Kevin Hearne creates the ultimate Atticus O’Sullivan adventure in the grand finale of the New York Times bestselling Iron Druid Chronicles: an epic battle royale against the Norse gods of Asgard.
Unchained from fate, the Norse gods Loki and Hel are ready to unleash Ragnarok, a.k.a. the Apocalypse, upon the earth. They’ve made allies on the darker side of many pantheons, and there’s a globe-spanning battle brewing that ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan will be hard-pressed to survive, much less win.
Granuaile MacTiernan must join immortals Sun Wukong and Erlang Shen in a fight against the Yama Kings in Taiwan, but she discovers that the stakes are much higher than she thought.
Meanwhile, Archdruid Owen Kennedy must put out both literal and metaphorical fires from Bavaria to Peru to keep the world safe for his apprentices and the future of Druidry.
And Atticus recruits the aid of a tyromancer, an Indian witch, and a trickster god in hopes that they’ll give him just enough leverage to both save Gaia and see another sunrise. There is a hound named Oberon who deserves a snack, after all.
Kevin is the NYT bestselling author of the Iron Druid Chronicles, as well as The Seven Kennings, an epic fantasy trilogy, and the Tales of Pell, a humorous fantasy series co-authored with Delilah S. Dawson. INK & SIGIL, a new urban fantasy series set in the Iron Druid universe, will be out in 2020.
This was a bit of a sad ending for a series which I have previously enjoyed very much. I liked some of it but wish the author had not gone for the three separate story lines. It really did not work and all I could think of was that the three Druids should have been there together for the battle that could end the world. Why were they playing around with fancy tea, Monkey kings and talking sloths (don't ask!) when they should have been out there helping to bring down Loki.
And the ending was really upsetting for anyone who has spent the last eight books with Atticus. I must admit to never liking Granuaile since she first appeared and boy did she prove me right! That really was kicking a man when he was down!
I am giving this three stars even when it should really be only two just because I enjoyed the rest of the series so much, and I am trying to dwell on the positive parts of the last chapter instead of just thinking 'poor Atticus'. This was not a good way to finish a popular series.
The only good parts were with Owen and Oberon. Even though I adore Atticus I was so over him blaming himself for every bad thing that happened in the past!
Editing from one star to two stars after 8 hours of sleep and some time to think about it. I did really enjoy parts so I can't rightfully rate this one star. The ending has such a huge impact on my overall feeling of a book, though, and I just thought the battle was anticlimactic, rushed and the ending was completely awful. Sooo not a way to finish a series, one that was an all-time favorite of mine!
That is the main thought that is continually running through my mind as I sit here and think about the ending to this series.
***THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD.......Do not go on if you have not read the book******
Yes - the series had to end. Yes- the series might have even gone a book or two passed where it should have ended. Yes - Atticus screwed up.
Now that those things are out of the way, so the f***what? He is human (well, for the most part). He has lived an EXTRAORDINARILY long life. Of course there are going to be mistakes in that lifetime. And - because of who he is and the power and abilities that he has - those mistakes are going to be a LOT bigger than things that you or I could screw up. Well, in this I am talking about normal people - not psychopaths or serial killers. It only stands to reason that if he dealt with deities, the Fae, the gods from every Pantheon, Jesus, Coyote (and that's only in this book) on a normal basis......that when he screwed up - it was going to be a doozy.
Am I excusing things? Not really. One of Atticus' greatest traits is that he has a wonderful heart. He TRIES to do the right thing. He is also self aware and KNOWS when he has screwed up. And he definitely screwed up quite a bit. Those without conscience are those who have no guilt. And we all know that Atticus felt guilt...a whole heaping amount of it.
Okay- so enough about that. He screwed up and he was dealt with....severely. I can almost understand that. (well, even that pissed me off, but I get it...sort of) Does it make me happy - no. But, he didn't complain, he didn't make excuses, he took what he thought was his due.
What pisses me off - more than I can even put down in words is the unbelievable actions of THAT BITCH Granuaile. Atticus did everything for her. He trained her, he took care of her, he LOVED her, he brought her into his life and how does she repay that? On the day that his ENTIRE life falls apart, she leaves him. And because that is not shitty enough, she can not even stay with him until the gods of the Pantheon have left him and he is safe. She leaves him wounded and bleeding and armless in enemy territory with the people who hurt him (and those who allowed it ) so that she can go home (to HIS home) and get some of his things to pour salt in the wound. She makes it clear that on this day, the worst day of his life - that he cannot even go back to HIS HOME!!!
He is trying to be tough - he has to be in unspeakable pain - and he is trying his best to not show weakness in from of the asshole Pantheon gods. I'm sure all he wanted at that point was to go home....where he felt the safest.... to be able to lick his wounds and try to figure out what the heck just happened.
