Published by Del Rey on January 26th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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Iron Druid Atticus O'Sullivan, hero of Kevin Hearne's epic New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series, has a point to make—and then drive into a vampire's heart.
When a druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he's bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It's time to make a stand.
As always, Atticus wouldn't mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it's not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki's mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.
As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won't come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.
Possible light spoilers for previous books in the series.
I love this series so much. It’s so fun. Lots of humor, banter, wonderful characters, human (or humanoid) and canine. Especially the canine characters. Oberon is fantastic, and always a highlight of these books. Please forgive me if I spell anything wrong. I listen to the audiobooks, so I’m not sure about several of them. I’ve looked up what I could on the various sites, so hopefully I don’t screw it up too badly.
We started to get some chapters from Granuaile’s POV in the previous book, and here we get more of those plus some from Owen, which is helpful because all 3 of our druids are spread all over the world on vastly different personal missions. And in some places not in this world, as well. I prefer Atticus’ chapters, and I like it better when at least two of our characters are together, but these chapters are good. I think I like Atticus’s POV chapters better because I’m more used to hearing it. The first 5 or 6 books were all from Atticus’s point of view, so I feel like he’s my guide through this. But Granuaile’s and Owen’s are fine, Owen’s especially. His complete confusion about everything around him is fun to read. Luke Daniels does such a great job voicing Owen, voicing all of these characters, really. His Oberon is a huge part of my enjoyment there. And the multiple POVs make sense in the context of this story. It’s the Iron Druid Chronicles, not the Atticus Finch Chronicles. Yes, Atticus is known throughout the world as the Iron Druid, but that’s because of the iron necklace he wears and is presumably going to teach Granuaile and Owen how to make them. It makes sense to me that as we get more druids, we get their stories as well as Atticus’.
So Atticus’ centuries-long fight with the vampires is coming to a head. He spends most of this time in Canada dealing with that, and we finally get the story of Nigel in Toronto. Which is not what I expected. Granuaile is in various parts of the western US dealing with her long-held desire to get revenge on her step-father. Not only was he, not exactly cruel to her growing up, but rather indifferent, and generally just a jerk. He’s made his fortune producing oil, which Granuaile has always hated. It’s part of the reason she wanted to become a druid in the first place. Now that she has, and her connection to Gaia is so strong, she’s really ramped up the hatred for the oil industry and the damage it does to the earth and the environment.. This was probably the weakest part of the book for me. It’s not that Granuaile’s quest is terrible, it’s just a little misguided and ultimately possibly doomed. She’s right – we need to figure out another way, but I can’t imagine she’s planning to just sabotage the trucks of every oil company in the country or world and consider the problem fixed. By the end it sounded like maybe she had more ideas for this plan, so maybe that’ll work out differently than I think it will.
Owen, as much as I generally find him funny, has a lot to learn about not only technology and the changes in the world, but also how people have changed in the last two thousand years. And how they haven’t. His werewolf girlfriend, Greta, has some pretty deep-seated problems with Atticus, and she’s not shy about expressing them. Owen seems to only about half like Atticus, too, so he’s pretty easily corruptible. Greta makes it clear to Owen that she blames Atticus for some terrible things that happen in this book and in some previous books, and Owen, who should know better, doesn’t seem to. I don’t really agree with Greta’s reasoning, which doesn’t endear me to Owen, who I think should do a little more of his own thinking than he does. I see the trail that Greta took to get to her hatred, but I think she missed a fork or two. Ok, that didn’t make sense. But you know what I mean. She blames Atticus initially for the death of Gunnar Magnusson, but that’s not really fair. Gunnar was killed on at trip to Tir Na Nog in book three. (Possibly my favorite entry in the series, btw). But that doesn’t really track. Yes, Atticus was on that mission with Gunnar, and in fact the mission was Atticus’, but Gunnar went because he wanted to, because of a long held grudge against Thor that he wanted to settle. He took on Thor himself. It’s not fair to lay the blame for his death on Atticus. But grief isn’t rational, so Greta’s dislike of Atticus is at least understandable. But she blames him for something else that happens in this book, too, and again, it’s not really deserved. Atticus warned Owen to be on the lookout for an attack. Owen wasn’t. He didn’t pass the warning on Greta or anyone else in the pack. And when he express some general safety concerns, Greta tells him that he’s being silly. But Owen doesn’t remind her of this when she starts on her ‘Atticus is the devil’ speech. He agrees with her and helps her with her vendetta. I’m not exactly sure what Atticus and Owen’s relationship is. I mean, I know that Owen is Atticus’s arch-druid (arc-druid?) but we don’t really know a lot about the actual relationship between the two. Owen doesn’t seem to like Atticus very much, which may be why he’s so ready to go along with Greta’s plan.
But. Enough of that. This was a fun entry in the series. I believe the next one will be the last one, and I think that’s probably for the best. I still think these books are great, but the end of this storyline is in sight, and I’m glad Kevin Hearne isn’t going to just drag it out for the sake of dragging it out. I almost wondered at the end of this one if it was the final book, but a quick google told me there’d be one more. If you haven’t started this series, you really should. And you should start from the beginning. These books aren’t really written to stand on their own.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: