Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power - plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish - to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.
©2011 Kevin Hearne (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Hearne, a self-professed comic-book nerd, has turned his love of awesome dudes whacking mightily at evil villains into a superb urban fantasy debut.” (Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review)
“A page-turning and often laugh-out-loud funny caper through a mix of the modern and the mythic.” (Ari Marmell, author of The Warlord’s Legacy)
“Kevin Hearne breathes new life into old myths, creating a world both eerily familiar and startlingly original.” (Nicole Peeler, author of Tempest Rising)
Very high on the list. The perfornance was admirable and the tone and inflection of voice gave a emersive experience. The book scratched an itch I didn't even knew I had.
The conversations with the protagonist and his dog. It gave me a real Scooby Doo for adults feel and the comic relief was great for spacing the drama.
Each character got their own unique voice and they sounded in pitch in tone the same way they behaved. It was truly theatre of the mind and I wallowed in it.
I laughed many times during this book and immediately purchased the subsequent books in the series and finished them within 48 hours. I was smiling the whole time and nearly destroyed my penchant for overbearing cynicism.
My hat is off to the author for somehow convincing his publisher to let the book go to press without a clear romantic interest for the protagonist. It took me nearly a week to realize what was different about it and I appreciated the subtlety. There is an easy manner to the story that really lets you kick your feet up. It's not boring or a rip roaring ride. It just feels good like sitting at the ocean and feeling the gentle breeze cascade over your skin while the waves crash against the surf. It promotes a catharsis while discussing violence in a sinister way. Words fail so I will say this. I have been a member for over a year and I have never even considered writing a review until now, even for some of my favorite authors. This is truly a buried treasure that shouldn't be missed for any modern fantasy fan boy.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
Given the amazing number of rave reviews written for this book, it has obviously provided a lot of people a great deal of pleasure. That is pretty hard to argue with but, even though I enjoyed the book well enough, I did have a few problems with it. I have to admit that, though I love many of the books in the high fantasy tradition, for whatever reason I am just not much of a fan of the very popular urban fantasy genre. So Atticus the contemporary druid probably had a bit of a hard nut to crack in me. Still, I think that there was more to my objections than just personal predilection.
First--I was never really able to buy into a 2500 year old druid who had all the sensibilities, maturity and perspective of a member of Generation Y. I understand that he is masquerading as a young, single, new age guy, but his interior voice is identical with his ruse, and this was not helped by the fact that Luke Daniels delivered the 1st person narration without any of the color or texture which might give us a sense of those 2500 years. There should be a serious and hard won understanding of the world there, and we need to hear it.
Second--Oberon the dog was often amusing and consistently cute. Cute is nice in children's literature, but it is a serious drawback when it becomes the entire raison d'etre of one of your two central characters. The reader did not help in this regard either, though his endearing, dimwitted voicing of Oberon seems to account for at least half of the rave in the reviews. Don't get me wrong, I think Oberon is a lot of fun and he often made me laugh while he was undercutting my belief and commitment to the story as a whole.
Finally, the tone of the book was just too light for me to be able to accept the graphic nature of much of the violence. The whole thing seemed to be caught between gory realism and just kidding, never really integrating the two. As a result, the juxtaposition was often jarring and a little unpleasant. I have read only one of the Dresden books, but my sense is that this is something Jim Butcher handles more successfully.
None of which is to say that this was not a fun listen. It was. Just not satisfying enough to move me to use a full credit to try another in the series.
Another reviewer compared this to Jim Butcher's excellent Dresden series, and Kevin Hearne's work so far does compare quite favorably to that high mark. The setting is modern-day Arizona, but all the trappings are fantasy: druids, witches, werewolves, vampires, and a healthy bag of mixed gods. There's bawdiness and language enough to make this one for grown-up readers, though I'll say none of it is overdone or forced. The most fun aspect of the book is the relationship between the druid and his dog: think back to the classic (and somewhat underground) science fiction movie "A Boy and his Dog" and you'll get the flavor of Atticus' relationship with his Irish wolfhound, Oberon. It was obvious that the reader particularly enjoyed voicing Oberon, and more than once I found myself chuckling aloud at the great characterization. The story itself was well paced and engaging and I was sorry to have it end though I didn't feel cheated. I'm off to work on book 2 now.
I'm a fan of books. What more is there to say?
I chose this novel based on the synopsis and the sample of the narrator. I was unfamiliar with the series and the author. And I've been delightfully surprised. I very much enjoyed the story arc. The characters are well developed and intriguing. I was curious enough to look up the author's web page and found more interesting background information and - Joy! - more novels in the series. I like to follow series characters and as long as Kevin Hearne continues to offer adventures and challenges of Atticus O'Sullivan's life, I will be a dedicated follower. If you enjoy wizardry, fantasy, good vs evil and epics about ancient gods, mixed in with a bit modern dry wit, you will most likely enjoy this story. I feel the narrator did a great job with Atticus's personality. I will be enjoying this story and those to follow many times. And perhaps more importantly to the author, I'll be yakking to all who will listen about the latest great book I've found.
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.
I don't usually write reviews, but I really enjoyed this book and figured I should. A very original concept, easy to follow, laugh out loud funny at times, and all together well written. The Narrator is amazing. Adding in a dog as a "talking" character can sometimes go wrong. But Oberon MAKES the book, well Luke Daniels voice of Oberon makes the book! Highly recommend it.
The Narration was finely nuanced and the accents chosen were well done; amazingly so for an American as I normally do not expect them to do accents as well as classically trained british actors The choice of voice for Oberon was just perfect.
The Story was well written and the World the author created was well drawn I look forward to listening to more of his work as so few mingle well plotted fantasy with deft touches of humor ( his feisty old Irish widow is a classic!)
I've listened to the all three of the Druid Chronicles books that have been released so far, and they're fantastic listens. The stories are great. They're engaging and fun from beginning to end. In terms of entertainment, they're the equivalent of big summertime movie blockbusters. I'm now officially a fan of Kevin Hearne.
I also want to compliment Luke Daniels, the narrator. He did these books to perfection. He was a perfect match for the material and greatly enhanced the experience. Because of him, I'll follow this series exclusively on Audible.
“Favorite authors- Nevada Barr, Craig Johnson, Louise Penny. Narrators, Marguerite Gavin, , George Guidall.”
Great modern fatasy read. And it's NOT a cloaked romance like so many fantasy books these days.
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.
"Another totally 'awesome' urban fantasy!"
In short if you liked 'Rivers of London' then you will really enjoy this too!
Hounded is a witty, funny steeped in mythology fast listen. The main character, Atticus is totally beleivable set in modern day USA, and his dog, an Irish Wolfhound called Oberon, is so full of life and funny, but without being naff!
Luke Daniels characterisation is amazing, I gave this one 5 stars, as I loved it, but would have given Ben Aaranovitch if I could have! Enjoy.
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