What a freaking selfish bitch. She leaves him, without a place to go - without even making sure that he will safely make it to wherever he ends up going. Oh my gosh - it makes me mad just typing this. The freaking nerve of her!!! And why? Because she's pissed off that he cared enough about her to try to keep her safe? Oh the horror. He loved her enough to try to protect her...yep- he definitely should have been shot for that. To be forward thinking enough to try to prepare for the contingency that if he died (which he fully expected to) that his death would not be the end of the Druids. Ugh. I wish she had died in the battle.
The sad thing is that if she didn't love him anymore, well, life happens. If she didn't want to be with him - then she had every right to break up with him. I'm not arguing that at all. She could do whatever she wanted to do regarding the relationship. But my gosh...COMMON DECENCY , geez, even just common courtesy, would entail at least helping him. Getting him somewhere safe and taking care of his wounds. Wouldn't you do that for a friend? She was so freaking self centered that all she thought about was her PETTY issues. Her timing SUCKED. she really must have hated him.
He loved her so much that he thought about a future with her - children with her- but he wasn't selfish enough to think that it was possible because he knew that she still had a lifetime ahead of her. He CARED enough about her to think of HER needs and she didn't even LIKE him enough to make sure he was safe. And then, she has the freaking gall to pop in (while he is STILL in the clothes with blood on them) and give him his things and say "See ya". And then she left to go back to HIS HOUSE. What a bitch. A selfish, spoiled, uncaring horrible person. Unbelievable.
I was trying to think if I ever remembered Atticus crying? We all know that he has had so many things happen to him in his lifetime; he has lost so many people that he loved and cared about and he has had to deal with pain regularly, but she hurt him. Badly. He cried for her, for what she did to him. And then she had the audacity to say "maybe later things will be different" Who the hell does she think she is? No fuc***g way!
Ugh, I could go on, but I am even irritating myself. If my family or my kids saw this post they would be in shock. I do not cuss...at all, ever. But, for some reason I can not even think of words that are strong enough for what I am feeling. I truly am even shocking myself.
In retrospect, Kevin Hearne has done a really great job as a writer if he can invoke such feelings from me with his characters. I guess that in these past few years, that I have developed a great sense of admiration for Atticus and his trials and tribulations. I respect him and love the relationship that he has with those he cares about - especially Oberon. I suppose that my feelings of hurt came out of the blue and I was hurt FOR Atticus. That - when it comes right down to it - is the result of a great writer who has developed an even greater character. I will miss the two of them (Atticus and Oberon) I will also say that if Mr. Hearne ever does decide to write a continuation of their story, or even a novella...DON'T YOU DARE INCLUDE GRANUAILE! I for one, will never forgive those actions and I would hope that if there is any future, it shows how Atticus was able to overcome the atrocities that were done to him and ends up with an even better life than he ever had before. That would be the greatest revenge.
What the heck happened to this series? I've looked at the earlier books, and they're so good... Is Mr. Hearne even writing this? Has the person who's writing this read the earlier books?
Where are the Gun wielding Draugar from book 5? Fand's rebellion, a MAIN hidden plot thread of an entire 2-3 book arc (remember Atticus almost dying to a Manticore?, the issues with Pandamonium?), is fixed by having a chair destroyed. That's it. All she wanted is a chair destroyed. What the hell? And now she's dead, so we don't even deal with that.
Owen's sections were good. The rest was a disturbing mix of complete childishness (Oberon's sections were good comic relief, but now there's entire chapters devoted to trips to the store to make the dogs a special meal, as opposed to a paragraph or too), and odd SJW preaching (seriously, the hell summoner in Poland is a very angry Pimpled teenager, and it's good he's dead because he'll be happier that way than alive?)
If you told me another author wrote books 6-9, I would believe you.
I'm amazed, satisfied, filled with humor and equal dismay.
*wail* This is the end of the Iron Druid. The story of Atticus is done. *wail*
Fortunately, this last book is a wildly good ride, featuring a better Hel and Loki from some movies we've seen, a Ragnarok with full pantheons of the Greek and the Fae on board, as well as a number of great cameos from Jesus, Coyote, and the Monkey King.
This is one hell of a big blowout and it's time for Atticus to account for starting it.
And then there's the Oak Druid's sloth. I can't tell you how much I love her. I think Owen (Atticus's old teacher) is a pretty awesome dude. :) Hopping around the trees with his new friend and talking about bananas as power pills for monkeys is pretty sweet. :) Especially as an aside DURING THE WAR TO END ALL WARS. :)
I can see why the series needs to wrap up but it doesn't stop me from being sad. I am actually very satisfied with how it turned out.
As someone else has already said... "This book deserves all the wags!"
