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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great start to The Iron Druid Chronicles
This must be my year for discovering new urban fantasy, though to be honest, I haven't read that much urban fantasy to begin with, so maybe that should be discovering urban fantasy period. After reading and loving Ben Aaronovitch's The Folly series, when I heard about The Iron Druid Chronicles, I had to read Hounded. It's a completely different form of urban fantasy -...
Published on 20 Jun 2011 by W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decidedly average
I bought this series as most people state that it was like the dresden files, while i can see a tenuous connection i would have to disagree. The story for me lacked any sort of suspense however the interaction between the characters was excellent. While the book does have some laugh out loud moments the main story was lackluster and a slog to read. As i have purchased all...
Published on 14 Jun 2012 by Nighthawk


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great start to The Iron Druid Chronicles, 20 Jun 2011
This must be my year for discovering new urban fantasy, though to be honest, I haven't read that much urban fantasy to begin with, so maybe that should be discovering urban fantasy period. After reading and loving Ben Aaronovitch's The Folly series, when I heard about The Iron Druid Chronicles, I had to read Hounded. It's a completely different form of urban fantasy - where The Folly is a magical police procedural, The Iron Druid Chronicles is what seems to be the more classical supernatural kind of urban fantasy - it is just as good.

Hounded is told in a first-person narrative. The success of this sort of story depends on the strength of its narrator and protagonist. Luckily Atticus is a great one; he's a fun mix of old soul and modern kid by choice, trying hard to blend in by learning the vagaries of modern language and technology. I would have loved to have learned more of his history and what he's seen in his long life, but that might be the historical fiction fan in me coming to the surface. In Hounded we only get tantalizing glimpses and hints, hopefully they'll be explored in future books. The same goes for some background history on the werepack and Leif. I thought the idea of Viking werewolves and a Viking vampire is very cool, especially them teaming up to start a law firm. And their payment plan is quite interesting as well!

Women are Atticus' kryptonite. Let's say our favourite druid has a very healthy libido, perhaps fitting for his seeming age of twenty-one, and it leads him into all kinds of trouble. On the one hand, I found this amusing, as you'd think that after twenty-one centuries, he'd have learned to deal with this by now. On the other hand, it was rather annoying to have him be distracted by every bit of skirt walking by! However, the irritation was smoothed away as we learn how there are several goddesses who happily exploit this weakness to manipulate him into doing what they want. You can't help but groan every time Atticus let's himself be led astray by his baser urges and misses some pertinent facts during these exchanges, not just with the goddesses, but with mortal women as well.

Oberon, Atticus' hound, was fantastic! A hound who quotes Star Wars, what can be better than that? I like that Oberon's voice is still quite doggy and not some all-wise familiar's, where it is even hard to discern you're still dealing with an animal companion. For example, when he sees Atticus coming home, he goes all mad with happiness as dogs are wont to do. He has some of the funniest lines in the book and his desire to be the canine version of Genghis Khan, including a harem of French poodles, is classic. I adore Oberon and I can't wait to read more of him.

The plot centring around Atticus' conflict with Aenghus Óg about the sword Fragarach is quite interesting too. While it could have been rather straightforward, it is anything but, and it's the intricacies that make it engaging. At the heart of these intricacies are the Tuatha De Danann and their manipulations. I roundly fell for some of their schemes right along with Atticus. Add to this a coven of witches, who Atticus isn't sure he can trust, a disgruntled across-the-street neighbour, the lovely Mrs. MacDonagh from up the street and a witch-possessed bartender wishing to become his apprentice, and you can see how Atticus might be feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. However, with the help of both Oberon, and his friendly Viking laywers, Atticus manages to keep his head afloat and manages to come through this conflict, if not unscathed, at least alive.

