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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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text 2017-01-06 16:03
DNF - though it had a lot of potential.
The Druid Gene - Jennifer Foehner Wells The Druid Gene - Jennifer Foehner Wells Truly a case of "me, not the book"- the writing was good, the plot original and interesting (esp. the world building), but I simply couldn't find my way into the story. Might be my mood, my current condition (haven't slept well in a few weeks) or whatever. I might try again at another time, but I am not sure. There are just too many books out there.
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review 2016-10-21 02:17
The Druid (Storytellers Book 1) - Frank Delaney
The Druid - Frank Delaney
I'm reaching into the vault for this week's book. I read the first couple of Storytellers short stories by Frank Delaney when they first came out, a few years ago, and recently realized that I'd lost track of the rest of the series. Which is too bad, for Delaney spins a fine yarn.
For those on this side of the pond, Delaney was a writer and broadcaster in Ireland and the UK for more than thirty years. He's somewhat of an expert on James Joyce, and he has been a judge for the Booker Prize. I read his novel Ireland years ago and was charmed by it -- and not only because he named one of his characters Mrs. Cantwell.
The Storytellers series was, I think, conceived as a promotional vehicle for his most recent novel, The Last Storyteller (which I have not read). The short stories and the novel came out at about the same time, and the first chapter of the novel is included with The Druid. Which I should probably get around to reviewing now.
The story is set in Ireland, and the main character is a fake druid named Lew. The ugly little fellow decides he must marry Elaine, the fairest young girl in the neighborhood -- not because he loves her, but because he's convinced her wealthy father will set them up for a life of ease. Alas, Elaine is already promised to another -- a stranger who is shortly to arrive to collect her. Lew and his one-legged crow have only a few days to figure out how to trick Elaine into marrying him.
Delaney's tale is told effortlessly and with a great deal of fun. As you read it, you can almost imagine yourself gathered with your loved ones around the hearth while the Old Storyteller weaves his tale about you all.
I need to find the other stories in this series. Highly recommended for those who love a good tale.
Source: www.rursdayreads.com/2016/10/the-druid-storytellers-book-1-frank.html
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review 2016-10-01 14:31
#Audiobook Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne
Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1 - Kevin Hearne,-Brilliance Audio on CD Unabridged-,Luke Daniels

The Iron Druid Chronicles follow the life of a 2,000+ year old Druid named Atticus O’Sullivan (not his given name, but most recent alias). Atticus is the only remaining Druid from a time long gone by, hiding out from Angus Og, the Celtic god of love and youth, who wants to kill Atticus for a perceived wrong-doing. In Atticus’s world, every deity, Fae, witch, and paranormal creature is very real. Posing as a twenty-something new-age bookstore owner, Atticus has remained hidden in the East Valley/Tempe region of Arizona. However, powerful Fae are playing a game of politics, and Atticus finds himself in the center of their machinations. 


The Iron Druid Chronicles were recommended to me by a couple of my urban fantasy-audiobook friends, and I am happy to report that so far, it’s a winner. Although I was expecting something along the lines of either the Mercy Thompson series or the Dresden Files, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a unique and interesting mythology. This first offering, Hounded, serves to develop the extremely detailed mythology and introduce what I assume with be the key players throughout the series. The primary focus of the story is the impending battle between Angus Og and Atticus, with each step serving to share more of the Iron Druid’s world. Although I would have like a little bit stronger story, the fresh and unique mythology kept me more than interested in the tale. Additionally, I enjoyed Googling the different Celtic deities to find out more about each and add that knowledge to the context of the story.


The story (and series) is read by Luke Daniels, a new-to-me narrator. Overall, I felt he did a solid job. His performance as the narrator/Atticus is spot on; a youthful voice, tempered by years of knowledge and wisdom. I also found his voice for Atticus’s more-than-a-dog, Oberon, perfect with a gruffness one would expect from a dog that can (mentally) speak. Sometimes I found Atticus a bit too calm, but not negatively so. Daniels has a nice range for both female and male, human and non-human characters. 


Overall, Hounded is a good start to an interesting UF series. I enjoyed the world development and character interaction. I really liked Atticus: a mix of wiseman, impish boy, full of courage and charm. I loved his relationship with Oberon, although sometimes it's like a father-child relationship, which made a scene at the close of the book a bit weird for me. The political machinations of the Fae were intriguing, but I hope for more story in the following books now that the world is established. 


My Ratings:

Story: B

Narration: B+

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