Clever Fantasy Series in Iron Druid Chronicles Latest – TrappedBy
Okay- all you dudes out there listen up! Because this clever fantasy series, although quite cool for us chicks (check out the covers – yum!) is definitely a great read for the guys. There aren’t many tales of two thousand year old druids amongst the fantasy books I’ve seen. Even if there were, I think this series by New York Times best-seller Kevin Hearne would still leave them all in the dust. The winding tales are a bit of homage to comic books, pop culture and all the fun stuff that accompanies this. None the less, even if you aren’t a big Frank Miller fan or follower of The Avengers I think you can’t help but be tickled by this very unusual hero. His apprentice may call him Sensei because he is her teacher, but don’t confuse him with some ancient white-haired mystic. Then again, being two thousand years old brings its own viewpoint to so much of the world.
The Best Laid Plans
Atticus O’Sullivan is our main guy here. He is the last Druid left and for the last four issues he has been doing his best to make sure that he survives another couple hundred years. He has stolen from the Tuatha Dé Dannan (those folks we call the Fae), seduced a goddess and has a vampire for an attorney. You could say that his life can get a bit hectic. Now he is ready to complete the training that he and apprentice Granuaile began fifteen years earlier. The final step is to bind her to the earth, so she can be a full-fledged druid and communicate with Gaia and the many elementals directly. It would also mean that with her achieving this goal Atticus will have doubled the number of Druids left walking the earth.
But he has learned to never count on anything in life going smoothly, and he is right again here. Between interruptions from a god of thunder and threats once Lord Bacchus hears that Atticus is alive, it just begins to feel like the final rituals may never be completed. Even once they are, things get a bit more complicated when it is discovered that a horde of vampires are after the two of them. It seems that vampires and druids don’t exactly get along. In fact, that might just be the understatement of the year. They are the reason druids are so scarce to begin with.
A Survivor’s Tale
But Atticus is a true survivor. In fact, there are plenty of asides in this cleverly-told fantasy series that fill us in on how he has managed to outlive all the other druids. The back story is dropped in here and there, no boring long drawn out chat for this book. But you do get enough to understand him and his allies better even if you have never read the other books in the series.
I love the humor that Hearne brings to the tale with the introduction of the wolfhound Oberon. Somehow I keep hearing Scooby Doo when I read Oberon’s conversations, but that might just be me. Or it might be Hearne’s obsession with pop culture references, hard to tell. Oberon actually is a dog that has a lot of sense, even if he does seem one-minded about meat. But then he is a dog. Having Oberon around keeps the fun flowing and Atticus’s pop culture references (I loved the Frank Miller feet!) betrays Hearne’s love of comic books, old TV shows and all the fun stuff that I think our readers may relate to as well.
But don’t think this is some silly cartoony story; the action is hot and heavy, with a romance in the background though nicely understated. But the sense of epic grandeur you should have with this kind of tale is definitely there. It may take you a bit to get into the rhythm of the language, I struggled at first. However once I immersed myself in it I found that the dude with the sword was indeed a mythic hero and stubborn man with his own agenda. The big one being survival.
Action Adventure and Romance
Of course, there has to be a bit of romance to a book like this. I wasn’t disappointed and found that the growing bond between Atticus and Granuaile was just the right touch. Understated, connected and powerful once let loose. With a mythical sword stolen and then returned to him and mystic tattoos that give him incredible powers, this is a clever fantasy dude you do not mess with, unless you are a god. So of course, that is exactly the kind of beings he is constantly battling.
You may find yourself wanting to know more, and Hearne’s website is a treat for the eyes as well as a great source for short stories and background on the series as whole. There is a charm to this series that is seldom enjoyed in fantasy. You can check out the other books there, he has a few chapters you can read for free on the site. If you love epic adventure with a modern twist, this will be a great series for you to check out. Just enough cheek to make you chuckle and plenty of action to keep us all enthralled and wondering just what Atticus will be up to next.