Regina's Reviews > Hounded

Hounded by Kevin Hearne
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's review
Oct 24, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: urban-fantasy-uf, audio-also-listened-to, first-in-series, funny-stuff, listened-to-audio-only, have-in-audio
Read from October 19 to 24, 2011

2.75 stars. I listened to the audio version and the narration was good. I plan to listen to #2.

Okay, I feel sort of like the odd woman out here. Most of my goodreads friends loved this book and are gushing about it. But I just did not see what was so special about this book. I feel bad writing this review and saying this, but no this book is not a favorite.

Okay, the good things first. The writing is solid in Hounded and the pacing is good. The characters are interesting. There is not any chapter that drags or is slow. This is a unique thing in this genre, particularly for a first book! I went into this book with high expectations and I have learned that is usually not going to be a good thing for the book I am reading, with a few exceptions. This review concentrates on what disappointed me about this book. It seems that lately, with a few exceptions, it is hard for me to read an urban fantasy book and not find problems with the plot or storyline. I did enjoy the book somewhat, so ……

This book reads to me like “urban fantasy lite”. The character development is not overly deep, the relationships are not thoroughly flushed out, and the plot is pretty simplistic: (view spoiler) Hearne tells the readers rather than shows them the world building and the history of the characters. And he utilizes Atticus’s conversations with people he meets as a method to do this. I just find this as a weak plot device to teach the readers and further the plot. Plus it just isn’t as interesting. My favorite urban fantasy books have characters who have access to power or have supernatural traits, but they can only wield their power with a heavy cost. That makes sense to me and the cost seems to balance things. Books such as Mercy Thompson by Briggs and the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher are great examples of this. Power is not easy to come by. And those that carry such power, not only have to make sacrifices but they also wear heavy battle scars – emotionally and physically. Well, there are no such costs or scars in this book. Atticus (the hero) appears to have access to an unending source of power and quite a bit of supernatural support – but at what cost? None, so it appears. Sleeping on the grass? Breathing fresh air? Those things are not a true cost. I never doubted that Atticus would win/succeed/make it away fast. I enjoy wondering in my books if everything will work out and I like it when authors surprise me sometimes and not all works out. Suspense and tension are a positive for me in books I read. For me, this book had neither.

Atticus has been alive for 21 centuries, he references (view spoiler) yet he is light hearted and does not appear to be affected by the passage of time or the loss of those he loved. He acts like a man from this time period, he acts like maybe not a 21 year old, but a 28 year old. He loves watching sports on Sunday? He loves Kevin Costner movies? I just found this not to be believable. I also thought it was a weak plot device to have Atticus surprised and manipulated so easily. For example, (view spoiler) This openness and lack of vetting people wasn’t consistent with a guy who had been alive for 21 centuries. I saw that they were not trustworthy early on and I am much younger than Atticus. I understand why Kevin Hearne used these characters in a way to titillate and then surprise the readers, but couldn’t have it been done in a more convincing way? Oddly enough (perhaps this says more about me than the book), I just did not think the book was too funny. It might just be me, but I don’t think it is funny to get revenge on a neighbor by sending your dog over to poop on his lawn, repeatedly. Yes, I know the neighbor was mean and reported him to the police. But hey, in the neighbor’s defense usually the stuff reported was dangerous and illegal. And then to talk about the revenge tactic, repeatedly, just not funny for me. Nor do I think it is funny to read dialogue that includes making fun of the way somebody looks. I understand that the witch really didn’t look that beautiful and was wearing fake skin, but why go there? But I may just be uptight. Another example of mean humor that I just did not enjoy, was the giving of wedgies to the paramedic. Why was Atticus doing this? Why is this funny? The entire discussion of suing the police was ridiculous. Atticus knows that he has committed crimes by modern day standards. The police are rightly investigating Atticus. And then Atticus learns (view spoiler) Why would he sue them? Just for revenge and money? When in reality, the policy either had no control over their actions and/or were acting on legitimate tips! This entire discussion was really distasteful for me, yes sue when you have been wronged but this wasn’t one of those situations.

