Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hounded (Kevin Hearne)

(The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1)
Kevin Hearne
Del Rey
Fiction, Fantasy
*** (Okay)

DESCRIPTION: To his neighbors in the college town of Tempe, Arizona, Atticus looks like a typical student, a mild-mannered young man with an Irish Wolfhound and a New Age bookshop. In truth, he's the last living Druid, using his earthbound powers and extensive knowledge (not to mention a large smattering of the luck of the Irish) to endure through the ages. In a life that long, one's bound to pick up a few enemies... and one of those enemies, the Irish god Aenghus Og, has picked up his trail. Centuries ago, Atticus "happened upon" a powerful sword that Aenghus covets - a sword he now wants back. Witches, goddesses, giant Fir Bolg assassins in the streets of Tempe... has this Druid's luck finally run out?

REVIEW: This promised to be a light, fast read with a little wit and a lot of magic. Unfortunately, it felt a little too lightweight. I never really got into Atticus as a hero, nor did I buy the voice of his Irish Wolfhound sidekick Oberon; the dog thought and talked too much like a shaggy-coated human. For that matter, I didn't care for most of the characters, even the bit players, but I guess I wasn't really supposed to. Hearne's magic users, Fae, and gods and goddesses are not the modern, sanitized versions many are familiar with. They are powerful beings with strange moralities, when they display a recognizable moral compass at all. Even Atticus, having become something of a power himself, feels superior to the short-lived mortals and their laws. The story has plenty of magic and fighting and intrigue, but my dislike of the characters kept me largely detached from the action. As for the humor, it felt a little threadbare, material many people have milked in urban fantasies many times. In the end, while it wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't my kind of story.

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