jpskewedthrone: (Vacant)
This is the sixth book in Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles, which I absolutely loved at the beginning. While this book was a fun read, I don't feel it was as good as some of the previous books in this series. It had it's moments, but still . . .





The premise picks up right where the 5th book left off: Atticus, Granuaile, and Oberon are running for their lives from the gods Diana and Artemis. The Morrigan has told them they must flee to England, without using the Old Ways (the pathways through the trees), and find Herne the Hunter. It's their only chance of survival. So Atticus is running like hell, with the two enraged gods on his heels. Oh, and Loki has managed to escape and is searching for him as well. The entire hunt is high entertainment for the other pantheons as well, some putting their own fingers into the plot. For there's more than just the hunt going on, as Atticus soon discovers betrayal amongst the Tuatha De Danann as well.

While the story is good, I think the main problem with it is the main plot at the beginning of this book--the running. There isn't much you can do to make "running like hell" exciting, when that's all the characters have time for. Certainly they attempt to slow the two goddesses down, and are interrupted occasionally by others attempting to kill them, or at least aid the goddesses, but it doesn't make for an engaging read for the reader. And the first half of the book is definitely its weakest part. There were one or two moments of sudden interest, but for the most part it's just run, run, run. And it started feeling like one of those montage episodes the TV shows used to use everyone now and then--with characters revisiting past episodes in dream sequences. It felt for a while like every past character that Atticus dealt with was going to make an appearance, if only to check in with him and taunt him or something.

I didn't start becoming engaged in the story until the plot widened to include betrayal among the Tuatha De Danann. Suddenly there was more going on than the hunt. This aspect made the second half of the book much more interesting. In fact, the best part of the book was after Atticus had dealt with the Greek and Roman pantheons and focused exclusively on this aspect of his troubles. The last quarter of the book was the best.

So, a good book, but it lacked some of the engagement of some of the previous books in the series. Even the humor couldn't save it, and there was plenty of humor. Again, the last part of the book is by far the best. This series continues to have ups and downs. This wasn't the lowest point in the series, but it wasn't that high up there either. I'll continue reading, but I don't look forward to it as much as I used to, since I'm not sure what I'll get.
jpskewedthrone: (Vacant)
This is a novella that is set between the fourth and fifth books of Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles. There's significant time jump between these two books, so it was nice to see that something of significance was going on during these years, besides the training of Granuaile in Druidic lore.





The premise is that Atticus is visited by the Morrigan and told that he must abandon his training of Granuaile and come with her. There are some important people he needs to meet. She won't tell him much more than that. But when he discovers that he's to meet with Odin, who is supposed to think he's dead and has every reason to kill him in cold blood after his actions in Odin's realm, he realizes that the meeting isn't going to end well. And it doesn't. But not in the way Atticus expected.

This was a nice addition to the main series, exposing more about the Morrigan and also developing a significant portion of the plot of the series. It should really be read between the fourth and fifth books. I read it after the sixth, mostly because it was only available before then as an ebook and I don't do ebooks. Not having read it didn't really interrupt the rest of the series . . . but this novella did explain some of the changes in the characters that appeared from one book to the next. The best part about this novella was the development of the relationship between Atticus and the Morrigan, but the confrontation between Odin and Atticus was the central focus and it was also good reading.

So, a good and almost essential bridge between the fourth and fifth books in the series, and a good solid read in and of itself. There's another novella out there now, again only in ebook right now. I'd suggest reading that one in the proper order as well (although I'll probably have to wait until it comes out at the end of one of the later books in the series, as I did for this one).
jpskewedthrone: (Vacant)
Trapped is the fifth book in the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. I read the first book in the series and was floored. It was fast-paced, humorous, and the Iron Druid concept was cool and something different for the urban fantasy field. The other books in the series were up and down, but all entertaining. This one is no exception.





In this book, we skip twelve years, to the end of Granuaile's training, Atticus' apprentice. She's ready to be bound to the earth. But Atticus discovers that he has to bind her on the European plate, and someone has managed to block all of his access to Europe except for an area around Olympus. At the same time, someone appears to have revealed the fact that he isn't dead, as nearly everyone believed, and once that secret's out, Atticus has numerous gods out to kill him. The fact that he has to bind Granuaile somewhere near Mount Olympus suddenly feels like a trap.

This book was again a fun romp as Atticus attempts to bind Granuaile, his trusty wolfhound Oberon helping them out, while dodging attacks from all of those out to get him. There's plenty of action, lots of magic, and some significant character development between Atticus and Granuaile as the book progresses. I didn't mind the twelve year shift in time, established in the previous book, although you don't really get a strong sense that that much time has passed at all, since none of the major characters really age at all, and of course the gods don't age either. So the twelve years is sort of shrugged aside. The best part of the book was the relationships between Atticus, Ganuaile, and Oberon.

The main reason I didn't give this book higher marks is because the conflict lacked any real strong focus, and most of those plotlines are left open at the end of the book. He has Bacchus after him, Loki, vampires, and dark elves. All of them have good reasons for wanting him dead, mostly reasons brought on by Atticus himself. We learn fairly early on that someone has orchestrated some of the attacks, but we never learn who in this book. Only one of the plotlines is really resolved, the rest put on hold, and even the one that's resolved sort of comes out of the blue. And the plot thread that ends the book is mentioned once early on and then left alone until the very end. And that plot thread appears to have been developed mostly in the "between" novella Two Ravens and One Crow only available in ebook format (which means I haven't read it).

So, all of this together made the book feel unfocused and unfinished. The more significant plot threads are left dangling and the ones resolved felt minor. And the book more or less ends on a cliffhanger, with an attack. Thus, the book is a bit unsatisfying overall. I still enjoyed it, and it moved some of the plot threads forward, but it still felt like a transition or set-up book, not a single story in itself. I'll be reading the next novel, of course. But I'm hoping it has a more satisfactory ending than this one.

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Joshua Palmatier

March 2017

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