Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #1
Published by Brilliance Audio, Del Rey on May 3, 2011
Genres: Adult SFF, Urban Fantasy
Length: 8 hours 11 minutes
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Source: Library or Borrowed
My Reviews in this series: Hexed, Hammered
*This book was provided by the Library or Borrowed for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
The first novel in the Iron Druid Chronicles--introducing a cool, new, funny urban fantasy hero.
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 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.
Hounded starts off a new series of kick ass for urban fantasy fans to sink their teeth into. I know I know, I’m late to the show on this one. But what can I say – there are only so many hours of the day and only one of me. Thankfully I’m utilizing even more of my time lately by delving more and more into audio books. I had heard this one had some excellent narration and I won’t totally disagree. I did really enjoy the narrator Luke Daniels interpretation of all of the voices, except that of Atticus himself (forgive me any name typos as I didn’t see the spelling). I think he make Atticus sound a bit cheesey/campy and that isn’t how I picture him sounding or acting. Nuance of voice can do a lot to change a character. I am hoping that his narration of Atticus changes and improves over the course of the series (which I think it will because I snuck a sneak listen sample to the latest book Shattered when I was sent a copy for review before I had even started Hounded and that was what prompted me to start from the beginning instead.)
Onto the story! Atticus is a druid, one of the only ones left in the world and he is hundreds of years old. He’s discovered a concoction for staying young and is putting it to good use. He’s not living high on the hog like I would expect a centuries old immortal to be living, instead he owns a modest little bookstore slash tea shop in Arizona. He happens to be in Arizona hiding out from the Celtic god of Love, Angus Og who claims he stole a very powerful sword during a battle a long time ago. He’s been sending his lackies after him hunting him all these years to get the sword back.
The story opens up with a group of such lackies having found Atticus in front of his shop. Of course Atticus quickly dispatches all (jeez I can’t remember how many of them there were now – 3 to 5 of them) with a big old can of whoop ass and that pretty much sets the tone for how much klout Atticus manages against his foes. He not only has the power of regeneration but he can shapeshift into various animal forms, talk to animals and I’m sure a handful of other things I can’t recall right now. Where most urban fantasies I read start out with their protagonist being a bit of an underdog and lightweight at first Kevin Hearne rolls Atticus at us with full strength and know how. I’m not exactly sure how much I’ll like that because if you’re already one of the biggest kids in the playground who could ever really possibly kick your ass? I’m sure that will make for some very interesting bad guys that Atticus will come up against in future novels.
I do have a few gripes regarding dialogue in relation to Atticus. I don’t know if this was the audio that made some of this dialogue sound clunky or immature/cheesy or if it would have read the same way to me if I were reading the text versus listening to it. It left me with a bit of a disconnect between how old Atticus is really supposed to be and how young and immature he sounded at times. I know that we still want to be able to relate to him as a young early twenties guy to keep the fresh aged feel but I can tell his personality is going to require some getting used to on my part before I fully warm up to him. Now Oberon his dog I absolutely love. But then I always adore animal sidekicks.
The plot of this series opener focuses on Angus Og finally finding Atticus and attempting to get the sword back. Various other celtic god players come into the mix and leave Atticus not knowing who he can really trust. There is also a coven of witches, a pack of werewolves and a vampire that get involved in the story rounded this out as a nicely fleshed out urban fantasy. I will definitely be continuing and plan to do so with the audios because it was an extremely quick and enjoyable listen and the narrator’s Atticus voice is slowly growing on me.
Overall Story: 3.5
Audio rating: 3