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review 2017-05-09 01:50
Hammered by Kevin Hearne
Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles, #3) - Kevin Hearne

Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #3


I kind of want to smack Atticus after this book. Although I still want to continue the series, I didn’t enjoy this one as much.


Atticus is finally off to kill Thor with the help of Leif and a bunch of others despite the threat of Ragnarok and a whole bunch of warnings not to go through with it. The flow of the story didn’t really work for me since the whole part where everyone was sitting around the campfire explaining why they all wanted to kill Thor came so late. There were also quite a few battle scenes all strung together and it just got old after a while. Oh well. Maybe things will pick up in the next one.


I read this for booklikes-opoly square #13 “Read a book about a (real of fictional) American lawyer or politician, or that is set during the Civil War”. Both Leif and Hal (one of the werewolves) are Atticus’s lawyers and some lawyering is done before they set off to get back at Thor, so I think it counts even though it’s stretching things a little. Pagecounts range from 273 to 310 or so, so this earns me another $3 for my bank, bringing the total to $67.

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review 2017-03-18 12:45
#Audiobook Review: Trapped by Kevin Hearne
Trapped: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 5 - Hachette Audio UK,Kevin Hearne,Christopher Ragland

Twelve years have past since the last book, and Granuaile has finished her Druidic apprenticeship. Looking for a safe place to bind her to Gaia, the earth, Atticus discovers that Loki is free and the Olympus pantheons are plotting against Atticus. Now the pair, along with best hound friend, Oberon, are trapped between a rock and a hard place unsure who to trust, as they try to find a safe place to tie Granuaile to the earth.


Oh I really, really enjoyed Trapped. I love the deepening connections Atticus and Granuaile. The book isn’t about romance, but their love is true and a perfect addition to the overall mythology and storylines. Stories are best when the reader/listener connects with the characters, developing a relationship with them. In this case, I’ve grown to care about Atticus, Granuaile, and Oberon, making their journeys more exciting and emotional. And all three characters have matured so much since the first book. Especially Granuaile, who is now a full Druid. Yet she still has so much awe for the world around her. Having Atticus reconnect and rediscover the wonders of the earth and other planes through Granuaile, in effect allows me the same discoveries and awe-inspiring experiences.


I also appreciate and am extremely thankful of the direction the author has taken with the overall story arc. Atticus continues to pay for his crimes when he chose to help Leif seek revenge against Thor instead of walking away and staying neutral. It was one thing to kill Angus Og, who had been hunting him, but to assist in and cause the destruction he did to the Norse pantheon was simply outrageous. And now, over twelve years later, his actions are still causing him problems. Atticus’s introspection over his choices is the perfect blend of regretfulness and acceptance. He understands that he may never make amends and balance the scales, but he will do his best to try. However, it seems that in his effort for atonement, Atticus continues to cause more issues, and the problems he and Granuaile face just keep growing in a trickle-down effect. 


Luke Daniels continues to surprise and amaze me with his consistently strong narration. Not only has he mastered the voice for Atticus, Granuaile, and Oberon (which I completely love!), but his wealth of accents for all creatures great and small is astounding! He seems to fit each character’s personality with a slight inflection here and there, or an outrageous accent when called for. He softens his voice for gentler characters, rasps it for deadly ones, booms loudly for thunder gods, and some how works in jovial mirth into others, making each voice utterly unique and memorable. Mr. Daniels is top of his game in Trapped.


Trapped is a self-contained, wonderfully written story, but the ending makes it clear that danger is around every corner for Atticus and the gang. The story served to whet my appetite for the future tales as I wonder how Atticus can right his wrongs and save the world without dying. 


Story: A

Narration: A+

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review 2017-01-30 13:37
#Audiobook Review: Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles - Kevin Hearne,Kevin Hearne,Luke Daniels

Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles is just that - two shorter-length stories set in the Iron Druid Chronicles world that are tied to the series, but do not directly impact the overall storyline of the series.


The first tale, Kaibab Unbound, takes place shorty before the start of the series. Atticus and his dog companion, Oberon, go north to the Arizona wilderness for some hunting time. However, their trip is cut short when the Kaibab elemental calls to Atticus for assistance, and Atticus must right the wrongs of a trio of witches. 


