Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne

Book: Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne
Release Date: 3 May 2011
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Mythology, Witches, Shapeshifters, Vampires
Summary: Tempe, Arizona is as far removed from paranormal activity as is possible. And that’s where Atticus O’Sullivan, rare book salesman, herb peddler, and 2,000 year old Druid the last of his kind has decided to set up shop. He’s been on the run, guarding a very powerful sword from a very angry ancient Celtic god for over two millennia now. But while these years have been good to him Atticus has become more powerful than he could have possibly imagined The Morrigan, a very old god of death, has predicted death and doom for our hero, and it’s up to Atticus, with help from a pride of werewolves, and a gorgeous bartender possessed by an Indian witch, to stay alive, hopefully for another thousand years.
Buy It: Amazon

Review: Atticus O’Sullivan hasn't lived to be a 2,000 year old druid by causing trouble with other mythical beings. He just wants to run his bookstore and teashop in peace, go for hunts with his faithful Irish worlfhound and maybe spend time with a few friends. Too bad for him a Celtic god with a vendetta against him is finally closing in and making a peaceful life, what with all the Fae trying to kill him, a little difficult.
I haven't read many urban fantasy series with kick ass male main characters. Atticus just happens to really take the cake because he's also completely unique in the urban fantasy world as a druid. Not only that but he's also got all of the characteristics I look for and love in female main characters as well as a few of his own that I adored. If a wonderfully unique main character and interesting plot hadn't already won me over, Atticus's friendship with his Irish wolfhound would have. Being an animal lover, this totally had me squeeing and wishing more fantasy or urban fantasy included animals. Even if Atticus had been the worst protagonist in existence, I still would have read the book for Oberon.
I really enjoyed the history and mythology worked into the story. Some of it I was familiar with and thought was wonderfully used in the story. Others that I weren't familiar with, I enjoyed learning about without being taught. Nothing was used like a lesson, it was all seamlessly worked into the story. Anyone living under a rock might think Hearne was clever enough to make it all up, it's that good. When he's actually clever enough to recraft it into something new.
Invincible and truly immortal heroes and villains always have me wary. Often times I'm left feeling that the action was more like a play or one of those traps set up by Joker or Penguin to catch Batman, all show with no chance of real harm or downfall. I was a little hesitant beginning Hounded, what with all the god/goddesses plus ancient Atticus. I was pleasantly surprised with the realness of the danger though and never felt that any of the 'villains' were incapable of ending him. I don't usually like it when power increases and increases because then there has to be a point where nothing can stop you, but I loved how that increase of power was balanced in Hounded.
I am in awe of Hearne's abilities as a storyteller. First off, he has a humungous cast of characters yet every one had life and felt real, none of them were simply props to move the plot along (this happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves). Secondly, his plot was intricate and massive too. There were several times when I was stunned that I was only part way through the book. Lastly, I have to say that Hearne's use of language amazes me. Everyone talked so differently and distinctly. It must have been hellish keeping everyone straight with how they spoke, word use etc.
If you enjoy the urban fantasy genre even a little bit, Hounded is something you absolutely must read. It's too much fun to miss out on.