Hounded was so much fun, I raced through it. It'll be interesting to see where Hearne will take his characters next in Hexed. Once the book-buying ban is lifted I'm definitely getting Hexed and Hammered! Good news for Hearne (and the reader) is that Orbit has snapped up the UK right to the first three books and even better news is that Del Rey has signed Hearne to deliver three more books in the Iron Druid Chronicles. So it looks like there will be plenty more Atticus and Oberon to enjoy in the future. If you're a fan of urban fantasy, of the different mythologies out there or just looking for a fun read, Hounded is definitely a book to pick and give a try.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decidedly average, 14 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles (Paperback)
I bought this series as most people state that it was like the dresden files, while i can see a tenuous connection i would have to disagree. The story for me lacked any sort of suspense however the interaction between the characters was excellent. While the book does have some laugh out loud moments the main story was lackluster and a slog to read. As i have purchased all the books in this series i am hoping that this really is just a prologue for a better story to come.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Celtic mischief, 17 Oct 2011
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Magicweaver (north cotes, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I approached this with caution as I have read and enjoyed the Dresden Files and looked in vain for a worthy substitute until the next Butcher book comes out. What a pleasant surprise, therefore, to find a pacy tale with plenty of Irish and Celtic myths and magic to while away the hours. Going to download the second book now. Love the dog.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really rather good, 20 Sep 2011
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Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
All you need to know about this book, and I assume the next couple in the series, is in the product description. I cannot imagine that the author will never admit to reading the Dresden Files, because this is so similar as to be almost, just almost, a rip off. To be fair what I think the author has done is take the best parts of Jim Butcher's series, transplant them elsewhere and add enough new detail and characterisation to allow this series, or certainly this book at least to stand on it's own two feet. The humour is very well done, laugh out loud at times, and there are enough thrills and spills to induce the "just one more chapter" feeling. On finishing I am left waiting impatiently for the next volume, so there must be something good going on here.
Approach this with an open mind and any fans of Harry Dresden, the Discworld novels, or even the likes of Joe Abercrombie will find enough here for a light read and a pleasant page turning experience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Dresden Files, 17 Jun 2013
Nice setup and good character. Liked Atticus and his world, was hoping for a thrill-ride a la Dresden. Read the first three novels and was disappointed. Seriously lacking in suspense. Seriously lacking in subplots, or Dresden-style threat escalation.

Dresden style: There's an assignment. Then a threat. Then a bigger threat, and a bigger one and a bigger one. Then they all wail on Harry for a while until he figures out how to beat the whole lot of them, or get them to beat each other. Meanwhile characters develop and surprises happen and we learn a lot.

Atticus style: Basically, there's a threat. Atticus deals with it. Someone dies. End of story.

Each Iron Druid book seems to me a novella stretched out to novel length.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magic and Mayhem, 3 Feb 2012
By 
David Ford "Genre junkie" (Cheltenham) - See all my reviews
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Well, it's not every protagonist that's over two thousand years old, but that's what we're presented with here. Atticus O'Sullivan is a practically immortal druid currently living fairly unassumingly in modern-day Arizona. Trouble comes calling when the powerful sword he carries becomes once again the target for his nemesis, the Celtic god of love...

Series injecting ancient mythology into the present day are not particularly rare these days, but Hearne tries to inject a few twists into the formula. Atticus (and the author) treat important figures of legend with a cavilier air, whether it's sleeping with goddesses of the hunt or slicing deities to pieces without breaking a sweat.

Atticus himself is slightly oddly drawn; for an ancient druid he does not exhibit much in the way of wisdom, and he is strangely passive, only reacting to situations rather than taking control.

The real value lies with the supporting cast, including Atticus' wolfhound Auberon; due to the druid's powers, Auberon can 'talk', and he is frequently hilarious whether idolising Genghis Khan or demanding sausages. Add in a group of viking lawyer-werewolves and you have some real invention.

The novel certainly breezes by in violent, exciting fashion, and I would be happy to drop in on the universe again, if only to see how the characters and world develop.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great new series, great new character - can't wait to read the rest, 5 Aug 2011
By 
Kevin Hearne's series has been receiving quite a bit of buzz on the internet, so I decided to order a copy of this first novel in the Iron Druid Chronicles. Just as it arrived, Orbit Books announced that it had bought the UK rights. So, does it live up to the hype? Well, yes, actually, it really does.