The short story is a glimpse into Atticus's life and duties as the last Druid. It's a self-contained short and good introduction to the series. It was enjoyable for this existing fan of Atticus and Oberon. 


Test of Mettle is a bit different because it is shared in the first person POV narration of Atticus’s apprentice, Granuaile. The story takes place concurrently with book 3, Hammered, when Atticus is in Asgard. Granuaile is keeping her promise to Sonora, the desert earth elemental, by ridding the river of an evasive species, when she is attacked by animals under the direction of the goddess of the hunt, Flidais. 


Test of Mettle was my favorite of these two tales because it gives a perspective we don’t normally experience. I liked seeing how Granuaile interacted with Oberon since she can't hear him, therefore neither can I. I also enjoyed seeing her survive her trials and get a new perspective of her enjoyment and desire to become a Druid. HOWEVER… there is a dark side to Granuaile as she thinks about a time in the future when she will be able to destroy her stepfather. Eep!


While the stories are both narrated by series narrator Luke Daniels, my first notice was that the narration was slightly different. The biggest difference was that Oberon came off a bit rough around the edges - more wild and goofy than I’m used to. I don’t know if it was recorded early on or if the narrator purposely changed slightly. 


Since we haven't had a story told from Granuaile's POV, I didn’t have a lot to compare her voice to. Mr. Daniels kept his narrator voice softer and lighter than what he uses for Atticus and therefore, appropriate for this female lead, and there was no confusion who was sharing the tale. 


Overall, Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles is a very enjoyable look into the series. The book is like a slice-of-life duology. It’s a good place for newbies to get a feel for the series without too many spoilers, so one could then go back and start the series with the first book. 


Rating: B

Narration: B

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review 2017-01-30 13:35
#Audiobook Review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne
Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles Series #3) - Kevin Hearne,Luke Daniels

Making good on his promise to the powerful witch Latcha to obtain a fabled apple from a Norse god, Atticus finds a “backdoor” into Asgard, then weaves a ridiculous tale of the Roman pantheon aiming to hurt the Norse pantheon to lay blame for the tragedies he causes while on his task. But Atticus isn’t done! He follows up these acts by heading back into Asgard with friend Leif and a handful of scorned immortals, fulfilling his promise to assist the vampire in his quest to kill Thor.


Hammered is an interesting and exciting adventure for Atticus. Honestly, I’m still a bit dumb-struck over the events that occurred. Let’s just say that Atticus makes some really, really awful decisions this time around. The story has a different feel as Atticus takes on the Norse pantheon. The author expands beyond the limited look at the Tempe area and tosses about all sorts of new-to-the-series mythology. I appreciate that the majority of the world-building is presented as fact, rather than trying to convince the reader through telling. 


The book has a bit of a transition feel to it as Atticus concedes it is finally time to move on. His reflection on his reasons for always moving and never loving again are profound. We find out that he was married and experienced deep, true love for two centuries and had 25 kids! It’s been over 500 years and he’s afraid to set roots and love again. But he does love Oberon. And now he has a friendship with the Widow MacDonagh and his obligations to Granuaile (his apprentice). And he feels obligated to repair the damage to the land that happened back in the first book. It’s actually a very moving self-reflection as he makes the decision to leave Arizona.


Another reason Hammered comes off as transitional is that as Atticus says his farewells to companions and friends, everything from the previous two books makes an appearance. Things like the Hammers of God, the witch coven, his friends, the shop; they are each dealt with in a manner that is mostly permanent, yet leaving room for reemergence one day. However, it was his farewell to the Widow MacDonagh that had me in tears. It was well done and I'm glad he got to have a proper farewell. 


The book then transitions to the attack on Thor. As part of the process, readers are privy to the long and painful reasons each member of the expedition seeks revenge and Thor’s demise. And while it was clear that Thor really is an ass, the whole quest felt wrong to me, especially since both Jesus and the Morrigan tell Atticus point blank what a bad idea it is. 


I had very mixed feelings on the battle with the Norse gods. It felt petty and needless. I understand why all were justifiably angry. But to slaughter so many "innocents" for revenge?! I just couldn't get behind it. It wasn't a noble cause. It was a bloody, mean-spirited battle, which left me unfulfilled and sad. 