Quotes & Thoughts as I Read:
  • Sometimes I forget what I look like and I do something out of character, such as sing shepherd tunes in Aramaic while I’m waiting in line at Starbucks, but the nice bit about living in urban America is that people tend to either ignore eccentrics or move to the suburbs to escape them. That never would have happened in the old days. People who were different back then got burned at the stake or stoned to death. Hounded has a really interesting, unique and intriguing premise. I haven't read anything with druids and am really excited to see where the Irish fold love takes me. Plus I love Atticus's voice.
  • The crow leapt off the bust of Ganesha and flew straight at my face, but before I could get worried about a beak in the eye, the bird sort of melted in midair, reforming into a naked, statuesque woman with milk-white skin and raven hair. It was the Morrigan as seductress, and she caught me rather unprepared. Her scent had me responding before she ever touched me, and by the time she closed the remaining distance between us, I was ready to invite her back to my place. Or here would be fine, right here, right now, by the tea station. Loving the use of historical 'fantasy' figures. I don't read books that do this very often because many are either too silly, characterized versions or it's a sorta creepy erotic tale. Hearne has them actually acting like normal characters (not the best quote for this point but whatever...)
  • “‘You may enjoy this victory now, Druid,’ he said, ‘but you will never know peace. My agents, both human and Fae, will hound you until you die. Always you will have to look over your shoulder for the knife at your back. So swears Aenghus,’ blah blah blah.” I love the moment when why a book is titled a certain way becomes clear. Hounded's title is perfect and the reveal was equally perfect.
  • What sealed the deal for me was that the cloak wouldn’t come off without a generous donation of my tears. Those used to be almost impossible for me to summon, I admit, until I watched Field of Dreams. When Kevin Costner asks his dad at the end if he’d like to have a catch, I just completely lose my shit. Any guy who doesn’t is either in mixed company when he sees it or was blessed with an unusually sensitive father. I blubber and sob like a jilted girl every time I watch that scene, or even when I think about it. I really enjoy Atticus's sense of humor. Even when he's trying to be funny, it feels natural and unforced. The humor is very well placed in the book too.
  • “I have dinner for the whole crew at Mitchell Park in Tempe right now. Bring the truck... Yes, there is enough for everybody, trust me. See you there.” Whoa. He has ghouls on speed dial. My lawyer kicks so much ass. It's pretty much my dream to have normal and unusual UF 'species' mixed with god and goddesses. Now if only there were unicorns and elves... I might faint from shock and happiness.
  • Would you mind hunting down that mosquito demon and obliterating it for me, please, while I take care of (removed for spoilers)? It has an awful lot of my blood. This is my absolute worst nightmare ever, giant mosquitoes. That and having my teeth knocked out.

Rating: 5 Bites

13 comments:

  1. I too loved this book and I'm pretty picky when it comes to urban fantasy! It had just the right mix of action and humor and the characters were great. I also love Oberon and the druid magic system really appealed to me. From my experience Kevin's a really nice guy as well. I can't wait to read the next books in the series! :)

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  2. @vilutheril
    I love everything urban fantasy so reading Hounded was a no brainer for me but I was so pleasantly surprised. This is definitely a stand out book for the genre, so unique and amusing.
    I've been following Kevin on twitter and I've got to agree. Loved his Comic Con tweets :)
    I've read the whole series so far and loved it. My advice to you is to wait until the release date for Tricked (book 4) is nearer before reading the last book. Hammered ended on a fairly big, emotional cliffhanger and the waiting is already killing me.

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  3. Good idea. I plan to read the series as a fun change of pace between the larger epics I tend to review for The Ranting Dragon. Hopefully that means Tricked will be closer by the time I get around to the cliffhanger in Hammered! :)

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  4. Great review! I've heard great things about this book and now I'm really interested in reading it. It's definitely on my TBR List!!

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  5. Great review! I've been seeing this book around and wondering how it was and your review has convinced me to add it to my TBR! I LOVE well-written characters, that for me is essential. Even if the story may not be all that, a connection with the characters is usually what decides my feelings on a book. :)

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  6. I have this book on my kindle and really need to get to it. Thanks for the review, you make me wish I could get caught up on my review books faster so I can get to this one.

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  7. That was quite an extensive write up. I just bought this book - oddly enough I went a bit kookoo and bought all three - I know I'm nutzo. I just got this feeling I would like them.

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  8. OMG! OMG! I can't believe you have a review of Hounded. I love this series! I seriously worship this series. Kevin Hearne is an urban fantasy genius. Okay, I dunno if I am exaggerating. But I adore this series. Made it clear. Atticus is awesome!

    I know I'm here for the Back to Books hop but I like your review. I haven't found a negative review of Hounded yet and I am so glad...

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  9. This series has completely scarred me because like the harry potter series I know find myself searching through countless audio books for something decent :( I love this series and it sucks that the whole series is not completed.

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