dinsdag 16 juli 2013

Review: Kevin Hearne, Hunted

I am one of those people who loves to buy and read a lot of series, and when it comes to reading them, I like to have a lot of variety in my bookish diet. Thus best case scenario, there will be a two month gap between subsequent instalments of a series. But as with every best case scenario, it’s not often the case. So in my experience, authors tend to write faster than I can read their finished products and the unfinished series keep piling up and up and up. Whilst I don’t get to talk along that much with other readers of said series – seeing as I am several books behind – I don’t get to experience the dreaded wait for another novel. The Iron Druid Chronicles, however, is the odd one out here. Right from the start I managed to keep track of the series and thus I had the privilege (?) to experience long wait between Trapped and the new one, Hunted (*). But boy, did it deliver! It was well worth the wait.

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.

Hunted takes off right were Trapped ended, with Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon being chased by huntresses Diana and Artemis. Fair and square, that’s all there is to Hunted, it’s a straightforward roadtrip across Europe where our protagonists try to keep ahead of the huntresses all the while trying to figure out who’s behind the grand scheme of putting the Druids six feet under, for good this time. Straightforward as it may be, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Because of the nature of the plot, there were no slower parts in the book and the tension was constantly present and highly appreciated. The previous books were always light hearted - excluding some darker moments once in a while - no matter what the plot was and Hunted is much of the same. However, at least at two points throughout the story did the mood turn grim. While I read these books mainly because they are a whole lot of fun, I greatly appreciated the change of tone, which went all too nice with the overall atmosphere of the hunt. The ending also had some surprise in store and made me long for the next one already.
The best things about the Iron Druid Chronicles are, in my opinion, the characters. Atticus and Oberon had me at hello and they keep delivering book after book. Especially Oberon; here, I thought he was on fire! It was only two chapters in and he was already wisecrackin’ his butt off, and he kept it going till the end. You just got to admire that little doggie and the stuff he pulls out of his brain. While she was always around, ever since book one, Granuaile didn’t become a major player till the very end of the fourth book. I always thought she had a great deal of potential and I am glad that she delivers on that account. Her addition to the crew makes for a nice balance with Atticus and Oberon without her turning out to be the dull one. In fact, she’s very funny in her own way, but different from her male counterparts.
When you crack an Iron Druid, you know there will be all kinds of gods roaming around, and while it used to be overwhelming in the first couple of books, I came to really like their presence and I’m always looking forward to whatever spin Kevin Hearne has put on a certain pantheon. Needless to say, but Diana and Artemis delivered big time and while he only had a small role here, I found Zeus to be, euhm, interesting, for lack of a better word…
As with the previous novels in this series, the writing is as it should be. Witty, fast-paced and effective for whatever the story has to project. I do want to pinpoint a little something here. Till book five, Atticus has always been the narrator and him as well as Oberon did have quite a distinctive voice. Hunted, however, introduces Granuaile as a narrator and I found that to be very refreshing and I was surprised at how different it felt in way of writing. The first time they shift perspective, it’s not really announced it’s Granuaile talking, but you just sense the shift. It was a very different kind of writing, a bit more lush, perhaps? I found that quite remarkable and I take my imaginary hat off for that. It's not that easy a task to write the voice of an opposite-sex character and Hearne actually made Granuaile feel genuine and genuinely feminine, just by changing the writing and the choice of words.

With Hunted, Kevin Hearne has done his best to push his series a little higher on my favourite urban fantasy list. One thing is for sure, the next adventure for Atticus, Oberon and Granuaile is top priority and can’t come quickly enough.
Feel the rush of being Hunted by Diana and Artemis yourself and buy your copy right now, before they beat you to it!
If you fancy a review of the previous five novels in the series, go check out my GoodReads, they're all up.
(*) In the end, the wait wasn't that long or unbearable, but let's pretend for the sake of this review, shall we?

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