IN SHORT: The 2100-year-old Druid Atticus is trying to blend into modern Arizona when a very angry Celtic god comes looking for his stolen sword.
WHAT IT IS: Hounded is a light, entertaining adventure novel written by Kevin Hearne. It has plenty of action and humor as well as a likeable main character, good pacing, and an inventive setting. Talking dogs, werewolf lawyers, and Death are just a few of the oddballs that show up for the fun.
WHAT IT IS NOT: Don’t expect much of in the way of character growth, story arcs, or big reveals. The ending showed up pretty much the way I expected it, and the main character never felt like he was in jeopardy.
WHAT I THOUGHT: Let’s get one thing straight. Hounded is fun to read, mostly thanks to its main character. Kevin Hearne portrays Atticus the Last Druid with a lot of hip attitude. Sometimes Atticus doesn’t come across as the world-travelled ancient he’s supposed to be (at one point he jumps up and down, swearing in a dozen or so languages), but that’s mostly for the best. Even if I found it hard to believe Atticus would give people magical wedgies, the scenes where he did stuff like this were still enjoyable.
The prose flows well, even if Kevin Hearne seems to tell a lot more than he shows. But when dealing with mythologies not very familiar to the average reader (such as the Celtic pantheon, among others), a bit of heavier telling is understandable.
That said, Hounded doesn’t have much depth. It’s heavy on dessert, like humor and action, but light on any sort of hardcore characterizations. Atticus and the other characters in this novel leave the stage basically the same as they show up (those that survive, anyway).
Atticus is also one serious badass, which makes it hard to give him a credible threat. He starts off the novel by DISINTEGRATING HIS ENEMIES WITH A TOUCH! He’s like Kratos from God of War, except not a complete jerk. Even in the final battle, Atticus really doesn’t have to stretch to achieve victory. That doesn’t make him any less entertaining, but it does make the novel predictable.
However, in the end, Hounded achieves what it sets out to be: a fun, quick read.