As someone who loves every one of the Iron Druid series. This one was a disappointment. I felt like Kevin Hearne just wanted the series to end and didn't care how he did it. I know he says that 9 is a special number in irish mythology. I know that he wanted to move onto something new. Still give us a decent ending and not a mashup that felt like a first draft.
I loved this series. I recommended it to anyone who would listen. Not any more. I cannot adequately describe how frustrated, angry, and betrayed I feel over the ending. I. HATE. IT.
Oh, it's cleverly done. Everything was "fixed" in the end. It's all neat, tidy, and incredibly unfair. "But Jason, it's a lesson. The world isn't fair, it's his only way out, and maybe there's hope for peace and happiness... so says Jesus! It was prophesied!" Well, fuck that noise!
They're worthy goals, to be sure, but you violated the social contract, Kevin. You give us a scrappy, "just tryin' to make it" -kind of guy who kicks arse but runs away since he's been alone for 2,000 years and massively outgunned on every front, and then "teach" him a lesson... at the very end... after he's won... for hubris against a bunch of gods no reader likes and should have been knocked down a peg or two...?
There's so much wrong there, I don't have the words... just rage for the way it ended.
UPDATE (one year later + spelling/formatting fixes): Yup. Still angry. The edge has dulled a tiny bit, but the deep-seated anger over the ending is still red-hot. And he asked us to check out his next book at the end? Pfft, yeah right!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Let me start off by saying I can see what he was attempting to do here. When you have a nine book series hoping around the world all leading up to the end of the world, you're going to want to create and 'epic' finally bring in all the characters met along the way. Hearne just does a really poor job of executing it. Several times he has massive threats neutralized swiftly and easily.
Characters do die through the course of the book, but at no time does he explore the impact those deaths should have on those around them. It's like he thinks just noting their deaths is enough (Not to mention a lot of deaths are meaningless since deities tend to respawn).
There are also various other threats that pop up that the secondary characters deal with that have little to no connection with the main plot. These secondary plots are needless distractions from the main story line and also very low threat to both the characters and the world (it's a plot point that these are pointless low threat events). WAY too much time is spent on these side plots. (Also, I've noticed the more time Hearne spends on these characters, the more Granuaile, Owen and Atticus's personalities blend together and they all become essentially the same character. Owen even ends up with a sloth at some point who's personality slowly morphs into Oberon 2.0.
It's all so anti-climactic. The events entirely lack impact and peril, at no point did it feel like they had a chance of loosing. This CLIMACTIC FINAL BOOK is actually the dullest in the series. :(
A complete failure all around unfortunately. Here's how I would fix the plot line:
Kevin Hearne wraps up his very entertaining Iron Druid series nicely, binding together the myriad strands of myth, legend and urban fantasy that made this all so fun. Like all the others, Hearne’s underlying humor, some of it corny, was also in good form and for the most part, this was one of the better stories.
Ragnarok has come down on us from the old Norse myths and Atticus and his confederacy of Norse, Celtic, Fae and other pantheons team up to put Loki and Hel back in their place.
Beginning with a summary of the story up to this point, touching on the high points of the earlier books and shorter works, Hearne begins his tale with Atticus, Granuaile and Owen all over the globe handling this international and otherworldly event. Rounding up help for the epic clash was a big part of the first part of the book and in doing so, Hearne revisited many of the series most memorable and intriguing characters. This almost had the feel of the last Seinfeld episode, and there was almost even an allusion to the soup Nazi (but that could also just be me casting my own thoughts on a scene).
I’ve really enjoyed the series, Hearne’s writing and his imagination. He’s done a lot for the urban / contemporary fantasy sub-genre and has become one of my favorite authors. Is it really the end?
Well, that’s it. After nine books, we’ve finally reached the end of the road.
Reading this series has been among the most fun I’ve ever had reading. Hearne has spun a wonderful tale with an amazing cast of characters. So many of these characters have come to feel like friends and even family. Atticus, our main character, has gotten into some terrible scrapes throughout the series, and everything he’s done comes to a head in this book. The time has come to take responsibility for the many things he has done. It’s a time of Ragnarok and reckoning for Atticus O’Sullivan, and he’s bound and determined to face it alone. He sequesters those he cares about in other corners of the globe with ohterjobs while he faces down the impending end of the world. That decision comes back to bite him, as well.
By this point in the series there are few other names I can mention without even the names themselves being spoilers, but I can mention Oberon. He remains an absolute pleasure to read. I love how Hearne was able to give Oberon such a unique, distinctive voice. Never in any book series have I come across an animal character more vibrant and important to the plot of his story than Oberon. He’s just as important a character as any of the human characters in the series, if not more so. Oberon provides much needed comic relief, and is always a comfort to Atticus. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as present in this book as he has been in previous installments, and that was one of the few things that kept this from being a perfect conclusion to the series.