On the bright side, the story’s narration was elevated to a new level this time around. Mr. Daniels expanded his repertoire of voices, adding several gods and accented characters.  From a blowhard god to a whimsical wizard, from dimwitted frost giants to a gentle dessert elemental, each was unique and appropriately fit the persona of the character. And I only had to listen to Coyote for a brief time (I still don't like his voice!)


In the end, Hammered is a tough one to rate. It is probably the strongest story to date. The entire book flowed smoothly from beginning to end, even with the lengthy backstories in the middle of the book. However... While I enjoyed the connections forged between Atticus and his companions, the overall story of revenge was tough to swallow. So much bloodshed and needless death in the name of vengeance and not for some noble cause just felt wrong. Additionally, the open-ended conclusion was a little frustrating. Between all of the goodbyes and the prophesies of doom and despair, the series appears to be heading in a new direction. I cautiously look forward to discovering what happens next. 


Rating: B/B-

Narration: A-

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review 2017-01-17 10:04
Täuschungen, Tricks und Würstchen
Tricked - Kevin Hearne

Was lange währt, wird endlich gut. Im April 2015 verkündete Kevin Hearne auf einer Lesung, die ich besuchte, dass er an einer High Fantasy – Trilogie schreibe. Das ist so lange her, dass ich nicht mehr so recht daran glaubte, dass er dieses Projekt verwirklichen würde, doch nun gibt es endlich konkrete Informationen: der erste Band „A Plague of Giants“ wird voraussichtlich am 03. Oktober 2017 erscheinen! Ich freue mich riesig darauf! Höchste Zeit, mit „The Iron Druid Chronicles“ zu Potte zu kommen, schließlich nähert sich diese Reihe ihrem Ende. 2017 möchte Hearne am neunten, angeblich finalen Band arbeiten. Nach der Lektüre des vierten Bandes „Tricked“ fehlen mir damit noch fünf Bände und diverse Kurzgeschichten rund um den letzten Druiden.


Atticus O’Sullivan muss sterben. Wer in Asgard ein Blutbad anrichtet, kann man nicht erwarten, unbehelligt weiterzuleben. Atticus hat keine Lust, ewig vor den Asen und jedem dahergelaufenen Donnergott zu fliehen. Also inszeniert er mithilfe des Trickster-Gottes Coyote seinen eigenen tragischen Tod. Ausgerüstet mit einer neuen Identität plant er, sich im Navajo-Reservat niederzulassen und sich dort in Ruhe der Lehre seiner Auszubildenden Granuaile zu widmen. Zuvor ist er Coyote allerdings einen Gefallen schuldig. Der Gott verlangt von ihm, die Goldvorkommen unter dem Reservat zu bewegen. Doch Coyote wäre nicht Coyote, hätte seine Bitte nicht einen Haken. Plötzlich steckt Atticus in einem Kampf mit wildgewordenen Skinwalkern, ohne zu wissen, wie er sie besiegen kann. Seine Magie wirkt bei den Gestaltwandlern nicht. Atticus muss sich etwas einfallen lassen, will er sein neues Leben beginnen, ohne unerwünschte Aufmerksamkeit auf sich zu lenken. Schon jetzt sind ihm die Asen auf der Spur. Was er braucht, ist ein Plan – und vielleicht ein paar Würstchen für Oberon.


