Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #5
Author: Kevin Hearne
Published: November 27th 2012 by Del Rey
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Audiobook: November 27th 2012 by Random House Audio
Read By:Luke Daniels
After twelve years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave.
Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge—but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief, who all seem to have KILL THE DRUID at the top of their to-do lists.
This might be less of a coherent review, and more fangirl flailling. Be warned.
Atticus O’Sullivan is the last the last surviving druid. At least, for the time being. He is also completely irreverent and doesn’t know when to shut up. He backchats gods and goddesses left and right, and has only lived as long as he has (2000 years!) due to an agreement with The Morrigan, and generous imbibing of his specially brewed immortalityTEA.
As with all the Iron Druid books, Atticus’ best laid plans go awry. When he’s not running / fighting for his life, he is expected to kill gods. And now the dark elves and vampires are after him as well. What’s a guy to see his apprentice bound to the earth, sheesh?
The only drawback to these books are the author’s propensity for adding not so plot related historical backstory, told by a secondary character. It slows the story down for the most part, and while it is interesting mythological info, it can be skipped. This, however, does not lessen how much a I love these books one bit.
Why do I love them, you ask? Above and all: the pop culture references. Atticus is kind of a geek meets happy go lucky surfer. In this book there is a throw away comment about him taking his apprentice, Granuaile, to Comicon, where she proceeded to fangirl over Nathan Fillion. I may or may not have squeed. Hell, Atticus himself nearly squees at one point in the story.
One of the best characters is Atticus’ best friend, the talking Irish Wolfhound, Oberon. This dog is FUNNY. My favorite part is where he contemplates creating a new religion (because there is money and fame in that), called Poochism. For which the holy trinity is Ham, Humping and Holy Hydrant. It was important to Oberon to maintain alliteration. The holy writ for this religion will be called the Dead Flea Scrolls. I dare you not to snorfle at that!
Oberon also comments on a wide variety of other topics, including sausages and human mating habits. So many giggle moments.
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Luke Daniels is one of my all time favorite narrators. So much so that I have picked up audiobooks without reading the synopsis, just because he was reading them. Of course, I have suffered some less than stellar books because of this, but I have also discovered some gems. The Iron Druid Chronicles is one such gem. I have all 5 of these books in audio format, and have loved every single one of them.
Luke Daniels has a clear voice, with good delivery. It’s nice and rumbly without sounding like he needs some lozenges. Not being that well travelled, I can’t comment on how spot on his accents are, but they are pleasing to the ear and I had no difficulty telling them apart.
Thank you for teaching me how to pronounce some of those Celtic/Norse deity names! It would have driven me nuts had I read the print version of these books.
Kevin’s first novel, The Road to Cibola, took him six years to write and is an utter piece of trash that will never, ever be published. He can’t even tell you what genre it is. It involves the Russian mafia, Aztec treasure, eco-terrorists, and a national network of chop shops. However, from this experience he learned the extremely important lesson that he could finish a novel while holding down a day job. He’d work faster next time, and maybe write something that belonged in a bookstore.
He decided to try an epic fantasy. He wrote for three years and came up with 200,000 words or so, which turned out to be a bit long for an unknown author’s debut. He chopped it down and sent off a 114,000-word version to some agents, who all rejected it, but he also sent it to one publisher, who replied after only two weeks that it had passed the “first round” and would get passed on to other editors soon. He danced in the kitchen and put the letter on his fridge. A modicum of slush pile success! However, no other word came for many moons. He began to work on something else while he waited.
Kevin had an idea for a web comic featuring a Druid who could communicate mentally with animals, especially his own hound. Zuda.com was running a contest, and he scripted out eight pages and completed six of them before realizing that if he submitted his work, DC would own a piece of the characters, or maybe own them outright. He didn’t want that, because he liked these characters too much to share with anyone else. So he wrote a novel about Atticus and Oberon instead, and it turned out to be great fun and easier to write than anything else he’d tried before. He finished writing Hounded in eleven months, and still hadn’t heard back from the publisher about his epic fantasy. What the heck, he said, let’s try to get an agent with the urban fantasy.
He sent out a round of twelve queries and got some nibbles, but all ultimately rejected him. Sigh. He tweaked his first chapter for the twentieth time, revised his query letter, and sent out another round of twelve queries. He got some more nibbles, more rejections, but also an offer of representation from Evan Goldfried at Jill Grinberg Literary Management! Yay! Happy dance in the kitchen!
Evan sent Hounded to nine publishers on September 9, 2009, along with teasers for the next two books in the series. Inside of two weeks, four of those publishers bid on the book at auction. So it only took him nineteen years to become a “fortnight success.”
The point for aspiring writers: please note that Kevin wrote three books and got rejected a lot before he landed an agent and a publishing contract. He did it without any contacts in the industry—he was just a name attached to a story. And that story wasn’t for everyone—twenty-three agents passed on it and five out of nine publishers passed on it too. Luckily, all you need is one agent and one publisher to like your story. Keep writing and don’t give up!
Hunted, book six of the Iron Druid Chronicles, will be out June 25. Kevin is now working on a Star Wars novel set in the Classic era. His nerd dreams have come true. He’s also working on book seven of IDC.
He still collects comic books.