Speaking of comic relief, Hearne introduced a new character in this book that I would pay money to get some short stories about. Owen, another Druid (I don’t think his name is a spoiler) meets a new friend while in the Amazon. Her name is Slomonomobrodolie, or Slomo for short. In case you couldn’t guess from the name, she’s a sloth. She’s also hands down the most delightful creature I’ve ever come across in literature. She’s a treasure, and Owen sees her as such. He wants to travel the world with her, and I dearly hope that Hearne decides to write down a few of those adventures some day.
I thought I was going to be furious at the ending of the book until the final epilogue (yes, there’s more than one), but thankfully Hearne ended things in a way I could accept. It’s a bittersweet ending. There’s pain and joy intermingled, and the hope of beauty arising from ashes. It was an ending that didn’t leave me satisfied exactly, but I can get behind it. It was actually an ending, which seems like an uncommon thing for the genre. But also, it was a beginning, and I thought there were whiffs of loveliness in it. I really respect what Hearne created with this series, and I think the finished product has more than earned a spot on my favorites shelf.
One final thing I have to say: I can’t recommend the audiobooks for this series enough. Luke Daniels in an auditory treasure, and he more than does these books justice. The variety of voices he utilizes for the characters is amazing, and you can tell as soon as he starts speaking whose perspective we’re getting. This wasn’t just someone reading a book out loud; it was a performance in every sense of the word. If you’ve never tried listening to an audiobook before, this series would be a fabulous entry point.
It’s with a heavy heart that I come to the end of this series. I’ve loved every minute of it, and can honestly say that Kevin Hearne is now among my favorite authors. If you’re looking for a series that will make you laugh out loud and possibly cry just a little bit, look no further. The Iron Druid Chronicles is incredibly entertaining, and you won’t regret picking it up.
I am so disappointed by this book. Like, incredibly so. Let me list the disappointments, with minor but minimal spoilers:
Disappointment 1: The size. At the font size I was reading at, it was 248 pages long... including copyright, pronunciation guides, and all that. 250 pages for the epic final book of a 9 book series is incredibly small.
Disappointment 2: The pace. The book is almost entirely composed of brief "and now this is happening over here" chapters. There's very little where all the characters are together doing things; everyone's off doing their own separate thing and only briefly meeting up to deus ex machina for another character.
Disappointment 3: The deaths. (No spoilers). Death is big. Huge, even. The death of an important character is supposed to be a powerful motivating force on other characters--but it wasn't in this book. Several times, a major character dies with minimal impact beyond "oh noes, he was important!" The deaths felt meaningless.
Disappointment 4: Anticlimactic battles. The plot of the book, as has been advertised for several books now, is the actual, literal Ragnarok. Minor spoilers: multiple big, badass bad guys go down in one page or less each, at multiple points in the story. Spoilers: Two of them go down from getting poked once by one of the good guy's magic macguffins, and several of the big badass good guys go down after getting hit once with one of several of the bad guy's magic mcguffins. Someone's throwing fire so far that it literally shows up halfway across the world at some point, and it's treated like it's no big deal.
Disappointment 5: The forced pop culture humor. I have defended this series to others over the humor quite a bit, but this is just way too much. There's no wit, just an absurd obsession with bubble tea and shoehorned in pop culture references.
Disappointment 6: The cast. Aside from the core group of druids, we basically don't meet anyone we know very well. None of the major characters from the past books show up. Lief isn't scheming. Gunnar and Hal aren't back, even though the rest of the Einherjar show up. Only one of the werewolves are involved, and even then only as a side character. The witches are there for a few pages. There's some minor development with Manannan, Fand, and Brighid, but even that's got a forced-in Fae orgy to ruin it. Laksha's there briefly, but we only get to see the end result of a conversation that happened offscreen, in which it becomes apparent that Atticus is still an obnoxious ass willing to let literally anyone do his dirty work as long as it means he doesn't have to.
Disappointment 7: The ending. There's very little I can say here that won't be significant spoilers, so I'll keep it to a minimum: The Morrigan shows up and attempts to get Atticus to kill himself so that she can replace something very spoilery for him (and I don't mean "heal his injuries"), and then Atticus bullies and manipulates her into doing something for him that basically completely undoes all the bad things that just happened as a result of Ragnarok. (I'm editing this review to make a clarification: the bad things that happened *to him* undone. Not all the bad things.)
In short: There's very little good about this book. It doesn't feel like an Iron Druid novel; it feels like the author wrote an outline for a three-book capstone trilogy and then decided to squeeze all of that into a large novella, cutting characters and interaction by the page at a time to make that happen.
As they say, I wish I could give this book ZERO stars.
