My first review, and one of my favorites, Hounded by Kevin Hearne.
Kevin Hearne’s Hounded is the first in a series of urban fantasy novels called The Iron Druid Chronicles. The book is a refreshingly new sort of fantasy novel, with a leading male character, written by a man. The novel is fast-paced, witty, and fun.
Atticus O’Sullivan appears to be a young, college-aged Irish lad, but in fact he is a 2100-year-old Druid, and the last one left. He owns a bookstore in Tempe, Arizona called Third Eye Books, where he sells Tarot cards and special teas to college students and other community members who had no idea that the teas they are drinking are more than just tasty. He lives in a small house with an herb garden out back, and he mows his neighbor’s (who, by the way, is a little old Irish lady who hates Brits) lawn. He can talk to his Irish wolfhound Oberon (which is one of my favorite parts. Who doesn’t want to talk to their dog?). His lawyers are as other-worldly as he is. One is a vampire who is almost–but not quite– as old as he is, and the other is second-in-command of the local werewolf pack.
In this story, Atticus is being hunted by one of the leaders of the fae–yes, faeries are real in this world, but not the cute winged fairies like Tinkerbell–who has been after him for several centuries. The faerie god, Aenghus Og, first sends his minions after Atticus, including giants, and a faerie hit squad, which he must defeat with his brave dog, a motley collection of allies, and a variety of spiffy Druid talents. Eventually, Atticus and Aenghus Og have a showdown, and only one survives.
This book could be described as “typical” urban fantasy in that fae, vampires, werewolves, witches, gods, and just about every other magical creature you can imagine are real, and it takes place in present day. However, the book is different from your average fantasy novel in that is spends more time on the plot and developing the characters than the relationship between the main character and their significant other, as do many fantasy novels. There are several female characters, but none of them can really be considered leads. Several characters are introduced, more than one may think would be wise for the first novel in the series, but the reader always learns enough about the characters to remember who’s who and what’s what. The lines between good and evil are not firmly drawn, which adds to the excitement.
This book was written as an adult novel, but it is appropriate for young adults as well. The novel is surprisingly “clean” of profanity and sex, which are usually large parts of many urban fantasy novels. The novel is filled with pop culture references, including “frakkin’ cylons” “Hatori Hanzo” swords, and “golden protocol droids.” If you are looking for a light, fun, and entertaining read that is sure to have you laughing out loud, then Hounded is for you.
Reviews for the next few books in the series will be posted soon, to get ready for the release of the fifth book in the series in November!