Published: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 292 (Mass Market)
My Rating: 3.0/5.0
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 neighbors 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.
Hounded was a bit of an impulse buy, but it just sounded so interesting that how could I not buy it? I don’t think I’ve ever read (or listened to) a book with a druid as the main character and it proved to be entertaining and somewhat educational in regard to Irish mythology. I learned a bunch of new names and roles in the Irish pantheon and am now considering doing some more educational reading. Actual education, not education via fiction, which isn’t quite as legitimate.
Atticus O’Sullivan is a 2100 year old druid that currently resides in Arizona with his Irish Wolfhound Oberon. He runs a book store/herbiary and generally tries to stay under the radar. Atticus has stayed up to date on technology and culture, so he doesn’t sound like a 2100 year old, but rather the 21 year old that he appears to be. I found that his lingo felt forced and awkward at times, and I just shook my head and kept going. I did like Atticus, but the narration seemed to go from poised and formal to swearing teenage with surprising rapidity. Oberon, the wolfhound, was actually one of my favorite characters because he could talk (to Atticus) and ended up being a humorous addition.
The story was filled with myth, magic, and lots of action. All of these elements combined really made the story feel unique, fun, and dangerous all at once. There was a pretty decent amount of violence in all mediums- magical, sword fighting, physical, etc., so if that’s not your thing then I’m not sure why you’re reading most SFF books. Atticus is in possession of an ancient and powerful sword called Fragarach, which is super cool and a significant part of the plot, but I kept hearing it as Fraggle Rock which was a Muppet movie. I couldn’t un-hear it. Hounded was an attention grabbing debut and had some very memorable scenes, none of which I will spoil here since they’ll lose their effect.
Hounded is, unfortunately, another one of those books that I didn’t enjoy in audio format. The narrator didn’t really appeal to me and I think I may continue on with the series in a different format. Overall I thought the story was an extremely fun read with Harry Dresden vibes and a great urban fantasy setting. I do admit to loving stories that are laced with a dose of mythology and the Iron Druid series was satisfying in that regard.