What a sanctimonious, sniveling, pissant end to what WAS an excellent series. One of my favorites in nearly 60 years of reading, destroyed by Pecksniffian bullshit.
Had I known that Hearne was going to reduce one of my all time favorite characters into a neutered, puling, shadow man in a hair shirt, I'd not have wasted a minute of my time, or my money on his books, and certainly won't make that mistake again. Apparently, Atticus should have humped and dumped Granuaile, who will never find happiness, not wasted time making friends with anyone for that matter, and certainly never trusted anyone, since they'll either stab him in the back or he'll get blamed for their bad decisions. He should have just cut his own throat since the vampires want him dead and he can't stand alone against tens of thousands of them. How DARE he defend himself against fairies who are trying to kill him, or refuse lay down and die for that bitch Fand.
Hearne dhould have called this farce 'The Second Crucifiction'. At least Jesus got a choice about taking on the sins of the world.
I learned to read 57 years ago. In those years I've read many thousands of books. Never have I hated one as much as I hate this.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Druid series but I am afraid Scourged left me cold. The final Ragnarok battle felt totally disjointed and jumbled. Whilst the main character did warrant some payback for some of his decisions in earlier books the various outcomes were at the same time unexpected and overkill.
Overall the entire book felt like the author was running out of steam and was trying to gather up all the loose ends and finalise each one in what turned out a very amateurish fashion.
I think his mind must have been more focused on getting his new book series off the ground rather than bringing the Druid series to a better and more polished conclusion.
Very disappointed both that the series ended and that it in ended in such a fashion, the Druid deserved more!
I award this book 1 billion wagging dog tails for a fulfilling, unexpected finale to what has been one of my favorite series.
Some spoiler-y thoughts on "the Granuaile situation": (read at your own peril)
Remember a few books back when Atticus, ignoring the advice of his good friend Jesus, made a few poor decisions and set off the events of Ragnarök? It's time to pay the piper.
Told in quick, shotgun-blast chapters from the viewpoint of Atticus, Owen, and Granuaile, the events of Scourged cover a relatively short period of time -- perhaps even less than a day. (Can anyone verify this for me?) As Loki initiates the violence of Ragnarök, other baddies around the world decide to take advantage of the chaos to wreak a little havoc of their own. The three druids and some heroes of world pantheons rise up to meet them, culminating in an epic battle against Loki.
(You will snicker a little at the wager that the gods and goddesses have going on who will be the one to finally slay Loki.)
Several figures from the past play a part in the finale, but the hounds are noticeably absent. Hardcore Oberon fans will miss him, but who brings their pet to the battleground? Not Atticus. Don't forget to read Oberon's Meaty Mysteries if you need a hit.
And speaking of animals, Owen makes his own furry friend, and I keep thinking about it throughout the day and internally squeeing a little.
For a fun fantasy romp of a series, it doesn't shy away from harsh losses and the need for atonement. Not all of the good guys make it out alive, and not all of the living survive unscathed. Atticus is forced to reckon with the knowledge that he is responsible for much of it.
The series did not end the way I anticipated it, and I doubt many other readers will see the ending coming, either. I'm pretty confident this is the last book Mr. Hearne has planned for Atticus. But you still see future adventures for him off in the distance, and can imagine him and his doggos off saving the world and speaking in the Irish accent he has reclaimed for himself.
Scourged seems to be an exercise in self flagellation for all involved: for the main character, a contest of how much guilt can be achieved and how many terrible things can happen (that he can then blame himself for); for the writer, to see just how much he can pile into this story that doesn't fit with the rest of the series while minimizing page count; for the reader, to see just how much of all of the above while stretching the bounds of believability (in a genre entitled 'fantasy', this is quite the accomplishment) can be withstood before putting the book down for the final time. While I'm sure that it could have been worse, absent some form of Scrappy-Doo crossover plot, I'm not quite sure how that could be achieved.
In fact, about the only redeeming part of this book might be the potential for a new Vendetta Series: The Dark Iron Druid Chronicles wherein Atticus gets exquisitely dark revenge on EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER IN THIS BOOK, with only the debatable exception of Owen. The potential for fanfic stories detailing this revenge might outstrip the potential for Mr. Hearne to write it, though, given just how thoroughly he messed this one up. It's that bad. Ethan Frome is a more worthwhile investment of time, money, effort, and emotion, and as an English teacher himself, Mr. Hearne should know just how high (low?) that particular bar is to clear.
