Monday, March 24, 2014

HOUNDED by Kevin Hearne...be warned, yodels of praise and SALE PRICE lurk


HOUNDED (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1)
KEVIN HEARNE


Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: 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 sexy 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.

My Review: The Doubleday UK meme, a book a day for July 2014, is the goad I'm using to get through my snit-based unwritten reviews. Today's prompt, the 28th, is to discuss your favorite animal in fiction. Who else could it be but Oberon the Wolfhound?

Let me start with this:
There are many perks to living for twenty-one centuries, and foremost among them is bearing witness to the rare birth of genius. It invariably goes like this: Someone shrugs off the weight of his cultural traditions, ignores the baleful stares of authority, and does something his countrymen think to be completely batshit insane. Of those, Galileo was my personal favorite. Van Gogh comes in second, but he really was batshit insane.
Now, I ask you. Can a normally-constructed reader of any but the grimmest and least amusant of books fail to see the humor in that?

I am on record as being no fan of phauntaisee nawvelles with their styoopid Misspelynnges and Random capitaLizations to indicate magjickq is in Use. So I approach each recommended genre book with, well, trepidation. (I'm stretching for polite words that mean "strenuous desire to insult author, publisher, and recommender.") So these couple of ladies here on LT tag-teamed me, beat my head into the mat, kicked my nose through the back of my head, and started breaking bones I can't operate without until I got this book and read it.
When you're in the middle of a killing field and the fucking Chooser of the Slain tells you to do something, you do it.
Yeah. That.

The more observant of my readers will have noted the four-star rating above. This was not in the least a foregone conclusion, even with the chuckles and the muffled hoots the book provided. I am not any kind of a fan of straight-people sex, having memories of same that range from boredom on the high end all the way down to horror. Three stars is the most I'll give anything with more than a token window-dressing of girl-sex. Yes, I know lots of people do it, but it's icky and I don't want to hear about it. That fourth star?
Monty Python is like catnip for nerds. Once you get them started quoting it, they are constitutionally incapable of feeling depressed.
Okay, Hearne. I'm gaffed through the gills. Yes, my mouth still fills with nausea-water at the sex, but you've hit The Nerve. Wry and funny? Yes please. Handsome, tattooed, and Irish? TRIFECTA! Twenty-one hundred years old and talks like a lamebrained kid? Well...
I have been around long enough to discount most superstitions for what they are: I was around when many of them began to take root, after all. But one superstition to which I happen to subscribe is that bad juju comes in threes. The saying in my time was, "Storm clouds are thrice cursed," but I can't talk like that and expect people to believe I'm a twenty-one year-old American. I have to say things like, "Shit happens, man.”
And now we're on a different plane of storytelling.

In the voice of the character, the author explains why anachronism is alive and well, and does so with a level of character development that shows something I don't get very often in any book: Respect for the reader. "I'm telling you a story about an immortal magical being who lives in the armpit of creation, USA, voluntarily, and needs to blend in as much as possible. Here is how it's done, why it's done, and what you can expect from the character."

Not only is the fourth star secured to the sleeve with tiny, tough stitches, but the sale is made for book two and book three. Of seven (I think), mind you, but still that's more than I'd even *dream* of doing absent this surprising development.

As Atticus himself said, “Winning ugly is still winning.”

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