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Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book One…

Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book One (edition 2011)

by Kevin Hearne

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Title:Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book One
Authors:Kevin Hearne
Info:Del Rey (2011), Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Science Fiction, Iron Druid, WLS, RBU

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Hounded by Kevin Hearne

2011 (10) adult (10) Arizona (20) audiobook (16) Celtic (24) Celtic mythology (13) druid (20) druids (61) ebook (27) fae (12) fantasy (152) fiction (67) gods (25) humor (14) Iron Druid (11) Iron Druid Chronicles (23) Kindle (16) magic (46) mythology (29) paranormal (35) read (10) read in 2011 (22) series (23) shapeshifters (10) supernatural (9) to-read (73) urban fantasy (152) vampires (45) werewolves (39) witches (32)

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ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Atticus O’Sullivan is an ancient shapeshifting druid. For a couple thousand years he’s been hiding from Aenghus Óg, the god who used to own the famous sword Fragarach until Atticus relieved him of it on an ancient battlefield. Now Aenghus has some plans to advance himself among the Tuatha Dé Danann and he wants his sword back.

Atticus is now a 21-year-old (it seems) bookshop owner in Tempe, Arizona, near Arizona State University. He sells occult paraphernalia and brews special herbal teas (such as Mobili-Tea and Humili-Tea) for his customers. He’s got a nosey neighbor across the street and a nice Irish widow a few houses down (well, she’s nice as long as you’re not English!). He also has a blood-sucking lawyer. Literally. That’s because the Tempe area attracts lots of paranormals. Some of them are helpful to Atticus, but others are definitely not.

I don’t read a lot of paranormal urban fantasy, just because so much of it features snarky women with chips on their shoulders and the sarcastic humor usually doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve found that I’m more likely to enjoy paranormal works which have male leads, so that’s why I gave Hounded a try.

Atticus O’Sullivan is an excellent male lead — he’s strong but sensitive. He mows the widow’s lawn and cares for his employees, but he kicks ass when he needs to. Kevin Hearne nearly crosses the border into too-good-to-be-true, but he just manages not to step over that line. Hearne’s other characters are terrific, too. I laughed at the vampire lawyer who drives a hot sports car and wears expensive suits, but can’t manage to update his language. I also appreciated that Hearne shows us that as much as we like to say we hate lawyers, they can be really useful sometimes!

My favorite character, though, was Atticus’s dog Oberon who can mind-speak with Atticus. Oberon is the comedic sidekick, providing most of the humor. Only Atticus can hear him, so his comments are often inserted amongst dialogue that Atticus is having with other characters, and this is very funny. Since Oberon watches lots of movies, many of his interruptions are quotes from movies or reminders to Atticus of how what’s happening now is similar to a movie scene. This is especially endearing to SF fans because Oberon loves Star Wars and Star Trek. Oberon always seems to have a current obsession, too. In Hounded, he wants to be Genghis Khan and keeps questioning Atticus about Genghis Khan’s habits, such as did he take his coffee black? (Fortunately, Oberon’s Liberace phase happened before the events of Hounded.)

Oberon is especially effective in the audio version I listened to, narrated by Luke Daniels. This is partly because there are rarely any dialog tags for Oberon (his interruptions are set apart by in the text) and partly because Mr. Daniels makes Oberon actually sound like a big dog. So, when the book is read aloud, the lack of “Oberon said” really makes it sound like Oberon is making comments in the background.

Besides the characters, I loved the mix of the modern with ancient mythologies in Hounded. Kevin Hearne’s contemporary setting near ASU is completely convincing (someday I’ve got to stop for fish and chips at Rúla Búla), but so are the ancient and mythological aspects of the novel.

