Michelle’s Review: The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne – Books 0.4 through 4.5


If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen a series of tweets, just about a single series:

tweets

I hadn’t binged read a series in a while and I actually referenced my “I am craving a good series” post to remember which ones I was interested in diving into. I chose The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne and became obsessed. I literally listened to the short stories 0.4 and 0.5, relistened to Book One, and then raced through the rest of the short stories and books all the way to the short story that’s 4.5 in the series. The audiobooks were just so good and it was refreshing to listen to books instead of reading them, particularly when I was feeling tired and stressed. I would listen while going to sleep, listen during my commutes, or when I was doing a particularly boring task. I raced through the books and only stopped once I found myself getting a little tired of them and was ready to listen to something else. I still plan on finishing the rest of the series, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on all the books I listened to in one post so I’m not posting like five different reviews on the same series. Also, if you want more details on the book itself, I recommend visiting their Goodreads’ pages. I don’t necessarily want to repost each synopsis in this post…that would make this entirely too long!

But to give a very brief description of the series:

Atticus O’Sullivan is not his real name but the name he has used for the past decade or so. He is the last living druid, a man with the ability to tap into nature’s power to wield magic to deflect danger and safeguard the planet. All the world’s gods exist (Egyptian, Norse, Greek, Christianity, Irish, etc.) and they all seem to want different things. Atticus, along with his trusty Irish Wolfhound companion, Oberon, has to deal with different challenges and adventures when events are set into motion that prevent him from hiding anymore.

I’m quite proud of that little summary! Now, for the reviews!

grimoire

First up was The Grimoire of the Lamb, a short story with events that precede those in the first book. I had already read the first book a while ago, but wanted to go back and listen to these short story companions. The Grimoire of the Lamb introduces the Egyptian pantheon which is pretty exciting. Despite having read a lot of the stories in this series back to back, this story still stands out to me. I can still remember details which is a pretty good standard as to how I enjoyed the story. I rated this one 4/5 (I really liked it).

clan rathskellerClan Rathskeller is another short story (0.5 in the series). I actually read it online first a few years ago, but listened to it again when it came with another of the audiobooks. I think I agree with my original assessment of the story.

Taking place 10 months before the events in Hounded, it was enjoyable. Perhaps it was too short to really judge, but I think it was missing some of the earnest/innocence/untainted (really can’t think of the right word) of Hounded. But you always got to love Oberon. I rated this one 3/5 (I liked it).

There’s actually another short story in the series, Kaibab Unbound, but it was not available on Audible and I haven’t managed yet to find it online (though I’m sure if I tried hard enough I could figure out how to purchase/read it.

Hounded is book one, and while I read it a few years ago, I listened to it again to refresh my memory. If you want to hear my thoughts on it, I actually already posted my full review a while ago. I stand by my initial rating of 5/5 (it was amazing).hexed

Next was book two, Hexed. Hexed introduces witches and the powers that they have. I enjoyed the expansion of the world and it made sense. That said, you have to be able to take the world with the humor that it has. It is meant to be fun and light, so when things start getting ridiculous, like the neighbor hording rocket propelled grenades, you just got to roll with it.

The humor is enough to make me smile and it was definitely a nice pick me up to listen after the end of a long day. I think I started getting a little weary of the stories by this point, but the way that it ends makes you forget the moments when you were ready to go to a different book and read the next one straight away.

The narrator is absolutely amazing and I would highly recommend listening to these books! I rated this one 4/5 (I really liked it).

hammered

Continuing on with the ‘H’ theme, the third book is Hammered. I think this was my least favorite of those I binged listened. Instead of a solid 4 stars or even a 4.5, I felt like Hammered was a 3.5. I simply couldn’t buy into the whole mission of having to go kill Thor. I didn’t fully understand why Atticus would go through with it, despite his overtures on being from the Iron Age and keeping his word. It just seemed like such a dumb decision for a druid that had stayed alive for so long by being smart. Because I didn’t quite enjoy the mission at the heart of the book, it wasn’t one of my favorites.

And still, and still…I enjoyed it enough. Barum (or however the Russian God of Thunder’s name was spelled) was one of my favorite characters. I liked the rest of the supporting characters and hearing their backstories. That was the best part–hearing their stories through their own voices.

And of course, the ending had that hook that immediately had me wanting to read the next. I rated this one 4/5 (I really liked it) but again I think this was really more of a 3.5.

And so the binge continued…

There’s A Test of Mettle, a short story that technically has events that run concurrent with Hammered. I did some speed reading of it to quickly understand what was going on with Atticus’s apprentice while he was dealing with the craziness of Hammered. It was okay, but I didn’t really want to rate it or write a review because of how I only sped read it.

trickedBy the time I started listening to Tricked, I was getting worried that perhaps the series had lost its momentum after Hammered. But as the change of the title letter would denote, Tricked is the beginning of a new story arch. Taking a break from the Norse pantheon, we are introduced to the Navajo gods, in particular, the specifics of Coyote and these monsters called Skinwalkers.

It was refreshing in that it was dealing with new myths, new characters, and a new setting. I enjoyed learning more about the druid training.

If you don’t have a sense of humor, these books may be a little too nuts for you. But it’s very funny and clever, and there are some very memorable characters in it that make it a great series to read.

Again, if you have the opportunity to listen to these books, I’d recommend it as long as they have the same narrator. He’s amazing! Because of him and the overall enjoyment, I rated it 4/5 (I really liked it).

two ravensFinally, I ended my binge with Two Ravens and One Crow. As a short story that comes after the events in Tricked, Two Ravens and One Crow does a great job at setting up the stage for what I imagine the next few books will be about. The highlight was definitely learning about more of the druid magic and the Morrigan. I did feel that was something was lacking by this point and perhaps the action was getting a little redundant.

And so ended my series binge because 6 books of a series in a row was enough for me. I rated this story 3/5 (I liked it).

I definitely intend on continuing with the series to see where things end up. And continuing listening them…so good!

Have you read any books in this series? What did you think of them? Have you binged on a series like this recently? What series should I binge on next?

pj - michelle

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