Book Review: Hounded

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

Hounded is the first book of the Iron Druid Series by Kevin Hearne. I heard about it a couple of months ago (it was released in May), and have been dying to get my hands on it ever since. Firstly, it’s urban fantasy without a hot, leather-clad female protagonist, and secondly, it’s a book heavy in mythology — specifically the Tuatha de Danaan, who are an Irish pantheon of Gods, and a particular interest of mine.

If those two points were all I was looking for in a book, I would have been thrilled with Hounded.

Atticus O’Sullivan is an interesting character, with a fascinating earth-based magic style, and a wonderful sidekick named Oberon. Oberon is a dog. An Irish Wolfhound, to be exact. He can speak with Atticus, and is a fabulously funny and exuberant character in his own right. (What is it with awesome doggy sidekicks at the moment?) Plus, the mythology in Hounded was well-researched and delivered, from the Tuatha de Danaan to the Icelandic werewolves.

I thought Hounded was entertaining. I was entertained. If it had been a play, I would have applauded. If it had been a song, I would have tapped my foot in time. But I wasn’t inspired to give a standing ovation or to dance. I wasn’t moved. 

The reason for this is quite simple. Atticus O’Sullivan is awesome. Too awesome. I didn’t at any point feel like he was in real danger. And he didn’t seem to feel like he was in danger, either.

I’m about to be attacked by a group of fae. I guess I better kill them.

A group of Fir Bolg are about to attack me. I guess I better kill them.

A God might be going to attack me. I guess I’ll make preparations so I can kill him if I need to.

This guy is unstoppable. Well, almost unstoppable. His magic has one serious and easily exploitable weakness. But every time this could be a problem for him, one of his allies just happens to be there to stop him being killed. Or hurt. Or inconvenienced in any way, shape or form.

(If I’d been a beta reader for Kevin Hearne, I would have pointed this out. Sadly, not every published author asks me to read for them.)

This isn’t the greatest book I’ve ever read, but I did enjoy it. If you’re looking for an entertaining book with an Irish accent and a doggy sidekick, you could do worse than read Hounded.

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