Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles

I actually have a hard time reviewing books I like. There's so much more to say about a series you hate, a series that is deeply problematic or a series you can snark over. More, I feel far leerier about spoiling a book that is ZOMG awesome than I do about spoiling a book that defiles the very page it's printed on

So I approach a review of the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne (and may I add, YUM for that cover art? Yes yes I cam. Nomnomnom) with some difficulty. Because I LOVE IT. Yes yes I do. Kevin Hearne has actually done the impossible and displaced Kim Harrison as my favourite Urban Fantasy writer. Sorry Kim, I love you and the Hollows, but you've been left in Kevin's wake because his books are awesome.

The plot follows Atticus O'Sullivan, a young Irish lad who is actually a 2,100 year old druid. Atticus lives in a world where all deities are real, he's been tricked by Coyote, is irritated by Mary because she calls him “child” even though he's older than her, has a rocky relationship with the Morrigan and is the mortal enemy of Aenghus Og. After millennia of fleeing his old enemy (with the sometimes help of the Morrigan) he now has to confront him and his machinations.

Oh and he dislikes Thor – but everyone hates Thor. Especially the local werewolf lawyers and his vampire attorney.

Atticus dances through this world with style, grace, accompanied by Oberon, an Irish Wolfhound he can talk to is awesome and funny, an old Irish widow with good whiskey and good humour who is also awesome and a full cast of witches, deities and bemused mortal police who all fence with the ancient, wily, witty and funny druid

I can't even give examples of the awesome, because every example just makes me think of more. This is the kind of book where, if you fold over pages to mark the good stuff, you'll end up marking half the book and more. I love every character, they all feel very real to me. Atticus in particular manages to carry off both young lad and 2,100 year old ancient. It is laugh out loud funny in so many places. The deities are strong and powerful and alien and human and take no shit. Oberon provides constant entertainment without ever being clownish and the Widow is feisty and strong without ever being ridiculous. I can't emphasise it enough, the characters are immense.

I literally could not put either book down. I resented anything that stopped me reading and I was sad when the book was over because the awesome had ended. I actually turned back to page 1 and started reading again – this is both Hounded and Hexed.

It is taking all my willpower not to travel to Arizona to camp outside Kevin Hearne's house until the next book becomes available...

I think the best way to sum up how awesome these books are is to document the behaviour Beloved has had to put up with:

Beloved: Um, aren't you at work today?
Sparky: Of course
Beloved: Shouldn't you be gone by now?
Sparky: I'm just reading for 5 minutes.
Beloved: You're half an hour late.
Sparky: What? Shit... I have an appointment in 10 minutes
Beloved: WAIT! You need to get dressed first!

Beloved: Are you coming to bed?
Sparky: In a minute
Beloved: You said that 20 minutes ago!
Sparky: Just let me finish this chapter!
Beloved: It's 3:15! COME TO BED!

Beloved: Ugh... Sparky... you're awake?
Sparky: Um... yes?
Beloved: What was that light?
Sparky: What light?
Beloved: That... it's your mobile phone! You're using your phone as a torch!
Sparky: I was just checking the time!
Beloved: You're reading! It's 5:00am! Go To Sleep!
Sparky: Fine. *sneaks out book*

Beloved is not looking forward to the release of the next book, it has to be said.