I was hooked on this book from the start, but unfortunately by the end I was bored and even a bit irritated. The world , characters, and magical concepts are really fun, and seemed to hold a lot of possibility. I loved the idea that all gods and supernatural beings exist, and Atticus' magic seemed very interesting. As the story went on, however, the writing let down all the fun ideas.
The book has a serious flaw - the main character is totally unbelievable, and despite how interesting he is on paper, in reality he's pretty dull. We're supposed to imagine he's a 2100 year old druid, but every cultural reference Atticus makes - and they are frequent - is from the past 40 years (save for mentions of Shakespeare here and there). Are we really to believe a two century old druid on the run from a godlike enemy, who has spent hundreds of years growing his druidic powers through deep study and hard work, sits around watching South Park? Obviously he would pick up bits of culture here and there, but it would be far more entertaining and interesting to give us references from his ENTIRE life, not just the bits the author happens to know about. The way it is, I laughed for a while, then the constant barrage of modern references started to wear on me and just felt like lazy writing.
I read something in another review that I thought was spot on. The reviewer commented about how hard it can be to write a character more intelligent than you, and in this case the character is 2100 years old. He's managed to live much longer than any others of his kind, implying that he's intelligent, cagey, and prudent. Much is made of his hundreds of years of study, implying he's very learned and wise as well. Unfortunately, we're given his resume, but aside from a few conversations where he's shown to be alert and clever, you'd never believe this guy had 2100 years of learning and life experience packed into his brain. In the end I think the task of writing for someone much more intelligent and experienced was too much for Hearne.
Additionally, there is no sense for how Atticus really lives in the real world, as essentially a supernatural being and an immortal (he's not technically either, but to a normal Joe he would be both). He's written as extremely likable and intelligent, not to mention sexually irresistible to several of the females characters, yet we get no sense that he struggles with friendships or bonds with normal folks. People would be clamoring to get to know this interesting, tattooed, sexy man, and he would have to deal with that somehow. His only apparent friend is his elderly neighbor, who asks little of him aside from yard work and sharing a glass of whiskey. Did his employee never probe a bit to see what the deal is with this 21 year old occult bookstore owner? Has he never fallen for a woman and had to wrestle with keeping the truth from her? The book is obviously meant to be lightweight, so I didn't expect a lot, but even ONE interaction to give us a hint that Atticus does indeed live in the real world, and has to deal with his place among regular people, would make him so much more believable.
My last problem with the book is that everything is too easy, too pat. I never felt like the main characters were really in much danger. There was always just enough magic to save the day, or someone turned out perfectly fine even though much was made of a danger a few minutes back. Despite all the terrible magic and violence, I was never really concerned. And again, the book is clearly meant to be lightweight and fun, but without real danger or consequences, all it turned out to be was silly and a little dull.
Despite these flaws, there are many cool ideas, and fun characters (if not well fleshed-out) and fans of urban fantasy looking for something lightweight ma enjoy this, and the narration is fantastic.
Travel a lot for work and spend a good deal of time in the car.
Amazing! Thats the simplest thing to say. I ran across this book by chance and it blew my mind. I listened to all 3 every hour of the day except to sleep. I listened in the shower, eating breakfast, driving to work, at work, dinner, then until I went to bed. Once in bed I dreamed of this book all night. dreaming of what i think might happen next or just going over the detail of what i had heard already. It was Audio Crack. I am currently recovering while I wait for book 4, but the twitches will have me listen to them again.
HBO Needs to make this into a series like Game of Thrones. If they don't they are full of Shite as Atticus would say. Get this book and when your done and think its the best book you have ever read, then i will call you a fool and hand you book 2. Then your hooked like me on the crack and devour book 3 and chew off your nails while waiting for book 4 in April 2012.
I'm an inventor and author, living in Seattle; an old man, living a full life with Kathy, my first and only wife.
