Atticus, his wolfhound Oberon and world’s newest Druid Granuaile are back in Hunted, the sixth installment in the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.
For a two-thousand-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan is a pretty fast runner. Good thing, because he’s being chased by not one but two goddesses of the hunt—Artemis and Diana—for messing with one of their own. Dodging their slings and arrows, Atticus, Granuaile, and his wolfhound Oberon are making a mad dash across modern-day Europe to seek help from a friend of the Tuatha Dé Danann. His usual magical option of shifting planes is blocked, so instead of playing hide-and-seek, the game plan is . . . run like hell.
Crashing the pantheon marathon is the Norse god Loki. Killing Atticus is the only loose end he needs to tie up before unleashing Ragnarok—AKA the Apocalypse. Atticus and Granuaile have to outfox the Olympians and contain the god of mischief if they want to go on living—and still have a world to live in.
This book was everything I hoped it would be. It had intense action scenes, tons of mythology from all different cultures, and plenty of unexpected twists and turns. Atticus and Granuaile’s race across Europe is intense and well-written enough that even though it lasts for several chapters it doesn’t get boring. As they hurry towards Windsor Forest, where the Morrigan swears they will be protected, they encounter vampires, dark elves, and even human assassins who are all trying desperately to kill them. Along the way, Atticus and Granuaile try to determine who could be so desperate for their demise. Whoever it is has a ton of power and authority and doesn’t seem to mind that killing Atticus will result in Ragnarok. But before Atticus can figure out who the mystery person out to get him is, he has to stop the Olympians who are on his tail and make peace with those pantheons, so he can focus on stopping the end of the world.
There were many things I really liked about this novel. Parts of it were told from Granuaile’s perspective, which was great. I am always surprised by how serious Granuaile is when you’re inside her head. Listening to her and Oberon figure things out when they were briefly on their own was telling, and we learned a lot about Granuaile in that short time. The relationship between Granuaile and Atticus developed as well. I love that Atticus is continually surprised by how much he loves Granuaile. It’s very cute. I also love how Oberon is always picking on Atticus and Granuaile and telling them not to be too cute, or pretending to vomit. Reminds you that Atticus and Granuaile are still human despite their magic and how much time they spend with deities. Of course this book was full of humorous pop culture references, another one of my favorite parts of Hearne’s writing. Characters I love, mythology, an excellent story, and hilarious pop culture references that keep me laughing out loud makes this one of my favorite book series and Hearne one of my favorite authors.
I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t see more of Herne the Hunter in this book, especially since I identified him the moment the cover was released. What we did see of him was cool, and he was important in that Atticus kept talking about him. And of course the cover image was awesome! But I did wish Herne had a bigger role. Oh well, it didn’t take anything away from the story.
Many pieces of Atticus’s life are starting to come together in this novel, as he comes closer to knowing who is true allies are and who is after him. Of course we don’t learn too much, since there are many more books coming, but we learn enough to have some questions answered and stay interested in what’s happening next. We also get to see almost all the characters we have met in the past. Atticus runs across Malina and her coven of Polish witches, the no-longer-friendly vampire Lief, the werewolf lawyer Hal, and even the thunder god Perun. I love that the fun “side characters” keep coming back, even if it’s only for a brief moment. This was an exciting story that sated my craving for Atticus and Oberon but still leaves me wanting more.
There were several goodies in the back of this book, the first being an author’s note telling us that if you visit www.kevinhearne.com and stop by the Goodies section, you can find a detailed color-coded Google map of Atticus, Oberon and Granuaile’s run through Europe with all the important stops marked. DO NOT look at the map until you read the book, or important plot points will be given away. But do check it out once you’ve read the book, because (like everything else Kevin Hearne does for his readers) it’s super cool. Also at the back of this book was the novella Two Ravens and One Crow, which falls between Tricked and Trapped and Hearne calls book 4.5. Events from the novella are referred to in both Trapped and Hunted, and it was great to finally read this part of Atticus’s story.
Lastly, a note about guilt ferrets. Atticus talks about guilt ferrets all the time, which amuses me greatly and is a really good description for a guilty feeling. I used that expression in real life one time, I think around my mom, and was then stuck trying to explain what, exactly, a guilt ferret is. Which I failed at spectacularly, and was rewarded for my troubles by one of those wide-eyed-did-you-just-grow-a-head looks. Happily, Hearne did me the favor of defining guilt ferrets in his novella. Atticus is talking to the Morrigan, and the conversation goes thusly:
“What are guilt ferrets?” [said the Morrigan]
“They’re bastards. They cling to your neck and tickle and bite and generally make you miserable, which is a pretty good trick for a metaphor.” They were also impervious to logic–perhaps their most diabolical power.
So there ya go. When possible, avoid guilt ferrets.
There is no word yet on when the next Iron Druid novel will be released, or what it will be called or anything. So now we all get to wait in suspense to find out what happens to our favorite Druids and wolfhound next!
May Harmony find you,