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Book Series Review: The Iron Druid Chronicles By Kevin Hearne

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a series review, but I recently finished this series and really wanted to share my thoughts on it.

I have to tell you the Iron Druid books left an impact on me. I can honestly say that this is definitely one of my favorite series, but it’s also one that I dislike as well. But before I get into all of that, let me tell you a little bit about what this series is about.

The Iron Druid Chronicles starts with the book Hounded. A 2,100 year old druid is masquerading as a 21 year-old who owns an occult book store in modern day Arizona. To every one he looks like some stoner college student, but in reality he’s packing a lot of ancient knowledge and power. But don’t tell anyone, because he’s supposed to be hiding out from an Irish god who wants to kill him.

And it just gets better (and more complicated from there). lol…

The story follows Atticus on many and crazy escapades as he tries to hold his own against a bunch of religious pantheons that don’t like him very much. It might be because he’s a little bit snarky and doesn’t really care what anyone might think about him or what he does, he also has a big issue with people (or gods) who harm the earth, because he’s druid, duh. So that can really get him riled up sometimes.

My absolute favorite part of this story is that Atticus has a faithful companion named Oberon who is an Irish wolfhound, and Atticus has taught him how to speak (mentally). So it’s just a lot of fun to watch their awesome conversations play out, and see this deep friendship between hound and human grow over the course of the series.

This series includes 9 books and a bunch of novellas and short stories. The short stories and novellas help to bring more depth to the main story, and in many cases, I found the novellas and short stories to be superior in story quality to some of the novels. So I highly recommend them.

I’m not going to list out the whole chronological order of stories, novellas, and novels. You can find that information on Hearne’s website. But here are the 9 books in the series.

Hounded, Hexen, Hammered, Tricked, Trapped, Hunted, Shattered, Staked, Scourged

After reading all the novels and most of the novellas and short stories, I can say that this is a really fun series to read. If you like the supernatural and magic, and adventure and history, and lots of ass kicking, then try it out.

Kevin Hearne does an outstanding job of diving into many different pantheons of gods and goddesses, including the old Irish, Norse, Olympians, Christian, Hindu, and others. His knowledge of these religious, cultures, languages, and history is quite impressive, and very educational. I always love reading a fictional story that teaches me something about the real world.

I also loved the story premise so much, and it was really working for me until about book 6. The other thing that really pulled me into this story was how much fun the author seemed to be having writing this story. I don’t know what changed, but that fun wore off, and by the time I reached the last novel, I felt like I was slogging through a marshland of discontentment and animosity, not to meant all the preaching from the pulpit Heanre was doing through his story.

I really would love to know what Hearne’s reasoning was for taking Atticus on the path he choose. It certainly wouldn’t have been one I would have chosen for the main character (and actually several of the characters). To say I was extremely disappointed with how the series ended, is an understatement.

And you know, I could have been okay with the events of book 9, if there had been some sort of comeback for the main character, but there wasn’t. I don’t mind character torture (and even encourage it in my own writing), but you have to have a comeback. You can’t keep piling the crap on the main character until he drowns, and that’s pretty much what Hearne did to Atticus.

The series did end with a small glimmer of hope that things might change, but as a reader, I wanted to see that change happen in the story, not just hint at it as the story wraps up. Otherwise what was the whole point of going through the whole adventure? Where’s the pay off for the character and the reader?

Even though this series disappointed me, I still recommend it as a good read, because the first 6 books are very much worth reading (7 and 8 start going down hill, until number 9 completely crashes and burns). And pretty much all the short stories and novellas are definitely worth a read too.

I will also say this in closing. That even though I am disappointed with the end (and I ranted about it for hours to my husband afterward), I don’t have to let that be my end to this story. That’s the great thing about the imagination. It can be used to envision something better.

So in my version of Iron Druid, book 9 never happened, and many parts of book 7 and 8 as well. In my version, Atticus gets his comeback and gets to show us that all his snarkiness and bad choices were leading him to the biggest and greatest victory of his life, and finally getting that dream life he always wanted, because isn’t that what we all want in our own lives? Why should fictional characters be any different?

So if you are looking for a new series to get into, check out Iron Druid, but if you want to skip the not-so-great parts of the story, stop at book 6, and read all the short stories and novellas. It’s an adventure worth the time and effort.

2 thoughts on “Book Series Review: The Iron Druid Chronicles By Kevin Hearne

  1. I totally feel the same way!!!!!
    The fun went out of 7 and 8 – and I thought he would redeem everything in 9. 9 was awful. One of the worst endings of all time. I think he really wanted to end the series, was paid to do it by the publisher, and just totally lost focus.
    Also – I think he lost sight of what made the books great. It was all the snarky fun, and winning despite the gods being against him. In the last book – he was all about Ragnarok – and he just went through and checked off the events like it was a list. Grrrrrr.
    Where is the fun in that? If I want to read a list I’ll go to the grocery store.
    Plus – the whole thing at the end with his love interest (I forget her name) was soooooo contrived. It wasn’t believable in any way. She’d been with him for years, trained with him, knew who he was, and then got upset and walked away because he was trying to make sure she survived the end of the world???? He’d be a terrible druid if he didn’t make sure of that. There is only Aticus, his teacher, and his student left. That’s it. He should have wrapped her in bubble wrap and left her in a storage container to really make sure she would survive. Someone has to stay alive and keep doing druid stuff.
    Sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I figured that’s how it might have went. Hearne just was done and wanted it finished. The heart all gone. It’s a shame. That’s part of the downside of having a publisher. The story and timeline of getting the story done isn’t yours anymore. Oh well, at least we got the awesomeness of the first part of the series. And the truly inspirational energy that went into it.

      And I totally agree about Granuaile. She should have respected what Atticus was trying to do. Yes, protect her, but also the Druids. Atticus had been the only one for so long, and that was a big burden for him. She of all people should have gotten that. So I totally feel Hearne was being a wrecking ball just because he could. That’s the worst way to approach a story. I wish him the best in his future writing endeavors, but unless he makes some changes with how he approaches his writing, I’m not keen on reading anything else he may put out.

      Liked by 2 people

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