Sunday 21 September 2014

#CBR6 Book 102: "Hounded" by Kevin Hearne

Page count: 304 pages
Audio book length: 9 hrs 43 mins
Rating: 4 stars

I'm sorry, but if I'm ever going to reach my double Cannonball, I'm going to have to cut corners somewhere:

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 neighbours 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. 

Having at long last caught up with the Dresden Files and with others of the current paranormal series that I've been following for years already finished (the Southern Vampire Mysteries/Sookie Stackhouse books although Lord knows it was hard going to hang on till the end) or about to finish (Kim Harrison's the Hollows series - review of final book to follow soon), I felt the need to try out some new paranormal/urban fantasy books, and this is one I've seen mentioned in positive terms by a lot of people on the internet that I trust. Since I also have more Audible credits than I know what do do with now that I'm no longer downloading a Jim Butcher book a month, I decided to get Hounded as an audio book, even though I was also given the paperback as a gift for my birthday last year. The good thing about that is that I get the correct pronunciation of all the Celtic/Gaelic names, which tend to be spelled one way and pronounced wildly differently. I liked Christopher Ragland's narration style, but he's not as excellent as James Marsters on the Dresden books.

But what did you actually think of the book, I hear my readers complain? As the first instalment of an urban/paranormal fantasy series, it really was a lot better than many others that come to mind. As fellow readers of this genre are probably aware, it can take anything from one to three (or in the case of the Dresden Files - four) books for the characters, world building and story to be fully established and the series to get really engrossing and entertaining. Unless the books are very frustrating indeed, I'm always willing to read at least two in a series to see if I'm going to stick with it. Kevin Hearne managed to get me, if not hooked, certainly interested enough to keep reading. It wasn't even Atticus as the main character, although he is a lot more likable than say Harry Dresden, Kate Daniels or Toby Daye in his first book. What really got me curious to try more books was the rich gallery of supporting characters, including Oberon the hilarious wolfhound, the Morrigan and the little old lady (who's name slips my mind) who Atticus helps do yard work.

As far as I can see, there are seven books so far in the series, all rated higher than 4.0 on Goodreads. While that doesn't always mean all that much (after all, Edenbrooke, the worst book I read in 2012, is rated 4.35 and This Heart of Mine, the worst book I've read this year, is rated 4.12), I choose to see it as a promising indicator of the quality of the series. I'll try to portion the books out slowly, so I don't catch up with the series too fast. I already spend way too much of my time waiting for new installments of my book series to come out.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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