SPOILERS AHEAD. In order to clearly enumerate and illustrate my top 3 problems with this book, it is necessary that several major plot points will be discussed. Thus, here's the spoiler warning in advance. ***SPOILERS AHEAD***
- In past books, the battle scenes have been exquisitely detailed, nuanced, and filled with action for all characters. This book is not. Atticus' battles with Anghus Og, Das Tochters Das Tritten, any Dark Elves, any Aesir (except the battle with the Norns), or even some of Granduaile's training battles were ALL better described, more richly experienced, and took longer to read/write than any single battle in Scourged. Battles in the Novellas were all better than these. Ragnarok turned out to be a GIGANTIC letdown; this is some Heart of Darkness level of buildup and letdown (pages and pages of exquisite description of how important and epic Kurtz is, but when he's found it's like 5 pages of him doing nothing but saying 'the horror, the horror' and dying). Jormungandr? Wasn't even a battle. Many others have illustrated the shortcomings of the battles before me, and I'll leave it to them.
- Granuaile's response to Atticus attempting to keep her safe from a battle he expected to die in, and to ensure Druidry could continue, was ridiculous. I was right there for Perun's response; he was used and treated as an object, not appreciated or loved. Granuaile? She gets so upset at being sent to an easier battle that reduced her threat level because Atticus couldn't bare to either let Druidry end or to see her hurt because he loved her so much... was cause to break up with him? Less than an hour after he lost his right arm (with all his tattoos, and their included powers and connection to Gaia) and WHILE HE'S STILL WEARING HIS BLOODSTAINED CLOTHES??? Seriously? Her response was so far beyond reasonability that it actually caused me to fail my suspension of disbelief... IN A FANTASY NOVEL. It's so out of character, so unbelievable, that in a story featuring a 2000+ year old Irish dude who does shots with Jesus and is on a first name basis with several deities who are all real with physical bodies and dozens of different types of magic that obeys made-up rules, it was a PLOT POINT that made me go "that's just too unrealistic to be believable". Let that sink in. Look, I know a potential relationship with the Morrigan was always a more compelling thing to explore, even after she quasi-died (as the series has proven, death is no obstacle in the long run) - and that if that were to happen, the relationship with Granuaile would have to end. Granuiale as a character has always been poorly written in first person perspective but well done from other characters perspectives - well done enough to leave the reader attached and invested DESPITE just how badly written she is in first person... but this was so bad that I can unequivocally say that killing her off would have been better. Killing Atticus would have been better. Killing Oberon would have been better. Killing all three would have been better. Killing Granuaile before the battle, or even having him break up with her before the battle would have been better. ALL would have been more believable. She knows that he lost Tahirah in battle and that it nearly destroyed him - and she's so surprised and betrayed that he would seek to sideline her to a different battle than his so that he wouldn't witness her death (and perhaps be killed the same way Manannan Mac Lir was, which was just a revolting and another unbelievable part of the story, but this review is already too long), pushed her to break up with him after HE was betrayed by his own pantheon, the Norse, the Greeks, the Romans, and everyone but Coyote in such a way as to destroy his connection to Gaia and his ability to be a Druid in an unfair fight? BS. The pettiness of the gods has always been a theme, but so has some of their humanity and redeeming qualities... and he throws it ALL away with that battle. Freyja would force the battle when he was wounded, the earth beneath him drained from the battle, and without his weapon? That THOR would have more honor than literally any other deity on that battlefield? Sorry - the numerous ways in which this story breaks character, breaks believability, and breaks with reasonability... just too much. Way, way too much.
- There is no way Atticus could reasonably conclude that everything happening was his fault. There is so, SO much effort spent droning on and on about how everything is his fault and he sees everything as his fault... and not only is it unbelievable and unreasonable (as well as out of character), it's so annoying and heavy handed that it might be even more damaging to the story/book than Granuaile's breaking up with him, taking his house, separating their dogs, and lecturing him about it. If it's anyone's fault, it's Thor's. If not Thor, it would be Lief. If not Lief, it would be the Norse. The Norns were killed in self defense, and Atticus had absolutely NO trouble with that at any point. He was there to steal an apple, they tried to kill him, they lost. Everything that happened after, as he points out in Two Ravens and One Crow, was in response to violence that was offered him. Look, there's no need to go into detail about just how NOT his fault ALL of this was, because there have been 8 previous books all detailing how each was responsible for their own actions. But to say that Atticus, who is such a pragmatist, is incapable of seeing this and has to repeat at least once every couple pages how everyone's death is his fault? I'm sorry, but just remembering that makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth.
Perhaps the best possible thing that can be said about this book is that it's short; so, while it's expensive, badly written, badly conceived, and badly executed, it is at least not insufferably LONG in addition to just being insufferable.
This was such a disappointment. I'd read all of Kevin Hearne's previous novels about Atticus and was heavily invested in the characters and the world they lived in. I realize ending a series is hard, but I felt like the plot was thin and rushed, it was as if he was over writing about Atticus and just decided to throw him under the bus and blacken his character while he was at it and then tie everything else up neatly. It didn't work. I hated it, it absolutely ruined the series for me.
