Review: Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles Book 1)

Meet Atticus O’Sullivan, druid. He’s on the wrong side of an incredibly annoyed Celtic god, but has help – including his telepathic Irish wolfhound, a vampire lawyer and a pack of werewolves…

If your idea of a fun mash-up is getting to the end of a novel, with the big climactic fight about to take place, and it’s held up for a moment because an overexcited dog is making comparisons to Eric Cartman in South Park, then you’re going to love this. Kevin Hearne’s novel takes the sort of mythical confrontations from the world of movies like Clash of the Titans and transports them to – very – contemporary America. Atticus – or Siodhachan Ó Suileabháin to give him his proper name – makes a terrific narrator, with his speech patterns reflecting his two-thousand-years plus on the planet, and the various bits of pop culture he’s picked up on the way.

As well as demonstrating an impressive knowledge of Celtic religion, Hearne has a storyteller’s knack for keeping the reader caught up. Most scenes featuring Oberon, the South Park quoting hound, will inspire a smile, even when the threat level is at its highest. Although the primary threat is neutralised by the end of the book (apparently), there are plenty of loose ends that seem set to feature in the remaining two novels – and if Hearne can maintain the standard and the pace, then they’re going to be well worth reading.

Verdict: Sword and sorcery, 21st Century style. With the emphasis on style.  8/10

Paul Simpson

By Kevin Hearne

Orbit Books, out September 15

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