Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Alexis’s #CBR4 Review #14: Hounded, Kevin Hearne

I read Book 1 of the Iron Druid Chronicles a few weeks ago and am struggling to recall enough details of the plot to write even a brief recap. And perhaps that is all the recap you really need.

Atticus is a super hot druid (see cover) which is impressive as he is actually thousands of years old. He lives in Arizona selling tea and tarrow cards to old people and college students (respectively) while romping about the desert with his talking dog/banter buddy Oberon. Ages ago he managed to get his hands on the legendary sword Fragarach and now Aenghus Og, the powerful Celtic God and original owner, has decided he wants it back.

Atticus is the James Bond of Druids. He’s powerful, routinely underestimated, has lots of nifty cool gadgets, and women frequently drop their panties for him. Although Atticus doesn’t have much time for lady-fun because has his hands full battling the minions of Aenghus Og. Luckily for Atticus he is near-immortal due to an arrangement he made long ago with Morrigan, Celtic Chooser of the Slain, who has agreed to not come for him. So that’s handy.

Seems like a decent setup for a fun romp. But too many things bothered me about Hounded:

  1. It reads like watching a video game. Atticus battles increasingly challenging minions until finally facing the big bad. Also, like video games, Atticus regenerates life points quickly by sleeping next to mother earth.
  2. The ability to regenerate quickly and being near-immortal frankly removes a lot of the tension from the battle sequences.
  3. There are never any consequences to things Atticus does. The most obvious example was when Atticus beheads a baddie in full view of a mortal neighbor who basically shrugs it off because Atticus is a good guy and wouldn’t have done so without a good reason.
  4. Atticus has no personal or emotional journey. In fact he doesn’t really seem to want for anything beyond being left alone to play with his dog and hang out in his shop. He’s simply reacting to the stream of baddies that show up on his front door.
  5. Is there such a thing as too much action? There is so much action going on that I started skimming. It wasn’t like I was worried about how it was going to turn out (see point #1 & #2).
  6. I think the dog (Oberon) is supposed to be funnier than he is. Yeah Oberon is continually asking for a harem of french poodles to frolic with. Eh…OK.

This is a hugely popular series that gets rave reviews on Amazon. It is definitely better than your average Urban Fantasy, filled with lots of action, a large cast of immortal characters, and snappy banter. If you’re looking for fun, light, accessible fantasy, this definitely fits the bill. But it’s also sort of forgettable. I considered buying the second book in the series but I suspect it’s probably a lot like the first (if I’m missing out on greatness, please let me know). I figure I could save $8 by just putting this on the shelf and re-reading it in a year or so.

Urban fantasy isn’t my thing. I love the Kate Daniels/Magic Bites series. But generally most of what I’ve read (Patricia Briggs, Jeaniene FrostKaren, Marie Moning) has left me cold. So maybe this book is better than I think it is, and it’s simply just not my thing.


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