How did I get it: From the awesome Random House Booth at C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo). Thank you, Del Rey!
Why did I get it: I have wanted this book since I first heard about it several months ago and I very nearly did a victory dance when I saw copies of it being handed out at C2E2. I love druids, I love the cover, and I love the premise. And sometimes I really just need to read a book with a male protagonist. (This title will also count towards my Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge for 2011.)
How I would rate it: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.
Review: It was awesome to read an Urban Fantasy novel that is about a male protagonist and that features awesomely strong, dangerous women and goddesses. With first books there is always a tendency for the plot to be a bit less important than establishing the world, characters, and setting so I was happy that Atticus was never so distracted by anything else that he forgot his goals or what needed to be done. He also had a great sense of humor, and made for a terrific narrator. I especially liked that he was also a force to be reckoned with and possessing magical abilities than even gods envied seeing as he’s lived an epically long time.
In addition to an awesome 2,000 year old Druid, Hounded also had quite a rich cast of secondary characters including a Irish Wolfhound, a Celtic Goddess of Death, a coven of Witches, an angry male Celtic God of Love, a Celtic Goddess of the Hunt, and even an Werewolf and Vampire Law firm. I suppose the only complaint I really could have character-wise was that I did find myself wishing the main bad guy had been around more thoughout the course of the book. Or that he had been a bit less one-dimensional when he finally showed up. I don’t think I would have noticed this if all the other characters hadn’t been so vivid and well-crafted though, and it definitely didn’t take away from the fast-paced, fun reading experience I had.
As far as the other characters were concerned, I loved the details about them and their lives both in the present and in the past especially in regards to the werewolves and the vampire they worked with. As a reader, I probably could have done with a little less about the Irish wolfhound’s desire for a harem of poodles, but his desire to learn about historical figures was pretty amusing. And there were a lot of other great and even hilarious moments in this book including Atticus dealing with police officers and irritating customers.
The setting was also different, taking place in Tempe, Arizonia which was somewhat of a college town with a new age bookstore and a lot of different national parks. The mythology was a bit different too since the main plotline of the book focuses on Irish mythology but while set in a world that isn’t confined to one particular set of dieties. I really liked all the little details too about Atticus’ shop, teas, and magic. Hearne really made this world come to life and I cannot wait for more of it!
In conclusion, this book was very hard to put down and it was great from beginning to end. So if you’re an Urban Fantasy fan looking for something awesome, I would definitely suggest picking up a copy of Hounded and probably pre-ordering the next two books in the Iron Druid Chronicles. Especially if you enjoy the Dresden Files or the Nightside Series.
Now I will am off to stare at the release date for Hexed until it magically changes from the beginning of June to the beginning of next week. Wish me luck!