The book was released November 27, 2012 and I had it in hand the day of its release. I took several weeks to read it. It wasn’t terribly long, but I wanted it to last. Then, after I finished reading it, I got the audiobook and read it a couple of times. Just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
I read the first three books Hounded, Hexed, and Hammered. I liked them. I wasn’t overwhelmed, but I enjoyed them enough so that when the fourth book came out, I bought it. I liked it better than the first three and when this most recent book was released, I was right on top of it. Each book has been better than the one before it and I can hardly wait for the next volume.
Trapped is the fifth installment of the Iron Druid series. It is wonderful. The writing has smoothed out, the characters have become more solid, three-dimensional, real. Atticus finally has a human companion. He’s always had a companion, of course, his faithful wolfhound Oberon. More about Oberon later. But now, it’s the beautiful Granuaile, his apprentice now about-to-be Druid.
One of the things I most like about Kevin Hearne‘s writing is the care with which he constructs his world. It has rules, axioms, standards. Within his world, his characters and nature obey. There is symmetry, logic and order. The world feels right. Although it’s a different reality than ours, but makes sense. Nothing falls up.
The story has more than adequate action to satisfy any fantasy reader, but it is also graceful and elegant. Add to that a hefty dollop of wit, humor, historical tidbits and mythology. It scratches all my literary itches at the same time.
Many authors supposedly base stories on mythology, but really, they use names taken from mythology but that’s as far as it goes. Hearne’s gods, from whatever pantheon they are drawn, are remarkably true to their namesake. My very first literary crush was on Apollo via Bullfinch and I’ve come a long way since then, but my affection for gods and goddesses and their many descendants remains.
Then there’s Oberon the wolfhound. If I had no other motivation, I think I’d read these books just for Oberon. He has a wonderful “dog’s eye view” of the world and human relationships. He is the first “talking dog” who is a dog, not a furry human. He thinks doggy thoughts, lusts after sausages and poodles. He has a big vocabulary and great communication skills, but he is a real dog. And funny.
I liked everything in this book: an intelligent plot, fully realized characters, lots of action, care for the details. Best of all, the story is unpredictable — full of surprises, plot twists and the wonderful words.
In the end, books are about words … and Kevin Hearne uses words beautifully.
I would not — as others have — compare Kevin Hearne to Jim Butcher. Although both write in the fantasy genre and I love the writing of both authors, the worlds about which they write are quite different. I’m sure Harry and Atticus would appreciate each other and enjoy a glass of brew, but they move in different circles. I’ve never liked comparing authors as if they were interchangeable parts. There’s more than enough room for everyone and plenty left for those who have yet to set pen to paper. Atticus isn’t going to replace Harry and Harry is unlikely to be at home in Atticus’ world.
And that is the way it ought to be. Should they find reason to join forces, that would be very cool. I bet Oberon and Mouse would get on too … but if they never meet, I’m sure that both will do their part in saving this sad old world of ours.
Upcoming work in 2013: “The Chapel Perilous,” an Iron Druid short story appearing in the anthology UNFETTERED, coming in May; HUNTED, book 6 of IDC, on June 25; and “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street,” a short story set during Granuaile’s training period with the highest body count of anything I’ve written, on July 23, in the anthology CARNIEPUNK. The latter is so cool—it’s all dark urban fantasy stories set at a carnival by Rachel Caine, Jennifer Estep, Rob Thurman, Seanan McGuire, Nicole Peeler, Jaye Wells, Kelly Meding, Kelly Gay, Delilah Dawson, Jackie Kessler, Allison Pang, Hillary Jacques, and Mark Henry! Also: THE GRIMOIRE OF THE LAMB, an Iron Druid novella coming in late summer or early fall.
There’s a lot of cool stuff on the author’s site. I encourage you to go and browse!
- Trapped, Iron Druid book five (boingboing.net)
- Audio Book Review: Tricked by Kevin Hearne (bookedandloaded.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: A druid, a dog, and a witch walk into a bar… (thecanaryreview.com)
- Trapped by Kevin Hearne (bookgoonie.com)
- Hounded by Kevin Hearne – Review (holowriting.wordpress.com)
- A Test of Mettle (Iron Druid Chronicles #3.5) by Kevin Hearne (creativedeeds.wordpress.com)
- Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles #3) by Kevin Hearne (creativedeeds.wordpress.com)
- Ragnarok is Here (realmsqueen.wordpress.com)