Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old – when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power – plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish – to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil. – Book description on cover
Harry Dresden introduced me to the world of urban fantasy, and I was quickly hooked. But believing that variety is the spice of life I turned to the Iron Druid for my next fix. I’m afraid I was less than impressed. Hounded bored me and it’s only through sheer pig-headedness that I finished it.
The main problem is Atticus O’Sullivan is simply too strong. His fans would probably say he’s awesome, and they won’t be wrong, but you get such a thing as too awesome. Consider the following (and what I’m about to tell you aren’t spoilers as it is all revealed in the blurb and the first two chapters): he draws his power from the Earth, so as long as his feet are touching ground he basically has unlimited power which he can use, among other things, to heal his injuries, make the Earth swallow his enemies and summon elementals to fight for him.
He wears an amulet that not only makes him immune to most kinds of magic, but poisons any fae that get close enough to him touch his aura. He’s had 2100 years to become an expert in various forms of armed and unarmed martial arts (and to make some very long-term investments which means he doesn’t have to worry about money). He has a magic sword that can cut through any armor. He has a deal with the Celtic god of death that she won’t ever come for him. And if things get really tough he can call his lawyers: a vampire who gets high on druid blood and his partner who is the alpha of a pack of werewolves.
In other words, it’s very hard to feel concern for this character when things start to go south. In fact, not once was I worried that he might not come out of this alive. His two biggest fears seem to be that something will happen to his dog and that witches will get hold of his blood, cause apparently his amulet won’t protect him against them.
Except for that he’s extremely flippant and self-involved. He’s careful of the Celtic goddesses (though he doesn’t hesitate to jump in bed with one if the opportunity arises), but has complete disdain for the gods. He laughs at the police behind their backs and pretty much behaves like the twenty-one-year-old hippie he appears to be. One would expect a 2100-year-old druid, who’s the last of his kind to boot, to have a sense of gravitas about him, not to amuse himself by turning his dog invisible and then sending the dog to leave a present on his neighbour’s front porch.
The dog is cool, at first. He and Atticus can exchange thoughts, in other words, talk to each other and initially it’s a great source of humour. But Oberon’s voice, which I can only describe as that of an over-enthusiastic, hyper-intelligent three-year-old, gets tedious after a while.
The remaining characters are somewhere between walk-ons and caricatures. The women are all incredibly hot while the men aren’t really described. There’s no reason to invest in any of them and neither does Atticus show any true concern for them.
As for the rest…the plot is fast-paced, but simple without any major twists. The moments that are supposed to be dramatic isn’t all that much. The humour goes from chuckle-worthy to cheesy very fast and the end is rather predictable.
Hounded is Kevin Hearne‘s first published novel and the first in a series so I’m not writing off the Iron Druid just yet. But the second one’s going to have to be a doozy if I’m to invest more time and money into this series.
- Review: Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #1) by Kevin Hearne (readinginwinter.com)
- Book Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne (ermiliablog.wordpress.com)
- Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne (backchattingbooks.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne (audio book) (novelcsanchez.wordpress.com)