Was für eine Erleichterung. Atticus ist endlich wieder er selbst. Wisst ihr, während der Lektüre des letzten Bandes „Hammered“ habe ich mich oft gefragt, was eigentlich in ihn gefahren ist. Was war los mit ihm? Wieso ließ er sich von Leif erpressen, ihn nach Asgard zu begleiten und die Asen anzugreifen? Ich verstand nicht, welcher Teufel ihn da geritten hat. Ich hielt ihn immer für zu clever, um sich aus falschem Stolz auf so ein Himmelfahrtskommando einzulassen. Was auch immer es war, der Spuk ist vorbei. Atticus ist wieder Atticus und bereut die Entscheidung, Leif zu unterstützen, im Nachhinein zutiefst. Man kann ihm vieles vorwerfen, aber seinen eigenen Fehlern gegenüber ist er garantiert nicht blind. Er weiß, dass der Preis, den er für das Einhalten seines Versprechens zahlen muss, viel zu hoch ist. Nicht nur, weil die Mission unnötige Opfer forderte, sondern auch, weil diese gravierende Konsequenzen für das gesamte Universum hat. Ich bin Kevin Hearne sehr dankbar, dass er diese Konsequenzen in „Tricked“ konkret benennt. Ich habe mich mit der Vorstellung eines Einschnitts dieser Größenordnung ohne Auswirkungen sehr schwer getan und bin froh, dass der Autor diese Lücke nachträglich füllt. Atticus hat eine unfassbar große Schuld auf sich geladen und muss nun damit zurechtkommen. Leider kann er es sich im vierten Band nicht leisten, sich mit den Ausmaßen seiner Verantwortlichkeit auseinander zu setzen. Er hat keine Zeit, sich mit seinen Gefühlen zu befassen. Das fand ich nachvollziehbar, aber sehr schade, weil es mir geholfen hätte, meine Beziehung zu ihm weiter zu vertiefen. Ich hätte gern eine andere Seite von ihm kennengelernt. Ich hoffe, dass Hearne seine emotionale Situation im nächsten Band vielleicht rückblickend thematisiert. All die Aufregung, die Atticus in „Tricked“ erlebt, hat er sich natürlich ebenfalls selbst zuzuschreiben. Die Ereignisse im Navajo-Reservat sind eine direkte Folge seiner Eskapaden in Asgard – ein weiterer Beleg dafür, dass sich die Mission für ihn nicht im Mindesten auszahlte. Hier begegnet Atticus zum ersten Mal Gegnern, die ihm keinerlei Angriffsfläche für seine Fähigkeiten bieten. Nachdem Kevin Hearne im letzten Band verdeutlichte, dass Atticus trotz seines Alters nur ein fehlbarer Mensch ist, betont er in „Tricked“, dass auch seine Magie nicht allmächtig ist, was mir sehr gut gefiel. Er nutzt die nicht ganz so unschuldige Schülerin-Lehrer-Beziehung zwischen Atticus und Granuaile elegant für einen intensiven Einblick in die Funktionsweise druidischer Magie. Atticus erklärt Granuaile praktisch jeden seiner Schritte; er zeigt ihr, wie er mit Verbindungen auf Molekularebene arbeitet und diese manipuliert, um seine Ziele zu erreichen. Die Kräfte der Skinwalker entstammen dem Glaubenssystem der Navajo; sie sind eine magische Symbiose, die so anders ist als alles, was Atticus kennt, dass er diese Verbindung nicht auflösen kann. Er hat keinen Kniff auf Lager, um ihre einzige Schwachstelle auszunutzen. Letztendlich bleibt ihm nur die physische Auseinandersetzung – ein Garant für ein actiongeladenes Buch, das mir wie immer aufgrund der Mischung aus greifbar umgesetzter Religiosität und lockerem Witz unheimlich viel Spaß bereitete.


„Tricked“ ist eine Überleitung. Der vierte Band schließt den bisherigen Handlungsbogen ab und öffnet die Tür für neue Entwicklungen. Da Kevin Hearne allerdings nichts davon hält, die Dinge leise auströpfeln zu lassen, verabschiedet er sich von Atticus‘ altem Leben würdig mit einem Knall. Der nächste Band „Trapped“ macht einen gewaltigen Zeitsprung von 12 Jahren – persönlich glaube ich, dass es jetzt erst so richtig rundgehen wird. Ich kann es kaum erwarten! Soweit ich weiß, wird Atticus auf Reisen gehen, neue Figuren treffen und sich mit den Superstars diverser Götterpantheons anlegen. Für mich klingt das nach einem ganz neuen Level und ich freue mich wie Bolle darauf, Atticus bei seinen zukünftigen Abenteuern zu begleiten. Er ist und bleibt eben mein Lieblingsdruide, mit dem zweitbesten Hund der Welt an seiner Seite.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/kevin-hearne-tricked
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