This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
by Kevin Hearne
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #5
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Fifth in the Iron Druid Chronicles and revolving around a 2,100-year-old Druid with his apprentice and talking dog.
I’m still of two minds about this series. I love that Hearne writes of Druids and their connection to the earth, but while I love the concept of Atticus’ character, I have a hard time believing he’s 2,100 years old. No, it’s not the ease with which he absorbs contemporary culture, but his immaturity. After that many years, I do expect him to be wiser.
This particular story feels like an introduction to the next bit of adventuring for Atticus and Granuaile. Sure, there’s lots of practically non-stop action, but it doesn’t really go anywhere and…Atticus continues to display that immaturity that bugs me. Granuaile also displays an unexpected level of immaturity, more than she did twelve years ago. Is it learning to be a Druid that does this? Granuaile also learns of the existence of the timestream. And seems to be unreasonably pissy about this and other future events. Of course, part of her frustration is Atticus’ denial of his attraction to her. I don’t know what he’s waiting for now.
Oberon is different in this one. His mindspeech is much more like an older teen’s. His views aren’t as dog-like, which is a bit disappointing. Although I did enjoy his observation about the growing tension between Brighid and Atticus: “…I would totally want a bag of popcorn right now.”
Interesting back history on the álfar and the evolution of the Svartálf and the distinction between them and the Ljósálfar.
Hearne does have his fun when Oberon mentions the religion he would like to start:
“‘What’s this religion going to be called?’
‘And the name of the holy writ I will be typing for you?’
<The Dead Flea Scrolls: A Sirius Prophecy.>”
Wow, the detail involved in binding Granuaile to Gaia is intense. And painful! Fortunately, they did get help from the expected and some unexpected. I do like Hearne’s treatment of the various pantheons, as if they were just different neighborhoods or gangs.
Hearne does enjoy poking fun at all sorts of things: popular culture, flannel shirts, clowns, cultural expectations, the metaphysical, sports references with a suggestion of Holy BIF, BAM, POW, Batman to it.
It’s been twelve years since Atticus “died” and now Loki has escaped, destroyed the Slavic plane, and chased Perun onto earth’s. Atticus is determined to get him off earth’s plane and into another, but Loki is determined to kill Perun for depriving him of his dream.
Their flit lands them in Tír na Nóg and most of the Fae will do what they can to hurt Atticus for he is sorely out of favor with the Court, even though some of the Fae look forward to more Druids in their world.
And more Druids seem to be an impossibility as Atticus cannot bind Granuaile to Gaia anywhere but in Europe and the Slavic plane’s collapse has closed everywhere but an area below Mount Olympus. Within reach of Bacchus. And Bacchus has acquired a variety of assassins to take Atticus out. It’s a game of tag with murder as the it.
Then there is the Norse pantheon. They’re furious with Atticus for his carelessness and set him a terrible task to put right his wrongs.
Atticus Siodhachan Ó Sueleabháín is the last surviving Druid, 2,100 years old, and events from his more distant past, Hexed, and Hammered have caught up to him. Along with the catty remarks he’s dropped here and there. His dog, Oberon, is quite chatty thanks to a spell enhancement that allows him to mindspeak with Atticus. Granuaile MacTiernan is his first student in centuries and she has finished her Druid training and, well, let’s just say her “graduation” ceremony is quite different from the usual. Perun is one of the thunder gods we first encountered in Hexed.
Kaibab is the elemental in Arizona; Olympia the one at Mount Olympus; and, Apuseni is the Romanian one. I think the elementals are extensions of Gaia to whom Granuaile must be bound.
The Tuatha Dé Danann
The Morrigan (the Celtic Chooser of the Slain) may have a proprietary interest in Atticus, but she’s quite content to force Atticus to work at staying alive. The yewmen supposedly serve the Morrigan; guess they didn’t get the memo. Flidais is the Irish goddess of the hunt. Brighid is first among the Fae and irritated with Atticus for turning her down and paranoid about a coup from the Morrigan. Manannan Mac Lir, a god of the sea, and his wife Fand seem to like Atticus. Enough to provide refuge as needed. Ogma (he invented Ogham) is a fighting champion for the Fae. Goibhniu is a master smith and brewer and one of Brighid’s sons. Dubhlainn Óg of Shannon Heath is a faery assassin.
The Svartálf or Dark Elves are anxious to pay Atticus back.
Leif Helgarson is an opportunistic vampire and used to be Atticus’ lawyer until events in Hexed. Now Atticus will kill him if he sees him. Theophilus is THE head vampire and is forcing Leif to his will. Hal Hauk, a werewolf, is Atticus’ attorney.
The Greek/Roman Pantheon
Bacchus is the god of wine and anxious for Atticus’ death. His followers, the Bacchants are maenads, young men and women, who can smell magic and delight in brutality. The Roman Faunus is the Greek Pandemonium. Artemis and Diana are the Greek and Roman goddesses of the hunt.
The Norse Pantheon
Loki is a Norse trickster god; his release is the signal for Ragnarök to begin. Hel is Loki’s daughter and the queen of death who rules over Nilheim. The draugar are the dead, soldiers for Hel. Sigyn is Loki’s wife who holds the bowl over his face to catch the venom. Frigg is Odin’s wife and not one of Atticus’ admirers. Odin is desperate to prevent Ragnarök, an event made more possible by Atticus’ actions in Hexed. Hugin and Munin are crows and Odin’s spies. Fenris is Odin’s bane; the devourer of gods. Freyja is the wife of ód and a goddess of love and fertility.
The Stonearms are the dwarf king of Nidavellir’s own hammers and Runeskald Fjalar is expected create armor to thwart all. And not kill Atticus.
The Cover and Title
The cover is blue-grays, oranges, and a bright yellow in the background. The curly-haired and redheaded Atticus is in well-worn bluejeans and a tight-fitting v-necked gray T and wearing his protection around his neck as his body faces front while his face is tilted down, looking at Oberon. Granuaile is sideways behind him but her face looking towards us, her eyes looking to our right. It’s definitely the three of them together.
The title is Bacchus’ plan, to ensure that Atticus is Trapped.