What a sad end to a series I generally liked! And by sad, I mean disappointing. This books throws every god/deity/mythological being into one big battle, which maybe would have been exciting if I wasn't so busy being bored and/or confused. I'm sure some, if not most of them, were 'shown' to us in previous books but keeping them all straight was incredibly difficult for me, especially given their names (which granted the author could do nothing about, but still). Add on to that the ease in which these big baddies were killed, and it became borderline ridiculous. It was as if Hearne had a list of deaths like "Colonel Mustard will be killed in the library with the rope", and then had no idea how to turn his list of specific death scenarios into a real story line. So he just kills them off in the briefest way possible and that's that.
Even if you ignore the absurdity of the battle scenes, on a solely personal level for these characters the ending was also pretty terrible. Who wants to read nine books for that ending? I will forever look back fondly on the character of Oberon, the 'talking' dog, but the rest of it you can keep.
What an abysmal end to such a fun and once promising series.
How did it devolve into so many pages of dogs talking about gravy, main characters wondering about whether vampires have boogers, and lengthy conversations with sloths? Considering this was the much led-up-to apocalypse, where was the gravitas? Yes, we got some repetitive passages of Atticus whining about his poor decisions, but that did not create any tension. Nor did the technique of shifting between the three protagonists points-of-view, especially considering two of them were running low-risk errands.
Killing any chance of tension whatsoever was that every antagonist and threat was dispatched with a quickness that would lead anyone reading to think the author had simply grown bored of the series and was just looking to wrap up a contractual obligation. Gone -- or barely mentioned -- were favorite supporting characters like Leif, Perun, and the werewolf pack. And the climactic battle -- when Hearne did bother circling back to it from Granuaile's drinking of bubble tea and Owen's hanging out with a sloth -- was so poorly handled that it seemed like an early draft waiting for critical details, as well as critical tension, to be added in later.
Circling back to the three narrators bit, the more Hearne did it, the more all three of the protagonists sounded like the same voice, and each of their animal companions as well. It was a much tighter, well told, story from Atticus's point-of-view.
And let's talk about the ending.
Overall, I am just glad this is the end of the series, because I can't imagine continuing it any further from here.
I loved this series. Read it so many times. Then political aspects started to creep in. In this book alone we heard Granuaile speak of "the patriarchy" several times, and the final time in a place in a common situation, removing someone you care about from harm, nothing to do with her being a woman. The main fights take place in an instant, and the amazingly powerful druid we all came to enjoy was no where to be found. I really miss the Atticus we knew in the beginning, powerful but also enjoying life. This Atticus is miserable and lacking in all forms of interesting abilities. He acts as a common foot soldier and then hides until he has no choice, and then fails to do anything interesting. It saddens me to see how far he has fallen, as he was a character I enjoyed as he developed. Beyond that, Owens character is awesome, I wish he had been more important. Granuaile didn't even need to be in it, despite an important part, and Laksha should have just laughed at him whenever he came to her with his request. Overall a disappointing ending to what should have been an amazing series.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
The only reason I reluctantly read Scourged was because it's the final book in The Iron Druid Chronicles. It was spectacularly abysmal reading experience. It's hard to wrap my mind around such a disappointing wrap up to a series that I once enthusiastically recommended. The first three books were excellent. Around book five (this marked a shift in the series where Hearne started to inject his politically correct leanings into the storylines) the series started to go off the rails and evolved from auto-buy to library-only read.
Scourged is especially awful in its execution because of the inconsistency in the plotline, the shifting POV's of the three main characters was a cacophony of repetition, the villains were boring and easily dispatched and the character death was nothing but shock value.
Owen was his usual irreverent self but Atticus was a self-doubting/blaming shell of his former self. It's really tragic when the main character devolves into the ultimate loser in his own book.
Since becoming apprentice and Druid I have always disliked the emotionally stunted Granuaile. In this book I came to despise her. Throwing a fit then abandoning Atticus at the end was such a cop-out to break them up. Their relationship was such a waste of the reader's time as well as Atticus' in having spent so much time training her to be one of three druids left in the world. She was as destructive to Atticus as the vengeful gods. I wished Atticus would have left her in the bar where he met her.
In this author's hands, Ragnorak was not grand end of world battle but amore akin to a third-rate video game. Obviously, Hearne was no longer invested in the series that brought him recognition and a niche of enthusiastic readers. It was as if Hearne just wanted to get this series over and done with, cash his check, and move on to his next endeavor.
While I'm glad I did finish the series, I will never re-visit The Iron Druid Chronicles nor recommend the series. In finishing Scourged, I can close the door on Kevin Hearne and wish him luck in his future writings.
