Book Review: Kevin Hearne’s Besieged

Posted September 5, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Kevin Hearne’s Besieged

Besieged


It is part of the , , , , , , , , series and is a urban fantasy that was published by Del Rey Books on July 11, 2017 and has 256 pages.

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four-stars

An anthology of nine short stories with eight of them new in The Iron Druid Chronicles urban fantasy series and revolving around a 2,000-year-old Druid and his (mis)adventures. (Hearne considers this anthology to fall in at 8.5 in the series, publication-wise, after The Purloined Poodle, which is actually 8.5.)

The Series

“The Eye of Horus”, 4.1
“Goddess at the Crossroads”, 4.2
“The Demon Barker of Wheat Street”, 4.6
“Gold Dust Druid”, 4.7
“The Bogeyman of Boora Bog”, 8.1
“Cuddle Dungeon”, 8.2
“Blood Pudding”, 8.6
“Haunted Devils”, 8.7
“The End of Idylls”, 8.9

My Take

Okay, it’s weird to hear Atticus talk in modern day language when he’s relating stories that take place centuries before this day when he, Oberon, and Granuaile are sitting around a campfire in Arizona. And it is fun to hear those stories in his voice. Several of the stories are told by the archdruid and another by Perun.

Most of the stories are simply outtakes of Atticus’ life through the centuries, and some do provide background into where/how/why Atticus learned more about his powers and how his views were shaped.

Core Characters

Atticus O’Sullivan/Siodhachan Ó Suileabháin is an ancient Druid who takes his responsibility for earth seriously. Fragarach is the sword he stole from Conn. Oberon is an Irish wolfhound with a great “doggy” sense of humor who can thought-speak with Atticus and Guanaile MacTiernan, his apprentice. Gaia is the earth, Mother Nature, however you want to think of her. The Morrigan is the crow goddess, the Chooser of the Slain.

The Stories

The Eye of Horus” is a tale of thievery (and protection). There’s a rumor going about amongst the gods that the Great Library of Alexandria is threatened, and there are a few things they’d like Atticus to steal for them.

There’s a little foreshadowing for “The Grimoire of the Lamb“, 0.4, which would make me think “The Eye of Horus” should actually be more like 0.3???

Goddess at the Crossroads” finds Atticus saving Shakespeare’s life even as he thwarts three witches and provides some interest to Shakespeare’s King Lear.

The Demon Barker of Wheat Street” is supposed to be a vacation for Granuaile to see how her mother is faring since Granuaile “died”. Supposedly, carnivals are also supposed to be a fun part of any vacation, unless you run into one that’s the front for a demon hellmouth! It can also be found in Carniepunk.

Gold Dust Druid” finds Atticus in San Francisco during the Gold Rush when a Qabbalist is too lazy to work and pays for it. Permanently. It certainly gave me a sense of the time period with its greed and gambling, even as San Francisco is trying to instill some law and order.

The Bogeyman of Boora Bog” uncovers the evil lurking in the marshes of Boora Bog with Atticus’ mentor, Archdruid Owen Kennedy, and how Owen met Atticus. It also relays how Owen’s experiences change how he teaches his new apprentice.

Cuddle Dungeon” is an exploration of different by a god and goddess, as Perun and Flidais explore BDSM. And Perun comes to appreciate that consent is all.

Blood Pudding” is part of Granuaile’s apprenticeship with thirteen witches in Poland and a trial by fire when she must root out a belligerent vampire and his followers.

Haunted Devils” is told by Archdruid Owen Kennedy as he, Greta, his apprentices, Atticus, and Oberon tackle the cancer-ridden Tasmanian devils who are dying Down Under. Owen has his own reflections on Greta’s anger towards Atticus and reflects on his gratitude for what Atticus has accomplished.

The End of Idylls” is one of those sad tales…and yes, I cried. Atticus explains to Oberon how guilt has compelled him to avoid long-term animal companions…until Oberon.

The Cover and Title

The background of the cover is a smoky range of warm reddish browns, the better to highlight but not overwhelm a seemingly brown-haired Atticus in his trademark linen shirt and iron charm worn around his neck, a sword in hand. Behind him is a dark-haired and -bearded guy in a red plaid shirt open over a white tank top, an engraved gold band wrapped around the knuckles of his clenched fist. Both men are in a three-quarter profile, their heads turned to look back at what’s coming.

The title is something of a spoof, as Atticus is Besieged around the campfire for stories about his past.

four-stars

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