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A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

The author of the beloved Iron Druid Chronicles delivers a high fantasy series rich in magic, history, and culture.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

A plague of giantsTitle: A Plague of Giants
Author: Kevin Hearne
Series: Seven Kennings 01
Publish Date: October 17, 2017, Del Rey
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Provided by publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionFrom the author of The Iron Druid Chronicles, a thrilling novel that kicks off a fantasy series with an entirely new mythology–complete with shape-shifting bards, fire-wielding giants, and children who can speak to astonishing beasts.

MOTHER AND WARRIOR
Tallynd is a soldier who has already survived her toughest battle: losing her husband. But now she finds herself on the front lines of an invasion of giants, intent on wiping out the entire kingdom, including Tallynd’s two sons–all that she has left. The stakes have never been higher. If Tallynd fails, her boys may never become men.

SCHOLAR AND SPY
Dervan is an historian who longs for a simple, quiet life. But he’s drawn into intrigue when he’s hired to record the tales of a mysterious bard who may be a spy or even an assassin for a rival kingdom. As the bard shares his fantastical stories, Dervan makes a shocking discovery: He may have a connection to the tales, one that will bring his own secrets to light.

REBEL AND HERO
Abhi’s family have always been hunters, but Abhi wants to choose a different life for himself. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Abhi soon learns that his destiny is far greater than he imagined: a powerful new magic thrust upon him may hold the key to defeating the giants once and for all–if it doesn’t destroy him first. Set in a magical world of terror and wonder, this novel is a deeply felt epic of courage and war, in which the fates of these characters intertwine–and where ordinary people become heroes, and their lives become legend.


Percy Procrastinator says…

I was very nervous about reading this series. The reason is quite simple—authors that I like for one series rarely catch me with their other series. Butcher’s Codex Alera and Cinder Spires didn’t thrill me as much as the Dresden Files, and Armstrong’s Cainsville series didn’t quite live up to the Women of the Otherworld series for me. While there are a few exceptions to this, this seems to be the general rule in my experience.

Kevin Hearne defied my expectations. This was an excellent start to what I hope is a gripping series, as gripping as his Iron Druid Chronicles.

Hearne manages to weave a tale of six peoples in six kingdoms that pulled me into their story. Each one has its own kenning, or magic, they practice. The titular giants make up the only nonhuman group, but the diversity of the humans astounds. Not so much in speech, as the story is recounted by a bard to a group of refugees, but in culture and appearance, each kingdom comes alive. When the bard mentions the Canopy, I knew he spoke about Forn. The best stone workers hail from Rael, while water kennings are from Brynlon. Only Ghurana Nent, or Nentians, stand alone with no kenning.

The title quickly comes into play as the giants of Hathrir, with their fire kenning, come to invade Ghurana Nent while at the same time, the other side of the continent sees Brynlon and Rael invaded by Bone Giants. Both deal with giants but in very different ways.

We learn about all of this from the bard Fintan as he entertains refugees of Byrnlon with what happened during all the “plagues.” Fintan gathered journals from people close to the events and shares with everyone. He then weaves a tale, switching back and forth from character to character. This allows us to learn about each people and their kenning and also how each invasion progresses.

I was hooked after fifty pages. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Would one giant invasion succeed while another failed? Would Abbi take up the spear to honor his family? Will Tallynd keep pushing herself beyond her limits? I wanted to know!

I did get this book as a physical book, and I appreciated that a lot due to the map in the front cover and the cast of characters in the first pages until I got to know them all. While I could have read it on an ebook, I think having those things available did help.

If I have any complaint about this book, it’s where it ended. Not everything was wrapped up, and I expected that, so that was fine. I do think that a few smaller things could have been explained in only four or five more pages, and that would have been more satisfying. That is not going to stop me from giving this a five-star rating! If you are a fan of Hearne, run out and get this now!

[Editor’s note – please don’t run as we would hate for you to fall and get injured.]

Luna_Lovebooks_100

Luna Lovebooks says…

I must admit when I saw the cover, even after reading the synopsis, my mind went straight to Vikings. I am not sure why. But what I got instead was one wild ride and a great start to a series with myths all its own.

