shoes to drop in future novels as well as tying up a few plot threads here so we can start building toward the end game of the series.
As I said before, this isn't a bad book. It's just not my favorite in the series. There's still a lot to love about our favorite wizard and his world and I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing what Butcher gives us next for Harry and his friends. The Dresden Files is still one of the best on-going series on the market today. (less)
Following up on the success of "Hounded," Kevin Hearne offers the second installment in the Iron Druid Chronicles.
The good news is that everyone I enj...moreFollowing up on the success of "Hounded," Kevin Hearne offers the second installment in the Iron Druid Chronicles.
The good news is that everyone I enjoyed from the first novel is back. After dispatching with a god in the past book, Atticus might think he's entitled to a bit of a breather. It's too bad the rest of the supernatural world doesn't agree with him. His vampire lawyer wants him to take out Thor, there's a new Bacchus cult running around town and then there's the matter of Atticus being caught in a tug of war between two supernatural women. Add in trying to train his new Druid apprentice and making sure Oberon has enough sausages and you've got all the makings of fun urban fantasy novel.
With "Hexed" you can see Hearne opening up the universe he introduced us to in "Hounded" a bit more. With a third book already in stores and a fourth yet to come, I'm hoping that we'll have several more years of exploring and expanding this universe. It really does feel like Hearne is putting some pieces on the board to come back to later.
"Hexed" is fast-paced, witty and a lot of fun to read. It won't revolutionize the urban fantasy genre, but it will keep you turning the pages. It's one of those books that I enjoyed every moment of, but ended up kicking myself because I consumed it too quickly. The good news is there's a third novel out there and I've already picked it up. The bad news is that once I've finished that one, it's a long wait until April for more.
On a side note, I will admit that while I love the series, the cover chosen aren't exactly the most reflective of what's inside. I want to see this series reach a wider audience (it's far preferable to the glut of vampire romance books out there thinly disguised as sci-fi and fantasy), but I'm afraid the covers may be a bit off-putting for fans browsing their local bookstore or library. (less)
Every once in a while as I browse the new releases area of the sci-fi and fantasy section of my local bookstore, I get depressed that a lot of it thes...moreEvery once in a while as I browse the new releases area of the sci-fi and fantasy section of my local bookstore, I get depressed that a lot of it these days is probably better defined as paranormal romance rather than actual sci-fi and/or fantasy novels. It seems like more and more if I want to find something truly new, unique and worth my time, recommendations from friends, rather real world or on-line, are far more fruitful and promising than anything the big-box book retailers are pushing these days.
Case in point--Kevin Hearne's "Hounded."
An urban fantasy in the tradition of the Dresden Files, "Hounded" is a fun, refreshing story about the last of the Druids, Atticus O’Sullivan. Atticus lives in Arizona, where he runs an occult used book store and runs with his shape-shifting friend Oberon. Atticus has in his possession a certain sword that a certain other ancient god would like back and the novel chronicles the attempt to retrieve it and the battle over it.
"Hounded" hooked me in from the first page with its sense of humor, style and wit and kept me turning the pages for the compelling story, well thought out universe and Oberon. Atticus is able to talk to Oberon telepathically and the conversations between the two (many centering on Oberon's love of sausage and his desire for French Poodles) are the highlight of the book.
Reading "Hounded" reminded me of the first installments of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. Atticus is a compelling, flawed hero and the novel feels like it's putting some elements into play for a larger universe that could unfold in future installments. The fact that three novels hit shelves in three months speaks well of the publisher's view of how well this series could go over. Easily one of the best urban fantasy novels of the year, "Hounded" is a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to more installments. (less)