I feel like Mr. Druid (What the Native American trickster god dubs Atticus O'Sullivan) is an old friend. I'm fond of his demeanor and "iron age world view". That being said, I also disagree with a few of the choices he is starting to make. This causes a new and refreshing development at this phase in the relationship. Sometimes I feel he lets a bit of socialization from the modern age seep into his decision making process too much and I want to slap my forehead while at other times I feel he's a bit more callous than I feel he has any right to be. Regardless I imagine myself (quite reflexively) reacting to his decisions in my mind as if I were there and part of his little circle. Not only am I now questioning certain decisions as he makes them, but I'm revisiting past actions and wondering if maybe they weren't quite the best options WE could have taken. I feel even more part of the group, still deeper connected. Maybe in spite of this questioning, but most probably due to it.
The only reason I didn't find the performance to be on par with previous Luke Daniels/Iron Druid readings lies in Daniels' slight alteration in pitch and tone for our hero. It grated on me for the first couple hours of the reading (and is solely responsible for the loss of a star in my rating). After that, however, I didn't even notice the difference and all was well. Daniels emotes with his voice. This is a very difficult feat and I've not often stumbled upon it whilst listening to my 100-odd audio books. That he can nail a few accents and passably imitate others is a sweet, sweet cherry on an already luscious cake.
The reason I took a star off for story and overall ratings is simply that the book felt rushed to me. Hearne has gotten to the point in this series where he has so much going on he really needs to write more per novel or try to accomplish less with each novel. He spent the first seven hours of a nine hour recording setting things up and breezing through a few not entirely trivial matters that were made to feel trivial. I would say it feels like the first half of what should have been a two part novel, but it actually feels more like two thirds of a full novel that had random pages of nearly-but-not-quite superfluous bits ripped out.
In conclusion, I enjoyed the continuation of the series greatly and I still enjoy Luke Daniels' narration. I will keep supporting both this author and this talented reader. It's not often you find such a great duo.
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