Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hexed by Kevin Hearne

After really getting into Kevin Hearne’s Hounded, the first of his Iron Druid series, with the cooler than cool 2,100 year old druid Atticus O’Sullivan I was eager to find out what Atticus had been up to since vanquishing Aenghus Og. Hexed is that tale.

The book picks up pretty much where Hounded left off. All Atticus really wants to do is run his book shop, train his gorgeous apprentice Granuaile and hang out with his wolfhound Oberon. However killing a god has it’s own problems. Mainly that everyone else seems to have a god they’d like taken care of, and once you have a reputation as a godslayer it’s pretty hard to shake.

Hexed is essentially the story of Atticus and his many friends and allies, among them his vampire and werewolf law firm, the native American trickster god Coyote, Granuaile, and of course Oberon, taking on a cadre of German witches who are in town to try and wipe out the coven of Polish witches that Atticus first encountered in Hounded.

Hexed is fun and the action keeps coming thick and fast. Occasionally in Hounded I felt Hearne infodumped a little on readers, he has to do it in Hexed as well, but he’s come up with a clever way of making it part of the story. Oberon, whilst a pretty extraordinary dog, is still a dog and has to have things explained to him, this is often how Hearne imparts necessary information without making it feel like he’s overdoing the infodumps. It’s a great way of doing it, and it allows readers some more time with Oberon, who I am sure is one of the series most popular characters.

At times it does feel like there’s a little too much story. The first action sequence mainly concerns some clean up from the first book. In the fight with Atticus, Aenghus Og brought a giant insect demon to our plane, and Coyote insists that Atticus do some extermination before it starts preying on his people, it seems strangely out of place in the book, which is mostly about the fight with the witches. It does however tell us that Atticus’ grumpy neighbour Mr Semerdjian may be more than he first appears, and has some definite reasons for wanting to keep to himself.

It then moves onto another action sequence concerning a group of Bacchants, if this doesn’t pay off down the track in another book, it’s going to appear rather unnecessary. It also kept making me think of the unpleasant maenad sequence from season two of HBO’s True Blood.

Scenes with Oberon and Atticus (the wolfhound has gone from dreaming of becoming the canine version of Genghis Khan to wearing tie dyed shirts, calling himself Peace Dawg and wanting to stick it to the Man), Granuaile, and especially, Atticus interaction with the witches are very successful, and the showdown between the two covens is fantastic. I hope he keeps the Polish girls around, I liked them.

If you liked Hounded, then you’ll like Hexed, it’s more of the same, but has some more of Atticus back story and Hearne has definitely improved as a writer. I’m looking forward to Hammered, where readers will hopefully find out exactly what’s behind Atticus’ animosity towards the Norse thunder god; Thor. Something Atticus agreed to in Hexed and the title of the third book definitely indicate that will be the case.

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