Not content with having read the book, I also had to listen to it. Usually, if I like the book in one form, I like it equally well (or nearly so) in another. This, however, was not the case this time. I still love the book. But I have issues with the narration.
Hunted, by Kevin Hearne, is the sixth book in the Iron Druid Series. It’s an action-packed run-for-your-life tour of Europe. Atticus and Granuaile should definitely have taken a cruise, or something relaxing. I’m pretty sure as honeymoon’s go, this wasn’t the best choice. Not that they had any choice in the matter.
Atticus O’Sullivan, the 2000-year-old last of the Roman Druids is running top speed across Europe. Romania, Germany, Holland, France … then swimming the English channel to get to the woods by Windsor Castle. This is not exercise — it’s survival — and as he (Granuaile and Oberon) race, they are fending off two angry, homicidal Olympian goddesses — Artemis and Diana. And as experienced hunters, they are formidable adversaries.
Atticus messed with Bacchus and put him on a slow time island. Although it was self-defense, the Olympians aren’t interested in why. They are just pissed off. Actually, more than that, watching the druids try to outrun the goddesses has become a sporting event for a wide range of deities.They don’t seem so upset about Bacchus as they are eager to kill Atticus as well as Granuaile and Oberon. Freeing their crazy family member and co-deity is not their biggest issue.
The usual ways open to Druids of shifting to the safety of Tír na nÓg, are closed. Every tree and grove is guarded. The old ways are locked tight — leaving them running long, hard, and fast in whatever physical forms and using whatever magic they can. They no longer have Morrigan’s help, though they get some assistance from other immortals.
It does seem that just about everyone and everything is out to get them. Old enemies and new, vampires, gods and goddesses, dark elves, and some weird things who fit no category. Sea monsters. And Loki’s on the loose bringing Ragnarök with him. The world is going to end. That’s sort of Atticus’ fault. Sort of. Sides are forming up for the big battle at the end of the world — Ragnarök – the Apocalypse — is it the end? Of everything? Could there be a new beginning? It’s never happened before, so who’s to know?
No one’s banking on anything but death and destruction, so avoiding it as long as possible seems the sensible choice.
Sensible isn’t part of the equation anymore. No one wants to negotiate, no one feels like chatting. It’s kill or be killed. It’s magic, weapons, a race to find a safe haven — hide and seek along the way. No matter where they go, what they do, the Druids and all of their allies — and enemies — know the big finale is unavoidable. It will leave no one untouched. Meanwhile, the goal is to stay alive.
Atticus and Granuaile have almost no time in this book — to my disappointment — to develop the relationship they began after Granuaile was finally bound to Gaia and became a full Druid. There’s no time now … and given the perils, there may never be time. Not enough, anyway. A day, a few hours, grabbed here and there. This couple is not going to get that leisurely honeymoon, unless you count touring Europe in various forms – stag, horse, sea-lion, sea otter, falcon, mountain lion, wolfhound — and of course, invisible. Most of the time, naked, a traditional form of battle dress for Celts, but not romantic.
Luke Daniels, the narrator is skilled and he does a fine job with Atticus and Granuaile … and all other humanoids, but I really disliked his voicing of Oberon. It sounded like Bugs Bunny and was, to my mind, definitely unsuitable for the great wolfhound. I let it slide by me, but every time the voice came one, I got annoyed. I also didn’t like his voicing of a bunch of the other secondary characters. Fine on the two Druids, but not fine on the others. Fortunately, there’s more good narration than bad … but be warned: if you don’t like the idea of a dumb sounding Oberon with a lisp or cartoon deities from various pantheons, you won’t like this audiobook.
This is the most high-speed book of the series to date. I had hoped for more character interaction and a bit less breathless and perpetual motion. If you like action — and who doesn’t? — there’s more than enough fighting, battling, scheming, running, swimming, dying, recovering — but not much conversation. No down time. Not much relationship development. The book is a bridge to the next. Which is necessary. But you won’t get resolution, not yet. Next book soon please!
It’s beautifully written (as always). This is the first book in which Granuaile has her own voice. She’s a full character now, co-equal with Atticus. Chapters alternate in the first person, her speaking, him speaking. At first, it jarred me a little, but then, I liked it. Nice to have both a male and female primary character in a fantasy novel. I can’t remember if I’ve ever read a book in this genre where both sexes had equal roles. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s all good.
I’m not going to give anything away. No spoilers, sorry.
If you are a fan of the series, you will like the book. It’s probably not quite what you expect, but it’s a critical link for what’s coming.
It’s Granuaile’s coming of age — and in its own way, also Atticus’ coming of age. Although you would think he’s seen it and done it all in his very long life, not so. He hasn’t had a lot of human friends, much less lovers. There’s a lot of new stuff for him to work his way through. Having a real relationship with a human woman requires relearning old habits. Like any relationship, come to think of it.
There are a lot of plot twists. Not all endings are happy. There are victories and temporary wins. Holding actions. I’m not sure there are solid victories to be had as the world draws ever closer to Ragnarök. It’s all about survival, treachery and slippery alliances. The fate of the world hangs on a razor’s edge. See you next book!
If you have not read the previous books, don’t start with this one. There is a lot of history and the characters have all been built through the entire series. They won’t make sense without the earlier books.
The book is also available in paperback and on Kindle. And, obviously, as a download from Audible.com. This is the first of the audio versions I’ve read. I don’t know that I will try another. I think I’ll stick with printed words for this series.