HOUNDED by Kevin Hearne
It’s really easy to drop into Kevin Hearne’s world of iron druids, fey, vampires, and werewolves. All you have to do is read a couple pages. The first-person narrative sucks you in with deceptive storytelling ability, introduces you to the Morrigan (herself an awesome and fun creature/woman of power), and tells you about an army of vengeance that’s currently beating its way to the hero’s book store in Tempe, Arizona.
Our hero, Atticus O’Sullivan (formerly Siodhachan O Suileabhain, but what writer in his right mind would want to write that again and again?), is an interesting mix. He’s over two thousand years old, for starters, and he’s primarily interested in saving his own skin, so he’s a very accessible hero. I love guys who are out to save the world sometimes, but I really like the ones that save the world as a byproduct of keeping their own necks from the chopping block.
As mentioned, the first-person narrative is breezy, witty, and a lot of fun. Hearne also throws in buddy-buddy conversation (through thoughts) with Atticus’s Irish wolfhound, Oberon. Those bits reminded me of Roger Zelazny and Steven Brust’s partnership between Vlad and Liosh. (And if you don’t know who those authors and characters are, and you like this book, you should give them a try).
There’s a whole cornucopia of mythologies woven through the novel, and I not sure how they all fit together. Hearne lets that all dangle and just informs the reader that they all work, that gods of different pantheons walk the earth but usually aren’t too interested in the affairs of humans.
Except in the case of Atticus. It seems that Atticus got his hands on a fantastic sword centuries ago and isn’t going to give it up without a fight. So far, Aenghus Og has been reluctant about leaving the weapon in Atticus’s hands, but those days are over. The sword, Fragarach, the Answerer, is too powerful – in Atticus’s opinion – to let go back to Aenghus.
The plot line is really simple and easy to stay with. It’s a fight over the sword. But the sweeping range of the battle for the control of the weapon swings wildly through Atticus’s world, and the reader gets to see many of his friends and enemies – and the supernatural entities – in action. I especially learned to fear the power of a witch. I’d always thought of them as weak characters, but not the way Hearne writes them.
The first three books in the series are coming out in a deluge this summer. All of them are a month apart, so the stories will be great beach reads. I’ve already got the second book on my Kindle, so I’m just waiting for a comfortable evening or two of reading to manifest.