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by Kevin Hearne
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #2
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Second in the Iron Druid Chronicles urban fantasy series set in Tempe, Arizona and revolving around a 2,100-year-old druid just eking out a living with his occult bookstore.
Hexed is too funny if a bit disconcerting. The scolding, which Atticus gives Leif for his olde language usage, is funny but feels awkward. As though Hearne is sliding it in because it was on a list of what’s needed to make a successful novel. It might be more successful if Leif’s language was more oldey-worldey than it is…
Atticus, for all his years, is definitely one of those Merry Pranksters. In particular, Atticus and Oberon cannot resist teasing his hostile neighbor, Mr. Semerdjian. Not that Mr. S. doesn’t deserve it — I rather like Atticus’ cheeky attitude.
As for the invading coven, die Torches des dritten Hauses, I don’t understand why the East Valley witches are so adamant that they just “can’t fight something so big and nasty”. Nor do I understand why Atticus lets it go so easily. I suspect that it’s simply a strategy by which they hope to learn more of Atticus’ skills and magics. I do understand Atticus’ reasons. A fight where Atticus learns of the coven’s impressive battle skills and a power he hadn’t thought to protect from put on the treaty.
Interesting tidbit that Malina drops into conversation is that her coven is responsible (she says) for keeping the crime rate down and prosperity up!
We do learn a bit more about Fragarach’s abilities — what a useful little toy that is!
After killing Aenghus Óg in Hounded, 1, they’re all after Atticus. Reps from just about all the world’s belief systems want Atticus to knock off their particular bête noir including his own attorneys. THEY want him to take Thor out. As if. The only one not seeking him out is Brighid. The one who had promised to reward him for killing the Tuatha Dé Danann.
That’s when the first of the magical attacks against him begin. Thinking it’s Malina, Atticus soon learns there’s a new coven of bitches in town. But first, Atticus has a little Demon killing to do with Coyote’s help.
As for the new, new bads in town, rebuffed by Gunnar, Atticus is left with asking Laksha for a favor. Seems a group of Bacchants are in town and there is no way Atticus can go up against them, which sets us up, I’m assuming, for Atticus’ adventures in Hammered. I just got it! Duh…if there’s a hammer involved, it’s got to be Thor.
Poor Atticus. There is no end of harassment for him when Father Gregory Fletcher and Rabbi Yosef Zalman Bialik repeatedly storm Atticus’ shop attacking any supernatural and with a huge interest in his rare-book collection; the Morrigan shows up for rough sex, ear healing, and lessons in creating a necklace like Atticus’; quickly followed by Brighid wanting Atticus as a Consort which results in some fancy talkin’ on Atticus’ part and a session with Fragarach. It’s all a bit too ewww…
Guanaile shows up to firm up Atticus’ alibi after the Bacchant fight at the club when the invading witches attack. Luckily, in a changed shape, Atticus grabs a hank of hair from one witch’s head only to discover it’s a feint when he learns of another friend’s death. Atticus is so angry he pretty much gives himself away to Detective Geffert investigating the death.
Still, the hair will make it easier to find the coven and deal with their demon-pregnant witches.
Atticus “O’Sullivan” Siodhachan is a 2,100-year-old Druid, the last surviving one. With an earth-based magic, Atticus has set up a nice life for himself with an occult shop in Tempe where he sells custom tea mixes, herbs, books, and other occult paraphernalia.
His dog, Oberon, has been enhanced to enable mental telepathy between them. And it is a riot to read their conversations. Especially as Oberon tends to immerse himself in whatever bit of history Atticus is relating. In this story, Atticus has told him about the Merry Pranksters of the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test trip of 1964. When combined with Oberon watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Oberon is all about the “wavy” and “the Man”.
Guanaile is Atticus’ new apprentice in becoming a Druid. As a philosophy student, she’s an ideal match for Atticus. And damned handy to have around when Atticus needs an alibi. Her figure is sure nothing to sneeze at either. Rebecca Dane is a new hire for Atticus’ shop. If Atticus is to find the time to heal the land around Tony Cabin (after the fight in Hounded), he needs more help in the shop and with Rebecca’s starter knowledge of herb lore and laissez-faire attitude about people’s beliefs, she should be another ideal addition. Widow MacDonagh is a neighbor and friend of Atticus’ who knows his secrets. Atticus likes to spend time with her after work, chatting and drinking Tullamor Dew. Laksha Kulaskearan is a centuries-old Indian witch whose spirit has taken on the body of a coma victim, Selai Chamkanni. Laksha has some mad skills Atticus wants to exploit.
Leif Helgarson is a vampire and Hal Hauk is a werewolf and both are Atticus’ lawyers with Gunnar Magnusson both the Tempe Pack alpha and head of the law firm.
Malina Sokoloski is the new head of what remains of the East Valley coven, Sisters of the Three Auroras, worshippers of Zorya, with an intense interest in a non-aggression treaty with Atticus. Other (remaining) members of the coven include Bogumila, Berta, Kazimiera, Klaudia, and Roksana.
Die Tochter des dritten Hauses is an evil German coven which crossed paths with Atticus’ Resistance activities in World War II. Seems they had some influence over Hitler. The Bacchants are maenads, followers of Bacchus. Generally young women, they raise up a party that quickly degenerates into a debauch, which slides into brutal mayhem and death. Besasael is a fallen angel from the Fifth Circle who fell with Lucifer whom Atticus and Coyote must kill. No choice really as Besasael is one of the Demons summoned by Aenghus Óg who placed a geis on the demon to kill Atticus…means that Demon ain’t going away until he or Atticus is dead. Father Gregory Fletcher and Rabbi Yosef Zalman Bialik of the moving beard…eeek…turn out to have an interesting affiliation. Too bad the Rabbi is such a bigot!
One of the things I enjoy about Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles is the religious figures Atticus encounters: the Virgin Mary, Coyote, the Morrigan, Brighid, and going out for a beer with Jesus.
The Cover and Title
The cover’s background descends from yellow to black with the very young-looking Atticus thrusting his sword, Fragarach, at us at an angle. A cute boy with something weirdly bumpy on his chin, he has a Celtic tattoo ascending up his forearm wrapping around his bicep.
The title, Hexed, is quite appropriate as the die Torches des dritten Hauses are certainly overworking their hexen.