Hounded by Kevin Hearne

hounded-kevin-hearneHounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne, published in 2011 by Del Rey.

Author. Goodreads. Amazon. Book Depository. Barnes & Noble.

Source: purchased (paperback).

Genre: urban fantasy.

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 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. (Goodreads)


My rating: 3/5.

Oh, what a manly book this is. I know, I know, books aren’t supposed to be geared at a specific gender, but this is the second book I’ve read recently where I felt I wasn’t the intended audience (Storm Front being the other one). This is basically Die Hard with magic – and while I sometimes like a story with lots of brawn and shiny weapons, I’m not sure about this one.

Atticus is a druid who looks like a hot Irish guy in his early twenties. He has the ability to draw power from the earth, he’s actually 2000 years old, and has managed to piss off a really old god by stealing from him. He is now in possession of *start breathy, sultry female voice* a really big, powerful sword *end breathy, sultry female voice* and has to protect both it and himself from said god (and a coven of vindictive witches).

Before he actually meets the god, he sleeps with one goddess, kisses two other goddesses (all of whom are drop-dead gorgeous), and manages to get a really attractive female apprentice. His powers are nearly inexhaustible and he has a (debatable) sense of humor (WAY too many dated pop-culture references). Do you see where I’m going with this? Atticus can do everythingHe can also be something of an asshole sometimes. 

Well, I like my heroes more nuanced. I like them flawed and sometimes weak. But hey, if cocky guys float your boat, you’ve hit gold (mixing my metaphors here, I know).

I also have a complaint to make about female roles here – the witches are supremely bithcy, the goddesses manipulative and heartless (and terribly vain at the same time), and they all exist to worship the ground Atticus walks upon. Meh.

The story is not without its redeeming qualities, however. I really, really liked the supporting cast: Oberon the dog with whom Atticus can speak through a mind link; the old Irish widow, Mrs. MacDonagh, who doesn’t even bat an eye when she sees Atticus kill a man in her yard because he assures her he was British; the weird Indian witch inhabiting the body of a buxom barmaid.

And as much as I rolled my eyes at Atticus’s attempts at making jokes (mostly he just thinks them and amuses himself), I quite liked some of them“Isn’t the Christian god prominent here?” – “The Christians have such muddled ideas of him that he usually can’t take shape beyond the crucifix form, so he rarely bothers. Mary will appear more often, though, and she can do some pretty awesome stuff if she feels like it. Mostly she sits around looking beatific and full of grace. Keeps calling me ‘child’, even though I’m older than she is.”

All in all, the story is fast-paced, I liked the setting, and most of the characters are decent. I’m still not sure whether I’ll be giving the second book a chance, given that I disliked Atticus most of the time. But maybe I just need to get to know him better and he gets more layers as the story goes on. We’ll see.


Have you read this book? How about the sequels?

Should I give Atticus another chance to win my heart?

Do you like manly books (or films)?

  • I think for me it came down to not liking the humor as much as I was supposed to. Even a few of the jokes I enjoyed were already dated by the time I read it; specific South Park references that were a meme for about six months for instance.

    Plus, ya, Manly man does manly things.

    • Kaja

      Umh I must have missed the South Park stuff, but I know what you mean. This is sometimes a problem with urban fantasy (as opposed to high fantasy which never gets old)! Whenever I read jokes like that, I imagine the author sitting there with his computer, sniggering at his own jokes.
      I wouldn’t mind the manly stuff so much if Atticus wasn’t such a smartass all the time!

  • I enjoyed this one slightly more than you did, but I agree – very problematic portrayal of women. What is it that they see in him anyway? He comes across as a bit of a misogynist, tbh. I loved Oberon though, and thought he was really funny. For what it’s worth, I read book 2 a couple months ago and I’d say it was a 2.5 star book. I won’t be continuing the series.

    • Kaja

      Ugh, ok, I wasn’t sure I would be reading the next part but knowing that it doesn’t get better pretty much seals the deal.
      Oberon was really cool, I wish there was more of him – but since Atticus is the main character, there isn’t much hope!

  • Haha oh yes. So I listened to this on audio which really saves a lot of it because the narration is fantastic and makes Oberon EVEN BETTER HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?! But yeah, I got to book three and don’t know if I should continue because Oberon wasn’t much in book three and it really showed how little I like Atticus without his trusty hound. I hear the female roles get better in later books through as the apprentice grows into her own character?

    • Kaja

      Yeah I’ve had that experience, too, when the narrator(s) are so cool that they make the book even better. When I listened to Roald Dahl’s Witches (which is a favourite in any case, not just as an audiobook), I laughed out loud in public (while wearing headphones) and looked deranged, probably.
      I don’t think I’ll be reading more of this, though – there are SO MANY good books waiting that I really don’t want to waste my time on something that didn’t really wow me. Pity, though, I thought it had potential.

  • Anže

    Super knjiga!

  • I actually really liked this story, but mostly for the other characters you mentioned like Oberon. And the humour did amuse me greatly. I’m sure my sense of humour is a small boy.

    • :) Did you continue with the series? If yes, should I give Atticus another chance?

      • I have book 2, but haven’t listened to it yet. I plan to this month though.