Review: Hunted by Kevin Hearne; Book 6 in The Iron Druid Chronicles

June 25, 2013 at 10:02 am | Posted in Books, Fantasy | 2 Comments
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HuntedHunted is the sixth novel in The Iron Druid Chronicles, and as with the others, Kevin Hearne has delivered a rousing adventure with the usual and not so usual plot twists and surprises.  For anyone who’s a fan of Atticus O’Sullivan, Hunted is an enjoyable addition to the saga of the ancient druid’s charmed, adventurous life.

Hunted picks up right where Trapped (book five) left off.  Atticus, his druid partner Granuaile, and his dog Oberon are running for their lives because once again they’re in trouble with some gods.  In this case, it’s the goddesses of the hunt, Artemis and Diana, with some assistance from Faunus and Pan.  Once again the goat-footed gods have closed off shifting as an avenue of escape.  The only thing that stands in the way of their demise is the Morrigan, the Battle Crow, who is the Celtic goddess of battle.  It is she who chooses the fallen, but she has no intention of seeing Atticus fall.  I can’t spoil what happens with the Morrigan, but suffice to say it’s poignant and very much personifies this goddess.  The Morrigan has always walked her own path and she chooses to do so in Kevin Hearne’s world as well.

The title of this book should be taken literally.  Unable to shift away, Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon are hunted across Europe as they flee towards England with the immortal huntresses on his tail.  But Atticus hasn’t lived for 2100 years for nothing and he’s got plenty of survival tricks up his sleeve.  He’s also got the Norse god Odin on his side — that’s another story but it has to do with Ragnarok, and Atticus owing the Norse gods because Thor is dead and Loki is on the loose.  Odin can’t directly interfere to prevent Artemis and Diana from killing the Iron Druid, but he can keep Atticus in the loop about what’s going on.  He also assists Atticus in other ways which leads to one of the funniest bits in the book.   This involves bribing Odin with whiskey, girl scout cookies and commissioning Atticus’s long-suffering werewolf lawyer, Hal Hauk.  Hal’s reaction is priceless and you will want to read it for yourself.  You will also thank me for not spoiling it for you.

Of course the vengeful gods and goddesses involved are plenty resourceful too, and there’s a serious shocker part way through the book.  I really hate being a tease, but I’m not spoiling this bit either because it would be criminal of me to ruin it for anyone.  You’re just going to have to read the book for yourself, and believe me it’s worth the read.  What happens is drastic, very clever on Hearne’s part, and delivers a side of Atticus we’ve seen in the other novels, but it goes deeper here.

Along with the Greek and Roman gods, Atticus has also made enemies in Tir na nOg.  Someone there is behind this plan to kill Atticus and is manipulating things to that end, but Atticus has Friends in even Higher Places than the petty pantheons of the Bronze age.  Also, as always, Gaia is on Atticus’s side, and having an entire planetary consciousness on your side is nothing to sneeze at, as Atticus deftly demonstrates in the final showdown.  Really, you don’t want to mess with Mother Nature.  You also pretty much don’t want to mess with a female druid.  Kevin Hearne has no problem writing strong female characters, and Granuaile is so strong the Elementals have deemed her Fierce Druid.  She is pretty fierce, and she even makes Atticus cringe when she dispatches an assassin by knifing him in the groin.  Atticus involuntarily crossing his legs is a scene that’s going to remain gleefully fixed in my memory.

A lot of the enjoyment of reading an Iron Druid novel is trying to figure out how Atticus is going to get himself out of the fine mess he’s created for himself, and Hunted is no different.  However, the other reason I so enjoy reading these novels is the balance Hearne brings to the character of Atticus O’Sullivan.  Yes, it’s fun to read these outrageous adventures and the trouble Atticus always seems to get himself into.  The world Kevin Hearne has created is imaginative and unique, but it’s not all fun and games.  We see the downside of Atticus’s choices, the repercussions and the self recrimination and reflection necessary to a fully fleshed out and believable character.  Atticus O’Sullivan has lived a very long time, and he’s a survivor.  He knows in order to survive he must be fully engaged in life.  To do that he must confront himself, and just as Atticus is physically courageous, he’s emotionally courageous as well.  He’s better than the gods and goddesses locked into their Bronze age mentality, and therein lies the crux of the problem.  Ultimately they fear him, and this is why they cannot allow Atticus to continue.

Be rest assured about Hunted though.  While it does possesses an underlying deeper element, it’s still the fun, clever, outrageous adventures of an ancient yet youthful druid living in the 21st Century.  The world of Atticus O’Sullivan is still filled with vampires — yes, the manipulative Leif puts in an appearance — witches, egocentric gods, monstrous creatures, big and small.  Oberon is still the goofy Greek chorus that grounds Atticus, and Granuaile is still the mirror Atticus cannot flinch away from.  Hunted is everything you’ve come to expect from an Iron Druid book, and then some.  I give Hunted five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed by Geralyn for Roqoo Depot


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