A new installment of The Iron Druid chronicles? Yes, please! Hunted is Book 6 of this fun, witty, and intelligent Urban Fantasy series by Kevin Hearne, released June 25 by Del Rey. In case you’ve missed out on the charm that is this series, let me sell ya! Love snark? Love pop culture/geek references? Love mythology? You’ll love this series.
Hearne goes beyond the standard triumvirate of mythological realms (Greek, Norse and Celtic) so you’ll find obscure ones in his series, like Perun, the Slavic god of thunder, or Ukko, the Finnish equivalent, the former returning in this installment, and the latter making a debut.
Here’s the blurb:
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.
As the blurb says, this one is mainly the three of them on the run as they try to survive and outwit the two virgin goddesses, so there’s lots of action, but still delivers on the humor fans have come to expect. I’m a fan of any series that has me snort out loud (a good snort of the this-is-my-laugh variety), and this one extorted several from me as well as one prolonged giggle.
For those unfamiliar with the series, one of the big deliverers of humor is his snarky, sausage-loving dog Oberon. Atticus has taught him English and, through his Druid magic, linked their minds so they can communicate telepathically. Here was one of my fave exchanges, with the last line delivered by Oberon into Atticus’ mind as he’s having a very serious conversation with Jupiter.
“That is a noble idea, though I think it far to generous,” Jupiter said. “Once a decade should be sufficient.”
“I would rather be too generous than not in such cases.”
“As you wish.”
[One day, Atticus was amazed to discover that when Jupiter said, “As you wish,” what he really meant was “I love you.”]
Princess Bride fans will, of course, recognize the reference. Here’s another, edited to omit a possible spoiler, wherein Oberon explains to Granuaile what he’d really like as they face battle:
[Some hogs-o-war. Mounted with special ops spider monkeys. Nobody would expect that. Or the Spanish Inquisition.]
What are you talking about?
[You know what I mean! It’s from that play by Shakespeare…]
Shakespeare had a hog-mounted monkey cavalry? In which play?
[I don’t remember the whole thing, because it was very long, but Atticus recited it for me once, and there was a line that went like this: “Cry ham hock and let slip the hogs of war!” I know you might not agree, but for me that was the best thing Shakespeare ever wrote.]
You mean “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war from Julius Caesar?
[No, I don’t think that’s it. There was ham in there; I’m sure he was talking about ham. They were going to battle hunger.]
I think you might have been hungry when you heard it, Oberon.
Besides all the humor and great mythological variety, I also enjoy the world-building–specifically the basis of his magic. This isn’t just a druid who casts spells because that’s what he does–the magic is based on logic, once you believe it’s possible. For instance, he can’t just cast a spell to knock someone down because he knows a Knock Down Spell. No, he has to think about how to accomplish that through using the natural elements around him, like creating a binding between the guy’s natural fibers in the back of his jacket to the sands of the beach so that he’s pulled down. Atticus gets in some very serious binds in this book, and it’s through his creative use of bindings that he gets out of them.
Be forewarned: the last part of the book is made up of his novella Two Ravens and One Crow, fitting between Tricked and Trapped in the series. I say this, because I was thinking I still had a bit to go based on the thickness of what was left, and so the ending threw me when it came, kinda spoiling it a little as I didn’t realize what I was reading was the final showdown and the cool off/wrap-up. Though I’m glad to have the novella, as that was a nice surprise and had been on my list to purchase.
Have you read the series? What do you enjoy most about it? If you haven’t, I recommend you start with Hounded (Book 1) Also, where can I get a Hump Me Oberon toy?
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