The story is told from multiple points of view. All these views contribute to the overall story of how the giants came to the different lands. To be honest there are almost too many points of view. While each is distinct, I still found myself wondering who was who and what magic they could possess.

It took me a while to get intrigued and drawn in. I am not sure if this is because there were so much world building going on or the fact that I struggled to keep everyone straight, even with a little guide at the beginning as to who was who. Each character has his/her own nation, customs, language, and magic or kenning.

badge3v4I think I will have to rate A Plague of Giants at 3.5. The beginning didn’t flow well since there were so many characters but once I got used to the way the story was progressing it smoothed out. I haven’t decided if I want to continue the series yet but I hope my fellow readers will give it a try for themselves.

Other recommendations…

Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series, Raymond Feist’s Riftwar Saga, Feist and Wurts’s Empire TrilogyThe Glass Spare series by Lauren DeStefano, Swords & Fire series by Melissa Caruso

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne

Welcome to Saturday Shorts. A poodle has been kid—, er, dognapped, and Oberon will not stand for that! Told from Oberon’s point of view, this book is a hilarious short story about a mystery that Atticus and Oberon have together. Will Oberon, and his assistant Atticus, be able to rescue the poodle before something bad happens? And will Oberon be able to earn the sausages Atticus has promised if they find the poodle? It’s a fun read that answers those questions!

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Purloined PoodleTitleOberon’s Meaty Mysteries: The Purloined Poodle
AuthorKevin Hearne
SeriesIron Druid Chronicles, Book 8.5
Publish Date: September 30, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Netgalley

Publisher’s Description: Thanks to his relationship with the ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, Oberon the Irish wolfhound knows trouble when he smells it—and furthermore, he knows he can handle it.

When he discovers that a prizewinning poodle has been abducted in Eugene, Oregon, he learns that it’s part of a rash of hound abductions all over the Pacific Northwest. Since the police aren’t too worried about dogs they assume have run away, Oberon knows it’s up to him to track down those hounds and reunite them with their humans. For justice! And gravy!

Engaging the services of his faithful Druid, Oberon must travel throughout Oregon and Washington to question a man with a huge salami, thwart the plans of diabolical squirrels, and avoid, at all costs, a fight with a great big bear.

But if he’s going to solve the case of the Purloined Poodle, Oberon will have to recruit the help of a Boston terrier named Starbuck, survive the vegetables in a hipster pot pie, and firmly refuse to be distracted by fire hydrants and rabbits hiding in the rose bushes.

At the end of the day, will it be a sad bowl of dry kibble for the world’s finest hound detective, or will everything be coming up sirloins?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

What I Didn’t Like: I can’t think of anything.

What I Liked: This was a fun, quick mystery that I really enjoyed reading. Oberon’s point of view is just so much fun to read. I do get Oberon’s Shenanigans, his monthly newsletter, so had some idea how it would go. I was not disappointed. Not only do we get a fun mystery, but we also learn why it would be better if everyone greeted each other with butt-sniffs and which meats are the best! And it’s just fun!

From a bigger picture perspective, this is a good story on why Atticus doesn’t get involved in things all of the time. It’s very difficult to explain your druidic powers to the authorities, much less have to explain them in a court! Atticus has to balance out what he tells the detective in charge as well as the owners, so that he doesn’t scare them off giving him the information he needs to help rescue the Purloined Poodle.

badge5v4A strong five. In fact, now that we have eight books, and a few short stories, in this series, I think this would be a strong contender as a short story to get new people hooked into the series. It’s self contained and while it does give away a few things from the series, I don’t think that what it gives away is that surprising. Indeed, having the perspective might make a few early novels be more fun.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

I just LOVE Kevin Hearne. Can I say that? Literary references, historical references, RPG references, sci-fi TV show references. Specific episodes, even, like the X-files episode with Big Mike. I just want to hug this guy and call him family.

