Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #1
Publisher: Del Rey (May 15, 2007)
Length: 292 pages
My Rating: 3 stars.
Let me establish up front: I’m not an urban fantasy expert. Sure, I’d heard of the genre and some of its more famous names like Harry Dresden, but I’d never actually read any of the books, so I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked up Hounded. After finishing this one though, I have now learned two things: talking dogs can be cool – even if you aren’t a kid anymore – and UF is pretty fun.
As fans of The Iron Druid Chronicles already know, our star Atticus O’Sullivan seems to be a normal twenty-something guy living peacefully in Arizona. He runs his own occult bookshop, sells some coffee and herbs, and has to constantly tell people he doesn’t sell marijuana at his shop. In his spare time, he keeps up the yard for his elderly next-door neighbor and acts like any other handsome, tattooed, Irish guy: hanging out with his friends, picking up interesting ladies, and taking his Irish Wolfhound Oberon out for hikes in the spectacular wilderness. But actually, our normal dude is much more than he seems!
In fact, he is the last of the druids, which makes him about twenty-one “centuries” old. Not only that, but those friends of his are actually werewolves and vampires; those hot ladies he keeps having sex with are Celtic goddesses; and when he and Oberon go hiking, Atticus generally shape-shifts into animal forms so he can keep up with the werewolf pack. All of which means he has a really good thing going on in Arizona. One of the happiest, most settled times in his long life. Naturally though, something is happening to screw it up.
You see, our druid has a magic sword that he took off a Celtic god’s champion centuries ago. This god is still pissed after all this time and wants it back. (Guess divine beings have long memories or something?) Unfortunately, after hounding (Yeah, I went there) our druid for centuries, this god has finally tracked him down, and Atticus is going to need all his druidic power and tricks (plus a little help from old and new friends alike) to save his ass from this very deadly situation, because even if death won’t take his soul hell still might!
Overall, I thought Hounded was a fun read. Was it as good as other urban fantasy books? I have no idea, because this is my first, so it will be the measure upon which I judge all those that come after. Sort of like my first . . . uh, real girlfriend. But like I was saying, this story had some really cool Celtic gods and goddess, interesting witches, and a couple of great werewolf and vampire characters. Naturally, Atticus was the star of the show; his sarcastic, funny remarks kept the laughs coming, and his very interesting relationship with Oberon the wolfhound was a source of numerous smiles. Truthfully, these two friend’s constant banter was the best thing about the whole story to me.
I really have only two complaints with the book.
One, Atticus didn’t seem like a twenty-one CENTURIES old druid. I understand that he’d want to fit into the time period he was living in, dress normal, talk with the local language and slang, and not draw attention to himself, but there did not seem to be much history with this guy. He sounded and acted like a hormonal, twenty-one-year-old frat boy, not like someone who had lived, loved and lost countless people in such a long life. Surviving that long and experiencing so much of human history would have to affect you in some way. There would be moments when you sat around and reflected on something you saw or did or someone important you had lost. Since there were none of these moments in Hounded, it added to the impression that Atticus was a normal, twenty-first century, American man.
Two, the whole book built up to this epic confrontation between Atticus and this kickass Celtic god. After this big buildup though, things wrapped up a little quickly and too perfectly for me.
Like I said earlier, I really enjoyed Hounded; it was a fun introduction to urban fantasy and sold me on continuing to read the genre.