Hunted by Kevin Hearne
In Hunted, the Iron Druid series expands to let us hear the thoughts of Granuaile, now a full druid, as she and Atticus run across Europe to escape Loki, the vampires, and the dark elves chasing them. This book was better for me than the previous one, Trapped, except that the ending left some unanswered questions. I’m betting they’ll be addressed in the next novel in the series.
Publisher’s Description: 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.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
After struggling a little bit with the constrained feeling of Trapped (which I realize was appropriate, given the title), Hunted sucked me into the story and got me feeling “back to normal” with the series. For most of the book, Atticus, Oberon, and Granuaile are making a mad dash across Europe on foot, Atticus and Granuaile in their hooved shapes. I did wonder, a time or two, what was feeding energy to Oberon. I know Atticus and Granuaile receive energy from Gaia through their tattoos, but was the same happening for Oberon? Can a wolfhound sustain that kind of running for that long? I also panicked thinking that Oberon might be lost in the waters of the Channel. Yep, I am one of those people who are more concerned about the welfare of animals than people most of the time.
I thought my heart was going to break when Oberon and Granuaile thought Atticus was dead. The despondency in Oberon, and then his eulogy to Atticus, about killed me. Thanks for that, Kevin! I don’t think I had cried reading the series until this point, not even at the death of the Morrigan, though that made me very sad.
A couple of things surprised me, though they reveal more about me than the book: first, that big box sporting goods stores are so prevalent in Europe; and second, that Granuaile’s voice would be SO lyrical and poetic. Now that Granuaile is bound to the earth, we get to “hear” things from her point of view.
The snark and jokes, especially from Oberon, are hilarious as always: The “Hump Me Oberon” doll; the Princess Bride reference; the bribing with Girl Scout cookies; the bits about human mating rituals being stupid. The descriptions of the Greek gods and the conversation with Zeus and Jupiter are fantastic and funny. The banter between the characters, especially Oberon, is so entertaining that it alone would keep someone coming back to the series. I’m thankful I’ve listed to all the books rather than read them; Luke Daniels does such a great job with all the voices, but Oberon in particular. It has to be much funnier to hear the banter than to read it.
The ending, though… It frustrated me. Most of the book seemed to be about running from the Olympians (with dark elves and vampires thrown in for good measure). The major encounter with the Olympians ends somewhat early in the book, and then there is this bit where Atticus goes in search of Lord Grundlebeard and Midhir. He find them both dead, but that’s the end of that bit. There were never any answers about who killed them. Then Atticus and co. go off to see who the Morrigan left on the Time Islands, but we don’t learn that person’s identity, either (though I guessed it). The ending didn’t feel like an ending, really. The major story ended, and then a couple more bits were tacked on, but without any resolution. I get that these bits will be important in the overall series arc, but I guess they just seemed oddly placed. Did I not have Book 7, Shattered, to jump right into, I think I would have been highly irritated.
In any case, I still liked the book and thought it was a great adventure. I’m invested in the characters, now and want to see them succeed. They keep getting into deeper and deeper trouble, however; at this point, I’m just hoping they survive!
Percy Procrastinator says…
Things I didn’t liked: A bit of a misdirect but at least it was set up. I’m not sure if I liked the change in perspective or not. I think a bit of mystery and filler might have worked better.
Things I like: Kevin Hearne has created characters that are so real. Without seeing any clues, I would know who said a line because they are so sharp in my mind. If Atticus and Granuaile are away from the earth, I wonder if they will have enough stored magic to cast their spells because I know the magic system. And I do wonder if Oberon will ever get his fill of sausages. (No.)
I really enjoyed this book. The traveling across Europe, the politics, the hunt, and the ideas they used to evade the hunt. I enjoy the magic of the books and the mythology that has been set up. When the book ended, I had to start the next book right away and was glad to have it.
If you like this book…
The Iron Druid Chronicles are often compared to Jim Butcher’s the Dresden Files series. I think readers of one would probably like the other. The Remy Chandler series by Thomas E. Snigoski is another obvious choice. The protagonist, angel Remy Chandler, can also speak to his dog, and I believe the series is also narrated by Luke Daniels.