Paperback: 320 pages
Released: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Random House
Author's Website: Kevin Hearne
Buy it: Amazon
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles
Atticus O’Sullivan has been running for two thousand years and he’s a bit tired of it. After he stole a magical sword from the Tuatha Dé Danann (those who became the Sidhe or the Fae) in a first century battle, some of them were furious and gave chase, and some were secretly amused that a Druid had the cheek to defy them. As the centuries passed and Atticus remained an annoyingly long-lived fugitive, those who were furious only grew more so, while others began to aid him in secret.
Now he’s living in Tempe, Arizona, the very last of the Druids, far from where the Fae can easily find him. It’s a place where many paranormals have decided to hide from the troubles of the Old World—from an Icelandic vampire holding a grudge against Thor to a coven of Polish witches who ran from the German Blitzkrieg.
Unfortunately, the very angry Celtic god who wants that sword has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power, plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good, old-fashioned luck of the Irish to kick some arse and deliver himself from evil.
After reading quite a few reviews praising Hearne for an awesome hero, secondary characters, and storyline, I was more than eager to get my hands on HOUNDED and see what all the fuss was about.
Suffice to say, when I first began reading, I was more than intrigued. A talking dog for a companion, a heroic Druid, and Gaelic deities? What's NOT refreshing? Unfortunately, I'm not a big male protag reader. I have an easier time connecting with heroines because we're both female, and I usually don't find the whole... "have casual sex a bunch of times because I'm a guy" all that appealing. So, once the "ooh shiny-ness" of the novel wore off, I was left feeling somewhat bored while following Atticus around.
That is precisely when I began reading only a chapter or two per day. I wouldn't say that I hated the book (because I was more than curious to see what would happen), but I was in no rush to finish it. A friend suggested I DNF HOUNDED due to a few scenes that were just a little too weird for my tastes. The thought had never crossed my mind, which I think attests to Hearne's ability to draw me into his universe, even while making me have a few "wah?!" moments.
Let me tell you right now I am so glad I did not give up. I know that, if any readers are like me, they may say "to hell with this book" once they reach a certain point--especially if they are not 100% hooked by then. It happens. But if you stick with HOUNDED, the final showdown (which is so incredibly badass and amazing that my jaw dropped due to its sheer awesomeness), it will more than make up for the slow buildup.
Besides, while things are a little slow in the beginning, Oberon and Hal more than make up for it. They are by far my two favorites from the story due to the humor that they bring. Sorry Atticus, I like you and all, but your dog and lawyer won my heart.
Considering this is my first urban fantasy I successfully finished with a male protagonist (the Black Jewels Trilogy was the only other series I could stomach with a hero--or three--as the lead), I'd have to give kudos to Hearne. I eagerly anticipate the next book in this series, HEXED, which comes out on June 7th. And, just because I'm superficial, I would totally buy the second book just for that cover. What a hottie!
I definitely recommend checking HOUNDED out. There's just so many elements to this novel that are refreshingly different from urban fantasy out there already, that you'd be crazy not to give this story a shot. I also think I learned a bit while reading, which is always a plus!