What I liked about the book. The pacing is fast, it is refreshing to read an urban fantasy from a male point of view, the cast of characters – despite being one dimensional, a few were interesting and I want to know more about them. I plan on moving on to Book 2, because, well I bought it, I signed up for a buddy read and I am slightly intrigued as to whether the series will get stronger. Many urban fantasy books start out with a great premise, like this book, and need a few books to get really strong. So because it was not a bad book and because I somewhat enjoyed it, I will read it again.

I recommend this book to people who are interested in a light read.
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Reading Progress

04/02 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

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Katie I am really enjoying this...

Regina Me too! I saw that you were reading it. I am doing the audio. You?

Katie No, I wish. Then I could listen right now... I love the crazy neighbor and the lawyers - what a hoot?

message 4: by Tika (new) - added it

Tika Can't wait to hear what you think of it, Regina. I've been wanting to read this for a while.

Regina I only just started, I am not there yet. The morganna just visited him.

Regina It is a short book Tika! So I will post a review soon I am guessing. :)

Katie i have morganna pictured as a erotic grimreaper goddess, there has to be a lot of history with atticus and hasn't come out - i am just betting on it though

Beanbag Love Regina, I just finished this book about a half hour ago! Great review -- I felt the same way you did. I felt the protagonist kept himself apart emotionally from the reader and I never fully connected with him somehow. Good, funny writing, but I wanted some more oomph, I think. Not sure if I'll continue. Maybe I'll look for your review before deciding. :D

message 9: by Regina (last edited Oct 24, 2011 02:27PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Regina You said succinctly, what I couldn't say in several paragraphs -- the progratonist kept himself apart emotionally. Very funny about the timing. I think we finished at the exact same time!

Katie he dog/neighbor antics were not one of the highlights, nor the wedgie scene - I had actually forgotten about that...I was in need of serious comic relief. I am reading Frankenstein for Halloween!!! It is completely dry - so it must have been a perfectly timed read for me. Beanbag...this is true; you never got a feel for Atticus - did we?

message 11: by Beanbag (last edited Oct 24, 2011 04:16PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beanbag Love @Regina: great minds, right?

RE: not connecting - I think one problem I had with him was that he kept reminding the reader that he's so old that a lot of things don't affect him all that much. So he sees/does some horrific things and just kind of smirkily describes them. No impact. Then, when something supposedly really makes him mad I can't be suddenly engaged.

One of the things I love about Jim Butcher's writing is that, while Harry (Dresden from the Dresden Files) makes a lot of jokes, he is also very emotionally engaged in the action. He does/sees just as many horrific things as Atticus does, but he (and subsequently the reader) is strongly affected by all of them. It makes a big difference in how much I invest in the story.

Regina Beanbag, exactly. Butcher shows us with action and scenes as to what is happening, we read Harry's deliberations and struggles. And because we have an indepth view of all the characters involved, we understand the ramifications to the Dresden world and Harry as to each decision.

I really wish the first few of Dresden were stronger than they are, so many people stop with the series. Too bad Butcher can't somehow do a do-over.

message 13: by Tika (new) - added it

Tika Good, honest review, Regina. Thanks!

Regina Thank you Tika. :)

Lisa Kay Uh oh, I have the audiobook on hold/request at the library. I'm not into mean humor either. Maybe it is a male thing. Great review, Regina. Maybe I'll take myself out of the loop and sign up for it again later. When I want some revenge on somebody, LOL!

Regina Lisa Kay, I am in the severe minority here. I admit to being super sensitive on this stuff. Yesterday I friended several other people on GR who had similar opinions as I did, but I think in general most women and men liked this book and the narration. I say give it a try.

I could have given the humor a pass, but the other aspects also dragged it down -- like the lack of emotional connection and the super ease with Atticus accmoplished everything in Hearne's world.

message 17: by Kara (new) - added it

Kara Again, thanks for the thorough reviewing Regina!
A lite UF read...

message 18: by Kat (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kat Your review and a lot of the following commentary hit on a lot of the same things I felt while reading the book. Glad I'm not the only one!

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