Hunted by Kevin Hearne
Hunted (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Six)
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“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.”
A new Iron Druid novel is always a treat for me, and this one was wonderful. The past couple of books have been good, but haven’t been quite as incredibly awesome as the ones that came before. Mostly that was due to a few wee issues I had with the pacing, but that’s not the case with Hunted. Hearne took a single plotline and ran with it—and in the case of his main characters, that “running” is literal. Atticus and his friends traverse Europe on a mad dash to escape the goddesses of the hunt, and although this gets close to my hated “interminable wandering in the woods” plot, this book never sinks into being boring. Everything that happens here furthers the plot, and nothing is extraneous.
This time we also get something different: a few sections of the story are told from Granuaile’s point of view. Her voice is distinct from Atticus’s in that she sounds more like what I would have imagined a druid’s inner voice would be. Her thoughts are organized, almost formal, and lyrical. It’s an interesting contrast to Atticus, whom readers are used to “hearing” as the narrator. Of course, there’s also plenty of humor thrown around by Oberon, the snarky Irish wolfhound. I never get tired of his antics, and he provides some of the funniest moments.
I have to hand it to the author for managing to take these wonderfully amusing characters and delivering one of the most somber moments I’ve seen in fantasy fiction. Without giving away too much, it involves Oberon reflecting on how old he is and realizing that he’s much older than any other dog. It’s nice to see that these characters aren’t one-trick ponies of humor—they can be serious as well.
I find myself really liking all the characters. I genuinely like Atticus and would love to sit down and chat with him over a beer. The villains are not mustache-twirlingly evil—they have understandable motivations. And there are some characters whose motivations and allegiances remain in question, giving readers something to chew on while waiting for the next installment.
The inclusion of a variety of mythological pantheons works well, as it acknowledges how many belief systems there are in the world and doesn’t negate any of them. I was pleased to see Herne the Hunter make an appearance in this book alongside the expected Greek and Roman regulars. Hearne (the author) shines at making these differing gods and heroes coexist in a way that feels organic instead of forced.
Above all else, Hunted is a fun book. It has action, peril, laughs, and great characters. I have gleefully shoved this book into many people’s hands and will continue to do so as long as it’s in print. If you’re not reading the Iron Druid Chronicles, you’re missing out on one of the best urban fantasy series on the shelves, and you have some catching up to do to get to the awesomeness that is Hunted.
This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on June 26, 2013.
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles
Publisher: Del Rey
Page Count: 400
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Acquired: Provided by the publisher as an e-ARC through NetGalley
Read an excerpt