Review: Tricked

/ Books /

TrickedTricked by Kevin Hearne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started reading this series almost by accident. I won a copy of the first novel from Goodreads and what luck it turned out to be. Kevin Hearne continues to impress me. He seems to have found the perfect formula for writing entertaining novels. He does such a great job combining adventure, myth, magic, and humor.

Tricked starts with Atticus and his pals on the lamb after a bloody romp through Asgard in the previous novel. He employs the aid of the Navajo trickster god and sometimes ally, Coyote. As you might expect, Coyote’s help comes with a price, but it’s not necessarily what Atticus predicts.

Hearne writes very well-plotted stories with excellent pacing. He seems to have an excellent sense for when the plot needs to speed up, slow down, and some comic relief, making for stories with never a dull moment. The action scenes in particular are really well done and are also delightfully frequent.

One of the things I really like about these novels (and Tricked in particular) is that I always feel like I learn something. Hearne does a really great job pulling in myths from many different cultures and working them gracefully into the story. Tricked is full of interesting Navajo myths and cultural anecdotes, but still includes tidbits from several other cultures.

Another strength of the series is the author’s sense of humor. There are a lot of amusing little witticisms in the story, as well as some more blatant jokes. I never really expected that a dog would be so funny.

The Iron Druid Chronicles are also full of interesting characters. With Tricked, we finally get to get a better glimpse into Granuaile and I think she is going to develop into a really strong character as the novels progress. Atticus himself seems to be developing as well despite his best intentions. He seems to be becoming a better person (although that does not preclude lapses in judgment). And then of course there’s Oberon, who I can’t help but love and I’m not even a dog person.

Overall, I really enjoyed Tricked. It was a perfect beach book, fun and suspenseful, but not too fluffy. Recommended.

Review: Hammered

/ Books /

HammeredHammered by Kevin Hearne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, has survived for centuries largely by avoiding conflict, but that’s no longer an option as the consequences of past actions force him to take up arms against the Norse god of thunder, Thor.

Okay, the premise sounds a little ridiculous, but that’s one of the things that I love about this series. The author, Kevin Hearne, knows how to have a good time with mythology and old magic. He’s created a world where all of the old gods are still around, but are generally much less involved. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t still cause trouble.

Over the years, one god in particular has caused more trouble and burned more bridges than any other. That god is Thor and he’s generally considered to be a major bully by the magical community.

One thing I liked about Hammered in particular was that Atticus’ perfect little life starts to go sideways and he’s forced to deal with it. Atticus had built up a comfortable life in Arizona, but that ended when he slew Aenghus Og. Since then, he’s been confronted with one conflict after the next and it seems like the stakes are higher each time.

In the first novel, Atticus came across as a bit insensitive. I believe that was an intentional decision by the author as a 2,000 year old, immortal man is simply going to have different viewpoints than the average person today. But these conflicts are forcing him to figure out who and what he cares about and it’s slowly shaping him into a better character.

But with all that said, no, these novels are not really overly serious. They are fun and easy to read, and that’s what I appreciate most. Just a great blend of mythology, action, and humor. Recommended!

Review: Hexed

/ Books /

HexedHexed by Kevin Hearne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, The Iron Druid Chronicles may not be high literature, but they are fun. Kevin Hearne’s novels are really the perfect combination of action, humor, and mythology.

Set in modern day Tempe, Atticus O’Sullivan, the only living Druid, would prefer to live a quiet life, but he’s made some enemies and has made himself a target.

Hexed picks up right where Hammered left off, in the aftermath of Atticus’ battle against Aenghus Og, evil Polish witches, and a bunch hellspawn. Although Atticus came out on top, Tempe has become a hot spot for supernatural baddies and Atticus finds himself up against a coven of Nazi-sympathizing German witches.

While it’s easy to see a few similarities with other urban fantasy novels like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, The Iron Druid Chronicles are really quite unique. They don’t have the dark, noir feel of many other series. They also have a strong root in mythology and history that I really appreciate. I actually feel like I learn a few things when I read these books.

Atticus is also a different sort of character. Despite the appearance of youth, Atticus is old (like 2,000 years old) and he’s gotten that old by being careful. He doesn’t hold all of the same values as most modern heroes. He cares more about the Earth than most people, although I wouldn’t consider him to be coldhearted; he just has different priorities.

Probably the best aspect of Hexed is that it’s fun. The novel is only around 300 pages and they go really quickly. It’s a great beach read or for something light in between weightier novels.

Book Review: Hounded

/ Books /

HoundedHounded by Kevin Hearne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first heard of Hounded when I came across Patrick Rothfuss’ glowing review. After reading Pat’s endorsement, I went to add the book to my “to read” list and I noticed that Goodreads was giving away 50 copies so I put my name on the list and, to my surprise and delight, I won one.

Although my book list was already way too long and there were neglected books sitting on my shelf, I was too excited by the prospect of winning not to bump Hounded to the front of the list. I’m really glad that I did too, because I really enjoyed this novel.

The protagonist, Atticus O’Sullivan, is a 2,000 year Druid living in modern day Arizona. Over the course of the centuries, his wit, intelligence, and magical abilities have kept him alive when all other Druids have died out. He tries to keep a low profile, but he’s made enemies over the years and, in the first novel of the Iron Druid Chronicles, those enemies come calling.

The novel was really a lot of fun. The pacing was great, literally never a dull moment. Okay, so this isn’t the type of novel that requires a lot of deep thought, but it does have a lot of cool magic and great action scenes. It also has a lot of interesting characters that includes gods, witches, bartenders, and, yes, a dog.

If you’ve read Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novels like me, then you’ll be tempted to compare the too. Really, there are a lot of similarities, but there are a lot of differences too, more than enough for the series to have a unique and satisfying feel.

I will, without question, continue reading this series. It’s just too much fun not to.

View all of my Goodreads reviews