Yes, all those references are made in The Purloined Poodle, in addition to it being a great mystery. Oberon, Atticus’s Irish Wolfhound and comic sidekick, gets his own story from his own point of view, and it’s wonderfully done. From the inaccurate sense of time to the obsession with meat to the ongoing battle with squirrels and other distractions, we really get a sense of what it’s like to be Oberon in Atticus’s world.

badge5v4The book had me laughing the entire time; but I cannot WAIT for the audio! I feel sorry for Luke Daniels, as voicing Oberon for a whole novella has got to kill his voice for a few days. But OMG it is going to be so epic. 🙂

Lots and lots of geeky love for this awesome novella.

Nervous Nellie says…

This is a quick novella starring Oberon and his druid, Atticus.  Oberon wants to solve the mystery of Nervous_Nellie_100who is dog napping so many champion dogs.  Their people seem very distressed and Oberon just wants to be Sherlock Holmes complete with the hat and pipe.

Atticus cheats at solving this mystery by using his transportation skills and his ability to talk to dogs.

This was a fun murder mystery, dognapping conspiracy with riotous narration by Oberon himself.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Staked by Kevin Hearne

Atticus is finding out that actions have consequences, and not just for him.

16280689Title:  Staked
Author:  Kevin Hearne
SeriesIron Druid Chronicles Book 08
Publish Date:  January 26, 2016
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Iron Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, hero of Kevin Hearne’s epic New York Times best-selling urban fantasy series, has a point to make – and then drive into a vampire’s heart.

When a Druid has lived for 2,000 years like Atticus, he’s bound to run afoul of a few vampires – make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers – led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus – have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It’s time to make a stand.

As always, Atticus wouldn’t mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it’s not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki’s mark and elude his powers of divination – a quest that will bring her face to face with several Slavic nightmares.

As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis, Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won’t come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

Things I didn’t like: I think I would like to see some follow up with Jesus and some of the others who warned Atticus. Just to get closure with them. This is a very minor thing, though, and could still happen.

Things I liked: The whole book. Again, Kevin Hearne has created a intricate world. As with some of the previous books, Atticus’ choices are coming back to haunt not only him but his former archdruid now. Owen is trying to set up his own grove to teach some apprentices, and he has found some, but things go bad when he is attacked in retaliation for Atticus’ actions! I really wondered how it was going to end between those two but it was done well. Meanwhile, Granuaile is showing that she is also a force to be reckoned with in her own right. I liked her own growth and direction in the book.

For most of the book, each of the main characters is on their own. It’s really fun to read how they missed each other by only a day as they check in at standard places. It’s fun to read Owen’s perspective on the modern world and to see his iron age views. I also like that Granuaile has come into her own and has her own agenda and things she wants to do. I like her pushing Atticus to think about things he couldn’t when he was still running from Angheas Og. And now that he doesn’t have to anymore, I wonder what he might choose to do? Well, assuming he survives the next book!

badge5v4I really enjoyed reading about each of their own adventures and how it came together in the end. The author continues to amaze and fascinate me with the world and the characters in it.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

What drew me to this book: I am in love with this series, particularly in audio!  It pains me that it took me a few months to fit listening to Staked into my schedule.  But I finally did, and the wait was worth it.

Why I kept reading: Because Kevin Hearne and Luke Daniels are awesome.  Because these stories keep getting deeper and more thought-provoking with each book.  Because I like Owen way more than I thought I would originally. Because Oberon and Orlaith are irresistible and I just want to rub their bellies!

Does anyone else remember the short-lived but wonderful TV show called Daybreak, starring the oh-so-beautiful Taye Diggs? It was a serious thriller version of Groundhog Day. The antagonist in that show would whisk Diggs’s character away at the end of a particularly disastrous event and say, in a wise and arrogant tone, “Action, consequence.” The idea is that Diggs, and the viewer, get to see what consequence his actions have because he’s replaying his day over and over again, acting differently to get different results.

The Iron Druid Chronicles is not Groundhog Day, but the phrase, “Action, consequence,” runs through my mind often as I read this series. In the beginning, Atticus had just himself to worry about, and a small number of friends. Once action after another increases his circle of close companions, but also increases the complexity of his life and the seriousness of the consequences coming at him.  The message that we are all connected and our actions have consequences on everyone grows stronger with each novel, even as the entertainment value stays strong.

badge5v4Why I recommend it: This is one damn good book in a damn good series.  If you like audiobooks, Luke Daniel’s narration is really the best way to experience these characters. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, deeply meaningful, and a whopping good time!