Long-time readers of the site might have noticed how little Urban Fantasy I review. This is because I seem to have an abiding apathy toward the sub-genre. Even Dresden Files hasn't fired my interest in any particular way. So, I turned to Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles to find out if maybe this could be the series to open up the sub-genre as a whole for me. Interestingly, I think it sort-of has.

Hounded is about Atticus's attempts to protect the sword from falling into the hands of Aenghus Og - the Celtic god who has hounded Atticus for centuries. As Aenghus manipulates those around Atticus in search of the sword, events spiral quickly out of control, so contemptuous is Aenghus of the mortal plane and its inhabitants. This contempt puts extra strain on Atticus's attempts to blend in to modern American society - not easy at the best of times, when you're perhaps the oldest human on the planet. With some help from unexpected sources, along with his devoted wolfhound Oberon, Atticus slowly discovers what the greater conflict is about, and realises that things will get a whole lot more difficult before he's safe once again.

I was initially a little wary when it seemed that the Fae were going to play a large part in the novel. I've never been particularly interested in them as characters or nemeses in novels (even Jim Butcher's aren't particularly interesting, in my mind). However, it quickly became apparent that they were only a small cog in the mythological wheel that Hearne has drawn from for his novel, and the gods are far more important. This suited me perfectly, and I loved how they were woven into the plot and back-story. The Celtic gods are not overly familiar with Arizona (or the mortal realm as a whole), which requires Atticus to sometimes play the part of guide, which can sometimes feel surreal (such as the time he has tea with a goddess). We also learn a good deal about Atticus's magic, but only snippets of his backstory - something I assume (and hope) will be revealed over the course of the series.

Hearne's writing is tight and well-crafted, and for the most part you will just whip through it. However, there were a few times that felt like Hearne spent a little too much time explaining and re-explaining certain things (why Atticus is OCD about cleaning up his blood, for example, or why he takes off his sandals to connect with the earth). It's not a very long novel, and I can't imagine anyone being able to put this aside long enough to forget these things, so it seemed a little odd that Hearne repeated certain things so often in the first few chapters. In certain respects, Hounded has the feel of a debut, with a fair amount of (necessary) scene-setting; but at the same time, Hearne's characters, prose and the pacing are very assured. At times, it's hard to believe this is a first novel.

Hearne's greatest strength is his skill at characterisation. Each of the heroes and villains in Hounded feels fully-formed and engaging. Atticus is awesome, and Oberon is a great companion. Atticus is a very common-sense hero, and not one that's above doing what's necessary. He does not have the modern man's squeamishness to cold displays of necessary violence, but he has acquired a wealth of pop-culture references that he deploys with relish and great timing (the comments about Field of Dreams on p.65 were great). There were many lines and passages that led me to alternately laugh, chuckle, smirk or at least smile. Hearne has a great sense of humour.

Peripheral characters are also well-rounded and realistic - including the widow MacDonagh, Atticus's shop-assistant Perry, his werewolf and vampire attorneys, and also the Morrigan. With snappy dialogue and plenty of witty banter, it's impossible to dislike any of these characters, and next to impossible to put the book down. Even though we know Atticus will save the day, we still become invested in his and others' plight as Aenghus gives every indication of being willing to deploy any and all means necessary to take back Fragarach from the druid.

Even if, like me, you're usually wary of Urban Fantasy, I would strongly recommend this series just for the characters. I loved them, and I will definitely be reading the rest of this series. Indeed, on the strength of Hounded, I shall definitely be checking out anything else Hearne writes, probably ever.

This novel is entertaining, steeped in a ton of mythology, populated by awesome characters, and feels fresh and original. Best of all, I think it doesn't take itself too seriously, which only made it all the more enjoyable. After I got over my initial reservations (I am eating humble pie, I promise), I thoroughly enjoyed this. Urban fantasy at its best.

Very highly recommended.

