Hexed: The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

 

Title: Hexed: The Iron Druid Chronicles

Author: Kevin Hearne

Format: Paperback edition, Ballantine/Del Rey

Published: 2011

 

hexed

I love book series, enjoy seeking them out, and definitely get over the moon excited for them when I stumble across one that just captures my imagination and takes off with it.  That last bit doesn’t happen very often, but it did when I read “Hounded”, the first book in The Iron Druid Chronicles series by Kevin Hearne, a few years ago. A book about Atticus O’Sullivan, the last living Druid and a mystical bad ass in modern day Arizona, “Hounded” opened up a world with a brand new take on multiple mythologies coexisting together, gave a twist and new life to the concept of vampires and werewolves, and made me believe that a psychic connection to a dog might be the greatest thing ever.  I definitely was eager to read the next book in the series, to see what happened to Atticus, a character that was different in many ways.

And then I read “Hexed”.  And didn’t get what I expected at all.

Don’t misunderstand.  Compared to all the books in existence and even the large majority of modern urban fantasy/mythological gods causing crap books that are out there, “Hexed” is good.  Compared to the book that came before it, the one that started the series, “Hexed” falls on its face from page one and doesn’t recover the magic of its predecessor until well past the middle.

Spinning out of “Hounded”, “Hexed” sees Atticus O’Sullivan trying to correct damage to the earth that the battle in the first book caused and finding himself to be the mostly unwilling guardian against all things bad and magic to the part of Arizona he lives in.  Among the issues that he has to deal with is an invasion of Germanic witches with Nazi connections trying to fill the gap that the deaths of Polish witches in the first book left.  Also, his vampiric lawyer (that’s his nighttime lawyer, his day time legal issues are handled by a whole pack of werewolf attorneys) is after him to go after Thor, or at least one of the versions that exist of the Thunder God.  And then there’s a version of Coyote who cajoles Atticus into helping him take out a demon that had been unleashed to take out the Druid in the first book… and so on and so forth.

There’s a lot going on in “Hexed” and it seems that much of the book is Atticus trying to get to the actual conflict the book was built around, which was supposed to be the witches I think. I could have dealt with that, most likely, had I not been put off almost immediately by how the author wrote Atticus, his main character.

Instead of the rather wise, yet relaxed Druid that the author crafted throughout “Hounded”, the Atticus O’Sullivan that opens “Hexed” and that occupies most of the book is someone else, almost.  He seems very eager to fit in and to make sure others fit in, so he goes out of his way to sound like the young crowd around him.  Again, this is something that is in the first book, but it’s just an aside, really. In “Hexed” it is a recurring theme, one that Atticus focuses on, especially in terms of his vampiric lawyer being too stuffy and acting too much like he’d lived for centuries.  That and other aspects of how Atticus is portrayed, including his personal observations about supporting cast being overly snarky and there being a preoccupation with Irish Goddesses finding him attractive and the problems this causes him, simply make the story stumble and don’t add anything to the story.  It’s not until a lot of the extraneous loose ends are tied up finally and he moves on to face the witches that we get the same Atticus that made “Hounded” an awesome read.

Will I read the third book? Yes, because Atticus that I liked from the first one did finally show up in the second and we’re left with a great direction that I think will be a lot of fun in the next volume.  But, unless I get obsessed to do a full re read of this series later on, I won’t be visiting ‘Hexed’ again.

‘Hexed: The Iron Druid Chronicles’ rates three out of five pages. It’s a decent read, but doesn’t hold up to the first one in the series and only comes into its own more than halfway through.

An average score for me for this one on my personal scale as well, only three out of six bullets. The lead character not really matching up to how he’d been presented in the first book threw me for so much of a loop for most of the book that it made it difficult to enjoy, and the supporting cast, though great, wasn’t enough to right the ship by themselves.

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Book Review – Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

Title: Beautiful Creatures

Author: Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

Format: Paperback

Written: 2009

Published: 2012

 

After seeing the previews in the movie theater I grew curious about the book.  It took forever to get the book from the library as it seems that several people had the same idea as me to read it because it was coming out as a movie.  My curiosity started with reading an online sample of the book and I was quickly surprised by it.  In the theaters I had been convinced that the book was told from the perspective of the girl, considering that it how stories of this nature seem to be generally told, yet when I opened the book I was surprised to see it being told from the perspective of the boy.  Seeing this I was excited and all the more intrigued to hear a love story from the male perspective, and it started out quite good giving me a very clear picture of the town and life our main character Ethan Wate was living.  I was quickly hooked and turning the next page to read just a little bit more.

 

Sadly that breath of fresh air that excited me turned sour as I was meat with tedious repetition about the town of Gatlin and the life that Ethan lives there.  I don’t know how many times and ways I was reminded that the town of Gatlin was a southern town, very proud of its history and anyone not born of the two was an outsider shunned by all particularly if you are Lena Duchannes the nice of the town’s  ‘Boo Radley’.  This was what majority of the book consisted of, if that point was left alone and made minimally the book would not have been the door stop that it was!  For those who would like to make comparisons, if you are familiar with the thickness of the fifth Harry Potter book, Beautiful Creatures was thicker.  I don’t mind playing with the concept of the town being against Lena, making the romance between Ethan and her difficult but when I have to be reminded of why she’s not accepted and yet Ethan is despite his ‘poor choices’ it gets annoying.  Many of my friends had to unfortunately deal with me complaining about the book being the book that never ends.

 

What also made this book difficult for me was not only the fact of repetition but the inconsistency with chapter.  I know as a writer and an avid reader, some chapters are going to be longer than others but typically in my experience there is some consistency on chapter lengths.  In this book I could read a chapter that is only three pages long and a breeze to get through and the next chapter would be ten pages long.  It jumped and fluctuated in the extreme when it came to chapter lengths.  My other issue with the book is that each chapter wasn’t just named but also dated.  Generally speaking dating a chapter is not a big deal to me, but I have an issue when three quarters of the book is done where each individual day gets its own chapter but at the end a chapter can be labeled something like 12.15 and include the events of the 15th the 24th, 25th and lead me into the New Year.  I also have issues that the authors would make any busy day into one forever long chapter but had no problem making the biggest day of the book be three separate chapters.  I am grateful that they didn’t make the 20 plus pages into one chapter, but I felt if you can break that day up why you couldn’t break the other days up as well.

Outside of the idiosyncrasies the story itself was fair, I wasn’t in love with it and finding it to be as good as the general plot could have made or even the movie previews make it, but it was an okay story to say the least even if it was in some ways fairly predictable.  As a last note, the book Beautiful Creatures is the first in the series and thus in some small way sets up for the next book which leave you feeling that pretty much you’ve got the same story all over again only it is the next year.  Having no intention of reading any more of the books in the series I used Google to find out the rest of the story and it is in some ways rather predictable and not that intriguing playing on various classic tropes which makes me just sigh and almost roll my eyes.  Over all I would give this book a 2 page rating and say don’t waste your time.  I’ve not seen the movie but it looks to be better than the book was so as rare as it is for me to say it, go see the movie instead of reading the book and I’m sure you’ll be more entertained than I was in reading it.

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