Hounded was a great read — a wonderful hero with the perfect sidekick, colorful secondary characters, and just the right sense of humor. I’ll be immediately starting the next novel in the Iron Druid Chronicles, Hexed. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
There's been a lot of conversation about the Iron Druid series here on LT so it doesn't really need another review. I'll just say it was really fun and if you like fantasy, especially urban fantasy, and need a "cheer-me-up" book you could do a lot worse. I'll definitely continue the series.
There's been a lot of conversation about the Iron Druid series here on LT so it doesn't really need another review. I'll just say it was really fun and if you like fantasy, especially urban fantasy, and need a "cheer-me-up" book you could do a lot worse. I'll definitely continue the series.
  hailelib | Mar 28, 2014 |
To the best of my recollection the last time I read so-called "urban fantasy" that term didn't encompass too many authors besides Charles de Lint. Now it seems to account for a hefty chunk of the fantasy genre. Unfortunately the vast majority of them seem to be written in my least favorite POV, first person. I think first person is the easiest to write, but deceptively difficult to write well. While it does have its good points, this book would probably have been improved immensely by being written in the third person. Three reasons I can give offhand for that belief are as follows:

1. It would be much easier to buy the lead as a 2000 year old druid if we weren't constantly in his head seeing him act and think like a frat boy.

2. Attempting to convey the character's awesomeness and power by having him tell us himself just makes him seem like a conceited prick.

3. The lead either performs or allows to occur several rather morally despicable acts in the course of the story. While it might have been possible to get away with this without it seriously damaging his likability if the author had managed to convincingly give the sense of a character from a different age and culture, he has failed to do so, (see #1) thus making the lead rather loathsome at several points. I almost abandoned the book after about 1/3 of the way through.

I'm not saying it would be impossible to pull these things off in first person, but in my opinion he failed to do so, and it would likely have been easier in the third. The main character also feels like a bit of a "Mary Sue", though my completely baseless suspicion is that that's a fairly common problem in this particular subgenre.

Considering the fact that one of the reasons I picked up this particular book was the fact that the main character is a druid and not a vampire, werewolf, or some other vomit inducing cliche, surprisingly the main character's werewolf and vampire lawyer team was one of the highlights for me. I don't rule out trying the next book in the series at some point, but it's certainly not an automatic buy for me. ( )
  WeaselBox | Mar 23, 2014 |
Atticus O'Sullivan likes a quiet life. Staying out of trouble is how he's managed to live to the age of 2,100. He's settled in Tempe, Arizona, where he runs a book and herb shop, and spends his spare time doing yard work for the widow down the street and hunting with his Irish wolfhound Oberon. Atticus is a Druid, possibly the last one, and despite his low-key lifestyle, an angry god from his past is still out to get him. His options are fight or flight -- but Atticus is tired of running. The coming battle will involve not just a god and a druid, but werewolves, witches, Fae, and other immortal and/or mythological creatures. Some will fight with Atticus, some will fight against him, some will stand and watch, and some are just interested in making things difficult for everyone concerned. Can Atticus prevail?

It seems like I was hearing about this book everywhere, so I jumped on the bandwagon as it went by. The best comparison I can think of for this book is "Percy Jackson for grown-ups" -- it has the same humorous narrative voice, and plays with the concept of gods and mythology in a modern setting. I really enjoyed it -- I found it a fast, gripping, often funny read, and would recommend it if it sounds like your kind of thing. ( )
  foggidawn | Mar 22, 2014 |
There's something in this book that just fails to reach me, and I can't put my finger on what. Not bad either - continuing on because I need something to listen to in the car and I want to see what everybody's going so crazy about. Maybe it'll catch me later.

Edit: I'm like 60% of the way through book 3 right now, and I think it's hit me. Damnit, Atticus is just way too perfect. Gary Stu, meet Atticus, he's better than you. And that holier-than-thou, I'm-so-clever attitude just wanders around with him all through all three books. I'm still reading, but mostly because I ought to. But whatever people say, this is absolutely not the heir to Dresden -- Dresden being gritty, exhausted, ground down and coming up against odds that he has no chance of beating; Atticus is just tweaking the nose of whatever god attempts to tell him no and doing it anyway. ( )
  lyrrael | Mar 14, 2014 |
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Book description
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power - plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish - to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

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Atticus O'Sullivan, the last of the Druids, finds his peaceful life in Arizona shattered by the arrival of an angry Celtic god who wants Atticus's magical sword, forcing Atticus to call upon some unlikely allies for help.

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