For Fans of: Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, M.L.N. Hanover, Rachel Aaron
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb start to a supernatural series, 8 April 2012
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles (Paperback)
`Hounded' is a cut above your average supernatural romp. For once the hero isn't a novice or a newbie; he's a powerful, ancient adept who can kick serious immortal ass. He's also thoroughly at home in modern America so, although Atticus is the only genuine druid still surviving, he doesn't wear a long grey beard or white robes. He does have very interesting relationships with elementals, supernaturals, vampires and werewolves, as you'd hope. And he can shape-change himself. And lives with a wise-cracking wolfhound. And has intimate encounters with the goddess of death. And thinks nothing of smiting demons and demigods with a supernatural sword. Honestly, what's not to like here?

Kevin Hearne has created a comprehensive, consistent and compelling world, and then populated it with some of the most engaging characters I've met since Gaiman unleashed Morpheus upon us. In fact, the Iron Druid series really does have a lot in common with Neil Gaiman's universe - particularly the wonderful concept that all the gods of every culture can exist and do interact. That background works perfectly with an extremely strong protagonist; Atticus is every bit as interesting as Harry Dresden, and fans of Jim Butcher should love this series.
The Iron Druid books are a fair bit grittier and darker than many `urban fantasy' novels; Atticus is thousands of years old and has taken centuries to hone his power. He doesn't collapse in a heap of trembling lips with a bad case of the collywobbles if he actually has to lay waste to an enemy or two. And while Atticus has all the hormonal drive of a young man in his 20s, the plot doesn't dissolve into soft-porn every other chapter.
Instead, `Hounded' is a really well paced action adventure which neatly balances the introduction of an intriguing range of characters with a plot that forces Atticus to confront adversity. In recent times I have found myself becoming a little frustrated with some books that race non-stop from one violent encounter to the next without stopping to draw breath, or allow the characters any space to develop their back stories. Some demon and vamp stories now consist almost entirely of running, shouting and shagging, without much in the way of mystical or other-worldly revelation or contemplation.

`Hounded' is far better balanced. The hero grabbed my attention and the supporting cast is populated with plenty of fascinating creations who I want to learn more about. The story artfully weaves mysticism into the modern world, and feels grounded in a familiar world which could be possible. I'm hooked: this is an excellent start to a new series. Can't wait for the next one.
9/10
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witches, werevolves, vampires and a very special magical sword, 13 May 2011
By 
Simon M. Mehlman (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Introducing Atticus O'Sullivan, a Druid of 21, and see a slice of modern times through his eyes as he battles for his friends, his neighbours, his dog ... and a really good cup of tea.

The story is well constructed, the dialogue is 'laugh out loud' funny, and the pace is gripping. If you are a fan of Jim Butcher and his creation Harry Dresden, you will not fail to appreciate this balance of magic and modernity, humour and action.

By the way, when I said that Atticus was 21, you didn't assume I meant years did you? Through the last 21 centuries, Atticus has seen the best and the worst of humanity, and the best and the worst of many immortals and deities; being the last of the druids interests quite a few of them, and some really know how to keep a grudge going for a long time. Walking the true path does not make it the only path.

Witches, werevolves, vampires and a very special magical sword, this story has it all ... more please!

A cracking good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Urban Fantasy, 12 Sep 2013
By 
Mr. Gary Barber "Nac MacFeegle" (Droylsden, Greater Manchester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles (Paperback)
This is an awesome series of books. I'm going through something of an Urban Fantasy phase right now and discovered this almost by accident.

The stories centre around a practically immortal druid (Atticus) and his wise-cracking dog (oberon) and their adventures, as Atticus gets himself into bigger and bigger scrapes. Atticus seems to have a flair for attracting trouble, but somehow he always wins through in the end.

The books are well written and full of humour, especially from Oberon and his sausage obsesssion.

The cover says it's a bit like the Dresden Files and that's true as far as it goes. In both cases the story is from a first-person perspoective around the central character who has with magical abilities and is doing their best to fit in and keep those around them safe. But beyond that they're very different stories written in very different styles, each with their own magic.

I read the 1st one in a day because I just couldn't put it down.
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Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles
Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne (Paperback - 1 Sep 2011)
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