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.
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