Hexed by Kevin Hearne
Reading level: Adult
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Del Ray
Published: June 7, 2011
Series: Iron Druid #2
Book Source: Personal shelf
Reviewed by: Jenn
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to “make nice” with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial non-aggression treaty—when suddenly the witch population in modern day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. The new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of WWII.
With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas with their special brand of deadly decadence, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch-hunt. But aided by his magical sword, his neighbor’s rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and his vampire attorney, Atticus is ready to sweep the town and show the witchy women they picked the wrong Druid to hex.
Before I start talking about Hexed, I'd like to take a moment to say how thrilled I am to be contributing to Tynga's fantastic blog. I've been reading Tynga's Reviews for a while and I'm very excited to be able to share my thoughts with all of you. Thanks, Tynga! :)
Kevin Hearne is out to be one of the few authors who can make me laugh out loud. I picked up his first book, Hounded, on a whim a little while ago and loved it so much I rushed out to get Hexed just as soon as I finished it. It's hard to talk about Hexed without mentioning some of the plot points from Hounded, but I'll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible.
Hexed picks up shortly after the end of Hounded, which Tynga reviewed in March. (I completely agree with her thoughts on Hounded -- guess we'll have to see if she agrees with me about Hexed!) Having defeated Aenghus Óg, Atticus finds himself on uncertain ground: After hiding for most of his 2,000+ years, he finally made a stand and now folks are realizing that he just might be a threat, and now all sorts of people want Atticus' help vanquishing their foes. Atticus is able to refuse most of these requests, until Malina, the leader of the local coven, asks him to help defeat a group of Bacchants from Las Vegas, and an evil coven of witches who like to throw around death curses, plus he has to deal with a fallen angel. This all culminates in a lot of action, which is quite satisfying because Kevin Hearne writes action sequences so well. Fights in his books are so clearly described and fast-paced that I feel immersed in the action -- a real treat since combat in other books can be frenetic but unclear.
My favourite part of the Iron Druid Chronicles is Atticus himself, particularly his sense of self and his humour. When I first started reading the series, I was worried the books would remind me too much of Mark Del Franco's Connor Grey books since they both focus on druid lore but I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly Kevin Hearne distinguished his series from others with quippy male protagonists, like Jim Butcher's Dresden Files or the Connor Grey series, not only with characterization but also with direction and tone. In fact, Atticus has become one of my favourite urban fantasy protagonists. He's so charming and irreverent and loyal to his convictions. Even when things are in the soup, Atticus has these great lines, both in the dialogue and also in the narration.
A couple of my favourite spoiler-free lines:
- "Pop culture is mutating at a much faster rate these days. It's not like the Middle Ages, when you had the Church and the aristocracy keeping everything nice and stagnant."
- " 'Shield your eyes, then," I said, stepping out of the car and dropping the towel. "Naked Irish Guy." "Aggh! I'm snow-blind!" Hal said.
Other things that were great: getting more time with Leif (a 1,000-year-old vampire) and his anachronistic speech patterns; the developing dynamics between Atticus and his apprentice, Granuaile; and, of course, Oberon, Atticus' Irish wolfhound, who continues to provide endearing comic relief. His love of sausages and French poodles is as strong as it was in Hounded, and it's really great to see an animal character with such a happy and smart personality. I also loved the way Atticus interacts with the Morrigan in this novel, and the other bigwigs who show up in his life, trying to get what they want from him. He's got this amazing blend of deference and strength in his dealings with his gods.
Finally, I'd like to point out how awesome the cover of Hexed is. I'm a sucker for a fantastic cover and I love how Atticus looks on this one. Atticus looks fierce and he's wielding his trusty sword Fragarach, with his druidic tattoos on full display. I can't wait to see what happens in Hammered.