Very like the Dresden Files, but much more fun. Dresden fans will like this a bunch.
It is true that I know only what I have read in books. But I have read a great many books. ("Venetia" by Georgette Heyer)
Yes, this book absolutely lives up to every one of the great reviews it has received. Yes, it is full of humor, adventure, fights, love, friendship, and great characters (and--bonus round-- if you want Google many of the characters' names you'll get a good, fun upgrade to your mythology trivia skills). Yes, the writing is fresh, clever, unique, and pulls you in from page 1. Yes, Kevin Hearne is a really good writer and Luke Daniels is the perfect narrator. And, no, this is not just another grind-'em-out entry in the paranormal sweepstakes that has saturated the publishing world to the point of boredom. Get it, listen, and enjoy!
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY - Hounded was not at all what I expected. It is a modern, clever, humorous spin on a story filled with ancient druids, goddesses, fairies, witches and werewolves. It is told from the perspective of Atticus, a druid who despite being 2100 years old, speaks and acts like an irreverent 21-year-old owner of an alternative book store. There is quite a bit of action, blood and killing, but the attitude of Atticus and the antics of Oberon (his dog) keep the violence light-hearted. The best part of the book is definitely Oberon. His doggy perspective and humor will crack you up every time he appears.
NARRATION - Love the narrator. He should win an award for "Best Dog Voice." Seriously! Every time Oberon speaks, I can totally picture a wolfhound bounding along, talking to his master with his tail wagging. The narrator does a good job with multiple foreign accents as well.
OVERALL - This would be your typical good-versus-evil story with supernatural characters, but its clever storytelling and great narration make it special. I recommend for everyone (except children because of some questionable language). The story concludes well, so the book can stand alone.
It probably makes sense that a 2000 year old demi-god would be difficult to relate to, but I never found myself rooting for him.
Genre no, series yes
Extremely well done, hate to give the book a bad review since it might reflect badly on the reader.
I picked this one up for a car trip because I wanted something that could be started and finished by the time I returned home and this was the perfect length. I also enjoyed the short lived Dresden files TV series and was looking forward to experiencing some more urban fantasy.
This book exposes the listener to beings from many mythologies and they come with some complicated and unfamiliar names. This would have been fine if I was reading the book and was able to see how the names were spelled but as a listener I found it hard to keep it all straight especially with a gap in my listening in the middle of the book. I love listening to books with tons of characters but I think it was hearing all these names without ever seeing them that muddied the waters a little for me. A lot of these characters are introduced with little depth to them and it takes the whole "powerful beings secretly living among us" concept way too far.
On the positive side, as mentioned by almost every other reviewer, Oberon (the dog) is laugh-out-loud funny. Luke Daniels does an excellent job on the voices, especially Oberon, and he definitely made the experience more enjoyable.
I think this book has received the high ratings that it has simple because of the dog. If you want a short listening experience that will make you laugh a number of times go ahead and pick this one up, but if you look past Oberon the rest is mediocre. If you are into various mythologies that will be a plus and your enjoyment of this book will likely go up.
This is probably the most engaging new series I have picked up in a long time. Several times I've caught myself laughing out loud while driving or walking down the sidewalk, which earns me quite a few odd looks, but well worth it!
My favorite character is Oberon. His outlook on every situation, not to mention his fascination with French Poodles and tendency to fixate on historical figures, makes him a great counterpoint to all the drama going on around him.
His rendition of the characters is fantastic -- I can see them just by the way he portrays their voices.
The main character, Atticus O’Sullivan, is someone I wish that I was friends with. Very funny, wry and wise. Also, the author does a great job of blending many traditions of folk lore into an engaging contemporary story. This series is great and this first book is the best of the bunch.
There are interesting ideas a plenty throughout the story, but the situations and characters that present them are dull, predictable, and two dimensional. To write about such a grand setting, you need a grand imagination, and sadly I didn't find the immersive experience I was looking for in this book.