OpenBookSociety.com 's Reviews > The Iron Druid Chronicles Bundle: Hounded, Hexed, Hammered

The Iron Druid Chronicles Bundle by Kevin Hearne
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Mar 27, 12


Review brought to you by OBS staff member Verushka

Beware of spoilers

The Iron Druid Chronicles is a series by author Kevin Hearne, and one of the very few I’ve found that has a male protagonist. I confess when I picked up this title, I was extremely tired of what has become the standard fare in the urban fantasy genre – female protagonist, clad (or almost) in leather, with a tattoo or weapon in hand on the cover, and more often than not a love interest that she may, or may not like. So, like Simon Green’s books are, this title was a breath of fresh air for me.

Atticus O’Sullivan is a 2100 year old druid and the last of his kind. He lives and owns a bookstore in Arizona, the kind likely to be filled with books on Wicca, as much as Buddhism, with a side business of an apocathary where he blends teas for his customers. That some of the teas might contain some Druid-healing herbs is something he doesn’t share.

All in all, you wouldn’t give him another glance if you passed him on the street, unless as the covers of these book show, you have a serious crush on Alex Pettyfer lookalikes.

When the first book opens, we are introduced to Atticus, as well as the various Celtic Gods he happens to pray and interact with – Morrigan, Birghid, Bres, and the thorn in his side for the past 2100 years, Aenghus Og, the Celtic God of Love. Despite the title, Aenghus does anything but spread love.

Atticus, unfortunately, is on said God’s bad side because he stole a sword Aenghus had bequeathed to a long ago Irish King. The king happened to lose said sword in a battle, and which Atticus picked up. As a result, he’s been running and hiding ever since. When the sword is capable of forcing people to tell the truth, among other nice talents, it’s worth hiding out in an effort to keep it.

The first book in this series begins with Aenghus has finally decided to move against Atticus in an effort to regain the sword, for the benefit of his own dealings with other Gods. Finally tired of running, Atticus stands his ground and goes to battle with Aenghus and his minions. This is a tale of Atticus trying to weave his way through double-talk and double-crossings of his Godesses, each out for their own ends, and a witches coven he thought were his allies, after a fashion. Instead he finds them trying to manipulate him for Aenghus’ ends, and more double-crosses are revealed, the culmination of which is a battle with Aenghus, with the town’s werewolf pack at his back.

Did I mention that his lawyer during the day happens to be a werewolf, and his lawyer at night happens to be a vampire? And yes, Atticus is likely to get into trouble day or night to need them.

I have to confess I am restraining myself from writing: Go read this now! Go read every Iron Druid title NOW – the books are just that good, that funny and much better than so many other titles out there today. The first in the series, Hounded, is an excellent beginning, tying Atticus’ introduction to readers to the very thing that has shaped him over his lifetime – the theft of the sword, and his fight with Aenghus.

Atticus is extremely self-assured, after staying alive for 2100 years, he would have to be. I think too many other titles in this genre featuring characters with long lives left me expecting a darker, angstier Atticus, but Hearne never loses that humor in Atticus’ voice. This is a character that enjoys his life, and the trappings of it, including his Irish Wolfhound, Oberon.

Oberon is a gem, and if anything the funniest creation in the books. Atticus can communicate with Oberon because of his Druid magic, and Oberon’s devastatingly simple and funny take on things made me laugh out loud more than once. Together, their conversations provide the most humorous, witty banter I’ve read in a long time (Just try and not laugh out loud at Oberon’s last line of the book.)

Like the first book, the next titles, Hexed and Hammered, expand Atticus’ world to include a vast array of characters, including Jesus. I am cautious when religion appears in a title like this, but this is funny, not heavy-handed and fits in with the tone of the book so very well, that I kind of wish Jesus comes back in the future titles.

But, I digress. These books do that – there are so many things I want to write about, it’s hard to stick with any one thing. So back to the characters – like Jesus, there are Celtic and Norse Gods and Goddesses (and don’t use superhero movies as your base for these guys), a vampire (night) lawyer and his werewolf (day) lawyer. There are witches, and the spirit of one particular witch that gains Atticus an inititate, Granuaile.

Looking at the different characters that are introduced, it’s entirely understandable that not all will get the attention they deserve in a story, but Kevin Hearne manages to make each one stand out and leave an impression on the reader for however many pages they stick around. This is a genre that is filled with possibilities for characters, and I think it’s far too easy to over-populate a story with characters that deserve more than an author is willing to give.

Overall, these books are now at the top of my “Must Read” book list – they’re funny, witty and quite simple a joy to read.

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message 1: by Sandra (last edited May 30, 2012 02:20AM) (new)

Sandra Had no idea who Alex Pettyfer was so I went and looked. There is a definite resemblance but I think Gene Mollica's Atticus is much better looking because he's not so polished, he looks...real. Teenage girls wouldn't follow him in the streets squealing, lol. People like Pettyfer can't walk down the street without drawing a crowd and I think Atticus could, even though he is better looking. Just a personal preference of course, but I think Mollica's interpretation was sheer genius.

Your review is so right on. 'Go read this now!' pretty much sums it up I think. My only minor beef? I wouldn't exactly call Atticus a thief. Did the Morrigan not order him to take the sword? Would you buck the Morrigan? Not me. I dinna want to be live food for a supernatural crow, especially a sadistic one. They are quite simply a joy to read, just as you said, and I also share Atticus and Kevin's love of the Big Unit (Randy Johnson) and baseball. Any book that makes me laugh out loud is awesome. One that can make me laugh and cry? Priceless The DH has wanted an Irish Wolfhound since he saw a pair at the park. If we could get one like Oberon, I'd go for it! Thank you for a great review. I really hope we spread the word far enough that they decide to reissue in hardback. I would love to have them all in that format. ~~ShariSez


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