The Iron Druid Chronicles: Hunted by Kevin Hearne – Book Review [Bane of Kings]

Hunted

Bane of Kings writes a review of the latest novel in Kevin Hearne’s gripping Iron Druid series, entitled Hunted – from Orbit Books.

“A fun, action packed book that delivers some great sequences, and some superb narrative with some great humour.” ~The Founding Fields

I’m going to start this review with a confession, I’ve never read any of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series after the brilliant opening novel, which wowed me – but I wasn’t able to get around to picking up more. However, when a review copy turned up at my doorstep, I couldn’t resist, and dived straight in, hoping that things here would be easy enough to jump onto and I wouldn’t miss too much stuff. And whilst there were some bits that I missed out on, such as the introduction of Granuaile, I wasn’t really lost, and enjoyed it a lot, with the writing having improved even more from Hounded, and now I really want to return to earlier instalments to catch up – Hunted is another contender for ‘most fun’ book of the year of 2013, standing up there with the likes of Adam Christopher’s The Age Atomic and Theatre of the Gods by Matt Suddain. Both books so far have been very, very different, and this one is no exception. And it’s not just different. It’s brilliant.

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.

It’s interesting to see Loki play a pretty big role in this instalment. I remember earlier novels synopsis’ mentioning Thor, and given the whole recent popularity of the Norse Gods from 2012’s Avengers Assemble, I was looking forward to seeing how Kevin Hearne would handle the Trickster, and whilst his portrayal of the character is not as memorable as Tom Huddlestone’s, that’s because Loki is far from the starring role here, and the attention is mainly focused on Atticus O’Sullivan and his allies, Granualie, and the ever-amusing wolfhound Oberon. The fact that Granualie has a bigger role to play here than in Hounded shows that the character has changed a lot since then – and I’m really looking forward to seeing where Hearne takes her, Atticus and Oberon in future books.

HuntedThere is however, an unfortunate drawback that continues to plague this series – despite being 2,000 years old, Atticus cracks pop-culture jokes a little too often for my liking, but then again – if you’ve read all of the novels by now, you’ll know what to expect and be pretty used to it. After all, I guess it’s something that defines the character, and it’s interesting to see how he reacts being thrown into different situations, and thankfully – the entire book doesn’t focus around the protagonists running from one place to the other, for they learn more details about the plot as they go on, which develops and really builds to an awesome conclusion.

The plot and the chase sequences allow for some great fast paced narrative which seems to be the overall tone for the series in question. It’s lightning fast, and I really couldn’t put this book down and finished it very quickly – of course, the fact that it didn’t boast a massive page count also helped the speed, and it was helped with the fact that Atticus was a lot more interesting here than in Hounded – I was a lot more compelled to read more of the adventures of the character, and the book really introduces an excellent game-changing move for the series, and whilst it isn’t a cliffhanger, certainly sets up interesting potential for the story going forward.

Of course, there are similarities to The Dresden Files, but what I like about The Iron Druid Chronicles that it actually manages to do what Benedict Jacka’s Fated (A 2012 debut) failed to do – prove that it wasn’t an exact copy. However, fans of both series will find something that they like in The Iron Druid Chronicles, but then – if you’re reading my review of Book Six in the series, chances are – you’ll have encountered Atticus the Druid before – and if you have, well – then there’s virtually no point in reading this review, because you’re more than likely want to read more.

The book itself also draws upon a lot of mythology – I mean, it’s not very often that you get multiple pantheons in one novel, with Loki, Bacchus, Odin, Artemis, and various others, all sharing page-time here allowing for an interesting blend.

VERDICT: 4.5/5

THE IRON DRUID CHRONICLES: The Grimore of the Lamb (0.4)*, Clan Rathskeller (0.5)*, Kaibab Unbound (0.6)*,  Hounded, Hexed, Hammered, A Test of Mettle (3.5)*, Tricked, Two Ravens and One Crow (4.5)*, Trapped, Hunted, COMING SOON: Shattered, 

*These are all short stories/novellas.

 

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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