Shattered by Kevin Hearne
Shattered adds yet another voice to the series; so we now see the world through the eyes of three different druids. There’s quite a lot happening in this installment, so be prepared!
Publisher’s Description: For nearly two thousand years, only one Druid has walked the Earth—Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword have kept him alive as he’s been pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company.
Atticus’s apprentice Granuaile is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy.
And Owen has some catching up to do.
Atticus takes pleasure in the role reversal, as the student is now the teacher. Between busting Atticus’s chops and trying to fathom a cell phone, Owen must also learn English. For Atticus, the jury’s still out on whether the wily old coot will be an asset in the epic battle with Norse god Loki—or merely a pain in the arse.
But Atticus isn’t the only one with daddy issues. Granuaile faces a great challenge: to exorcise a sorcerer’s spirit that is possessing her father in India. Even with the help of the witch Laksha, Granuaile may be facing a crushing defeat.
As the trio of Druids deals with pestilence-spreading demons, bacon-loving yeti, fierce flying foxes, and frenzied Fae, they’re hoping that this time, three’s a charm.
“… I was sure Manannan felt it too—the crushing questions of how we got to this place and whether we could have avoided it, where we went wrong, and whether we would ever learn how not to cock up other people’s lives in the course of living our own.” [emphasis mine]
Most of the books in the Iron Druid series have been pure entertainment for me; I’ve not thought much about any major theme the author might be addressing. But Shattered is different; its theme hit me very hard, making it the most emotional book of the series so far for me.
The emphasized part of the quote above summarizes the message I’ve taken from this book: how do we live our own lives while doing as little damage to others as possible. Though Atticus is a good guy – for the most part thoughtful, kind, and generous – he occasionally does some stupid things that have big negative consequences for other people. Sometimes he doesn’t have to do anything at all to bring pain or death to those he knows and loves; who and what he is endangers anyone he’s close to.
It’s not just Atticus who brings bad things to those he loves; in this book, we are shown several examples of the unintentional impact many characters have had on others.
There are unintended consequences for everything we do; if we are lucky, those consequences are neutral or even good. Many times, they are bad and do something to insult or damage someone else. We may not even be aware of what we’ve done. Is it even possible to live in such a way that minimizes these consequences? Some forethought and impulse control would certainly go a long way, but I don’t think we can ever avoid negatively affecting others. If one tried, one would be totally incapable of acting, imagining all the things that could possibly go wrong for someone else. The only way not to impact someone or something is to not exist.
Which brings us to the idea that all people and all things are interconnected. That seems a very druidic way of thinking, and thus appropriate for this series. If we go one step further, I imagine we would have to consider how many of the bad things in our lives are the unintended consequences of the actions of others. And since we can’t avoid those consequences ourselves, we should probably learn how to forgive others and live in a state of grace.
Ug! This sounds so heady and mature for something I intended to “read” for escape and entertainment. But apparently this student was ready for the message, and the teacher appeared in the form of this book.
Speaking of the book, you probably want to hear something about it rather than about my personal challenges. 😉 As always, kudos to Luke Daniels for some amazing narration. Dude, I can NOT imagine how speaking like Owen didn’t damage your voice. Were you hoarse for days? The addition of Orlaith, Granuaile’s new hound, is beautiful and touching. And thought it might take a while for the reader to figure out why Atticus, Granuaile, and Owen seem to be telling three different stories, it will make sense in the end. Shattered is an appropriate title for this book in many ways.
Percy Procrastinator says…
Things I didn’t like: I think the bad thing about this book is that it showed how the last few books were off track and different from the rest of the series. A very good diversion but I think this got us back on track with what I think is the main thrust of the series, Ragnarok.
Things I like: I really like the plane hopping and jumping around. I like seeing powerful individuals being able to do powerful things, rather than be hunted. I liked getting back to gods and their schemes and how Atticus was either pulled along or caused something.
It did take me a bit to get used to the new perspectives that were used in the book but once I did, I appreciated what that brought to the table. It was good to see Granuaile on her own adventure. It was also interesting to see Owen work on his language space. All of it kept me going until the end, which came too fast.
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 (and a new installment is due out in October!). The protagonist, angel Remy Chandler, can also speak to his dog, and I believe the series is also narrated by Luke Daniels.