It's December now and I'm bringing this down to a 1 star because I'm still angry and this was NOT an okay book. I DID NOT LIKE ANY OF THIS. Ugh. UGH.
Okay, it's been a full month since I finished this book. I wanted to cool down a bit so I wouldn't be writing this from a place of red-hot rage, but joke's on me because thinking about this book STILL ENRAGES ME.
If you go back to my reviews for this entire series, you'll see that it's been my favorite since I picked it up in 2011, the year the first 3 novels were published. I've been here since the start. Atticus has been listed in my Goodreads profile as one of my favorite literary characters since then. I didn't touch this book when it first released because I wasn't ready to leave this world.
I should have kept it unread.
Spoilers for the entire book from here on. And a ton of cursing.
Damn. What a cheap, emotionally manipulative, incoherent ending for this series. It's a blow in the gut for me. It feels like I've been let down on every single level.
I do still recommended the series because most of it IS good. The first three novels are fantastic, and really held up when I did a full series re-read on audio. I'll just pretend that my Atticus is still the relatable dude from the first few novels and leave it at that.
What the actual fuck was that??
I've been putting off reading this for nearly 3 years now, but it's finally time to put on my big girl panties and finish up this series. I never want it to end, but all good things must.
This was an okay end to a pretty good series. Atticus loses any and all badassedness and relies on others to solve all of his problems. Owen's parts were great and on their own would have been about a 4.5 to 5 star. But Granuaille's arc and her decision making in the end ruined her portions and character for me. As well Ragnarok seemed underwhelming for something that has been being built up for 6 books and many novellas. It is not an unearned conclusion to the series, but it isn't a welcome one
I give up on this series. 9 books in, the writing shouldn't be this amateurish and bland. The first half hour of the audiobook is dogs talking about sausage, and a fight scene in a bar a short while later reads like fanfiction. Plot lines for the series have been engaging enough, but I'm tired of the stupid dog conversations. There are too many books in the world to waste my time on another of these.
Sadly the books no longer feel like the first 4-5. They've lost the magic quality that I so enjoyed. The whole dogs talking thing, which I'm sure people love, have become major passages of the book and distract from the loose plot.
Look, I'd never say that Atticus was a perfect good guy - like all the best heroes, he's flawed. He's made good decisions and bad decisions. But this book seemed to treat this whole series - and his whole life - as if it was one endless chain of bad decisions, and it was now time to pay the piper.
It neglects the personal responsibilities of all the gods involved. Odin and the Norse are angry that Asgard was invaded? Well, what part of that wasn't a consequence of Thor being an enormous asshole for centuries? I despised how this book laid everything at Atticus's feet, as if his decisions were all shitty ones made in isolation, just him harming people who didn't deserve it.
Maybe the Norse should clean up their own house before they decide Atticus is the source of all problems. How about this: if they hadn't let Thor be a literal terror for centuries, none of this would have happened? And the same is true for the Greco-Roman deities.
What worked about this series, for me, was that we had a human character who was strong enough to stop gods - literal gods - from treating human beings as if we were amusing playthings, to be tortured and abused at their whim. And Atticus did stop them. Every deity Atticus smacked down definitely deserved it. And the rest of the pantheon is as much to blame for the situation as Atticus is - hell, they are MORE to blame, because shouldn't it be the responsibility of the gods in this world to keep themselves in line? Very few humans are strong enough to do so ... so basically, the gods failed to handle their shit, and it is all on them.
But all the harshest consequences fall on Atticus. Despite him actually handling 90% of the situation - he handled Jormundgar (with help), Hel (with help) and Loki. What did the gods do? Particularly the Norse, who stood in their mist with their thumbs up their butt while everyone else fought Ragnarok? Further, the "this is all Atticus's fault" shit doesn't even jibe with the plot as it came together through books and novellas. It has been pretty well-established that Odin set this whole thing in motion, to bring about a Ragnarok wherein his pantheon would have aid from other pantheons (so they wouldn't all die). The gods - and Odin in particular - have been manipulating Atticus to bring about this outcome for centuries, literally.
And what do they get as consequence? Nothing. They get to batter Atticus even more, after the battle, to take their supposed vengeance.
It made me sick.
And Granuaile ... I'm not even going to get into her, except to say I've always disliked her and her precious, self-absorbed, self-righteous bullshit. And in this book, I actually hated her. Literally hated. She has herself made a chain of poor decisions, and yet she sweeps in at the 11th hour to take down Loki like Princess Mary Sue, and suffers no shitstorm for her own bad choices. Instead, she adds to the pile on Atticus. Fuck her.
I'm disappointed because I loved this series, early on. And now I just wish Atticus had bowed out of Ragnarok and let all the gods - and Granuaile - die.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.