Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1
Written by: Kevin Hearne
Narrated by: Luke Daniels
Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1
Release Date: 04-19-11
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Hounded is the first audiobook in The Iron Druid Chronicles series which is an urban fantasy by the relatively new author Kevin Hearne. We’re presented with a story that follows the magical adventures of the world’s last druid Atticus in modern day Arizona.
Forget about all those silly old men in robes with long white beards. Atticus definitely doesn’t fit in that stereotype, being a 21 year old youngster with red hair, a goatee and the palest skin you’re ever seen. One might think that Arizona won’t be the first choice for a place of residence for someone like him, because you know, it’s constantly sunny and hot and dessert-y. He, however has a few good reasons for choosing the USA South. The Celtic god of love Aenghus Og is after him and not because he has deep feelings for Atticus but because he’s convinced that the druid stole a magical sword that belongs to him. It turns out that Arizona is as far away from the fae gateways to the Old World which makes it difficult for the gods and their minions to catch him by surprise.
All of that sounds familiar, doesn’t it. Comparisons to American Gods by Niel Gaiman can’t be avoided. Both of these fantasy audiobooks fill the streets of present day America with old gods , but Hearne’s gods have fewer restrictions which naturally leads to more destruction and a dynamic action-packed story.
Hounded has a much more faster pacing than Gaiman’s work and I found Atticus to be very relatable and easily likable. The author uses very few words to describe action and emotions and yet conveys them really well, which I think shows some skill. The narrative has all the elements that define the urban fantasy genre – supernatural action, witty dialogue and the funny side kick, yet somehow it manages to avoid the weak points that most of the books in the genre have. If you’ve read some urban fantasy before you know how most of the female characters are – mouthy, arrogant, leather-pant wearing women who get in trouble and are saved by their supernatural powers but they’d probably get killed instantly without them. This all nice and fun, but gets old after a while. Well, none of that here – the protagonist is a male so at least he doesn’t fall into that stereotype.
I know what you’re probably thinking and it wouldn’t far from the truth. There’s some pleasing similarities between Atticus and Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden. Both of them are good guys with magic powers who like to get into fights they probably wouldn’t win. Also both of them make geeky Star Wars references. What’s not to like?
Hounded is a colorful and seamless experience that combines gods and supernatural creatures of various mythologies in fun and innovative ways. We have a druid, a blood-sucking vampire lawyer (aren’t they all), evil witches and even Death, put up against various gods and goddesses, making for a believable and entertaining book.
The Hounded audiobook is an excellent start to the Iron Druid Chronicles which at the time of this review consists of 6 audiobooks and counting. The narrator ( Luke Daniels) did an excellent performacne. Each character got their own unique voice and they sounded in pitch in tone the same way they behaved. It was truly a theatre of the mind and I indulged in it. I’ll certainly be listening to the next audiobooks in the series.