Page turners. Bubblegum. Brain candy. However you categorize fun, creative fiction with a flair for sarcasm and humor, there’s always a need for it.
In recent years, that need has been filled by Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” series. Harry Dresden is a wizard-for-hire and he gets tapped to do the craziest things. From fighting vampires and creatures from the faerie worlds to dealing with friendly fae with a love of pizza or playing D&D with a group of college-aged werewolves, Harry does it all with sarcasm, self-deprecating humor, and a lot of style.
Now I have a new author to add to that category of bubblegum fiction in urban fantasy – Kevin Hearne. His lead character Atticus O’Sullivan, the last Druid in the world, is living peacefully in Arizona.
Atticus exists in a similar world to Dresden, but Hearne managed to create something new out of a seemingly mismatched collection of gods from different pantheons, witches, vampires, werewolves, and the Tuatha de Dannan from Irish myth and legend.
This druid does his best to live a normal life and runs an occult bookstore near ASU in Tempe, helping the locals with various herbal teas to sooth what ails them and selling the occasional book of hokum to those seeking the magical path. He’s lived 2,000 years, knows how to adapt to changing times, and has a unique view of the world. And did I mention that Atticus has a pet Irish wolfhound that’s almost as funny as he is?
Hounded is the first book in the “Iron Druid Chronicles” from Hearne and I’ve already ordered the next two books in the series – Hexed and Hammered. At just over 300 pages, Hounded was a quick, fun read and I want to know more.
Atticus has had a few quiet years in Tempe, but apparently there’s an angry love god from the old country who really wants a sword he thinks Atticus stole from him way back when. But Atticus isn’t alone. He has a law firm to protect him whose two main partners are a vampire and a werewolf, each of which has a grudge with Thor. He has a few other Celtic gods who are either trying to help or hinder depending on when you ask – Morrigan, the Irish goddess of war and death, and Flidais, a Celtic goddess of the hunt. And his companion Oberon, the Irish wolfhound, is always at his side helping protect him.
Though I love how Hearne has worked in the whole faerie/gods/supernatural angle as well as vampires, werewolves, and witches (yes, witches!), it’s the humor and sarcasm that really stole the show for me. Oberon has both an amazing sense of humor and a unique way of the world. For instance, when Atticus and Oberon are talking about Genghis Khan at one point, Oberon decides he needs his own harem – of French Poodles. It’s that kind of juxtaposition of practicality and amusement that made me literally laugh out loud while reading portions of the book.
My only regret is that I hadn’t picked up the series months ago when my best friend recommended it!
If you are a fan of urban fantasy with a sense of humor like “The Dresden Files” then you ought to find Hounded to be right up your alley. It’s out in paperback, so it’s great for a little light reading if you need a bit!