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try Jim Butcher‘s work, the Scion RPG, or high level DND play including Planescape.

Tricked by Kevin Hearne

Atticus is on the run with his apprentice after the events of Hammered. However, Atticus is about to learn the hard way that not everyone that he has come to trust is deserving of that trust.

trickedTitle:  Tricked
Author:  Kevin Hearne
SeriesThe Iron Druid Chronicles Book 04
Publish Date:  January 1, 2012
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionDruid Atticus O’Sullivan hasn’t stayed alive for more than two millennia without a fair bit of Celtic cunning. So when vengeful thunder gods come Norse by Southwest looking for payback, Atticus, with a little help from the Navajo trickster god Coyote, lets them think that they’ve chopped up his body in the Arizona desert.

But the mischievous Coyote is not above a little sleight of paw, and Atticus soon finds that he’s been duped into battling bloodthirsty desert shapeshifters called skinwalkers. Just when the Druid thinks he’s got a handle on all the duplicity, betrayal comes from an unlikely source. If Atticus survives this time, he vows he won’t be fooled again. Famous last words.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

Things I didn’t like: The best I can do this time around is say that I don’t like how Coyote treats Atticus, and Granuaile by extension, in getting Atticus to do things that really seem to be things that Coyote can, should, and is supposed to do. I was also surprised but bummed at how Atticus has to leave his old life behind, in more ways than one, and the lessons from that. The other thing I don’t like is that more time hasn’t passed between books. I think only a few months have passed from book one and I would like to see more time pass, for many reasons. That’s a minor quibble, though, and may be taken care of in later books.

Things I liked: Again, the way that Hearne has defined the magic of the world captivates me. I really like how he has defined druidic magic and what Atticus can do with it. I’m also happy that there aren’t any flashbacks, as those tropes have gotten old with me. Those same flashbacks could make Atticus depressed because he would have been even more powerful a hundred years ago before “unnatural” things and he could manipulate so much more. So I like how Atticus has to work around that and figure out what he can do. I enjoyed seeing the two mythologies mix together and the differences between them. I also liked the interaction between him and Granuaile, even as she admitted some things she should have said a while ago.

badge5v4This book kept it moving and was a page turner for me. I didn’t like reading how good of a Trickster Coyote is and though I put him in things I didn’t like, he is definitely true to what he is. In that, Coyote is written well, but annoying. Again, Atticus is shown that he has a lot to learn but also knows a lot. It’s a very good mix, again between the mythologies. And finding out some background on him was also interesting. I’m ready for the next one!

Stand Out Award Badge2Our reviews in this series…

I’ve added my reviews for Trapped, Hunted, and Shattered to Ivana’s reviews of the audios, so be sure to check those out, too!

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try Jim Butcher‘s work, the Scion RPG, or high level DND play including Planescape.

Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Atticus grew up in a time when your word was all you had. He plans to make good on his word to kill Thor, the god of thunder, even when everything and everyone is telling him he shouldn’t.

HammeredTitle:  Hammered
Author:  Kevin Hearne
SeriesThe Iron Druid Chronicles Book 03
Publish Date:  July 5, 2011
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

Things I didn’t like: Again, I can’t think of anything I didn’t like with this book.

Things I liked: All of it. It started out with some good action and background all at the same time. Then trouble started and kept going, right up until the end. I liked being introduced to other mythologies, whether purely the work of the author and based in real world or just real world. I liked how bigger things are happening and there is a sense of them but the story is focused on the adventure at hand.

badge5v4Kevin Hearne has done it again. Written a book that fully pulled me into it and I could not wait to read more. All of his character are fun to learn about. And even for being an old and experienced character, I like how Atticus realizes he still has a lot to learn. I’m also happy for the sub plot of the apprentice, because it’s a great way to give the reader more information on either Atticus or druidic magic without it coming off as too preachy. It all works for me.

Stand Out Award Badge2Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try Jim Butcher‘s work, the Scion RPG, or high level DND play including Planescape.

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