Let Sleeping Dogs Lie…

This week over at The Fantasy Review Barn we are travelling once again through the tropes of fantasy.  This week’s topic is pets.  I’ve decided to stick to our best friends.  The canines!

Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden has a dog – Mouse.  Quite the opposite as he’s something of a giant!

Kevin Hearne’s Druid Chronicles – Atticus the Druid has a dog called Oberon.  Oberon is one of the best fictional dog characters EVER and has the funniest lines of the whole book – well, no, he doesn’t talk but Atticus and Oberton can converse telepathcially.

J K Rowling’s Harry Potter.  Hagrid’s dogs – Fluffy and Fang – I think Fluffy was the three headed dog and Fang is the big black shaggy soft hearted critter.

Toto – The Wizard of Oz – not even going to give a name or description – don’t be pretending that you don’t know who Toto is or I’ll set the flying monkeys on you.  Would have mentioned them as pets to the Wicked Witch but I’ve decided to stick with the dawgs!

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs – John Carter finds himself with a very unusual dog like character called Woola – fiercely protective and with three sets of teeth quite a formidable character.

Honorary Mentions –

JRRTolkien’s LotR – Bill the Pony

Captain the cat from Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish because a vampire hunting cat is pretty cool

Tricked by Kevin Hearne

Tricked is the fourth instalment of the Iron Druid Chronicles brought to us by Kevin Hearne.  This is a great series of books with oodles of humour, some great banter and a cheeky, rather easy on the eye mind, Druid called Atticus.  If you haven’t read any of the IC books then I recommend you give them a go.  They’re chockablock with different characters, myths, religions, weird and wonderful creatures and giggles.

At the start of the story you may be surprised to discover that Atticus dies.  Now, keep your undies on – it’s a staged death to get certain people, who are less than pleased with him following his antics in Hammered, off his back, and, still keep your trollies on – that wasn’t a spoiler – it’s the first line of the book (and also there’s a rather big giveaway on the jacket!)  So, faked death successful, bad guys off the trail, what can possibly go wrong?  Plenty.

Coyote plays a main role in this story which is where we get the title from of course because he’s tricksy after all!  So, in payment for aforesaid staged demise, Atticus is now in Coyote’s debt and has made an arrangement to help him and his people – unfortunately for Atticus, he didn’t read the small print and pretty soon he’s going to be up to his neck in sand with the ants swarming (I made that bit up).

I really enjoyed this.  Oberon plays a big part and the banter between him and Atticus is as good as ever.  Lots of one liners and playing oneupmanship on each other usually with the incentive of sausages (not for Atticus).  The story examines a little more of Atticus’s former life which is interesting and I think could bear a lot more of a look into.

We spend more time with Granuaile which helps to get to know her a little bit better and the chemistry between the two seems to be hotting up, in spite of Atticus having the best intentions not to become involved with his student.  It’s simply not the done thing!

Anyway, the main action contains a whole new form of evil in the form of skinwalkers.  They’re some nasty characters, vicious, fast, evil and with a demented mania to have a taste of our hero.  These skinwalkers can shape shift.  They’ve been living out in the desert for many years picking off innocent people.  They’re seriously messing with the set up of Coyote’s new enterprise and yet Coyote is missing in action.  This problem doesn’t belong to Atticus but he will own it against his will or better judgement.

Now, I won’t go too much more into the  plot.  There’s plenty of action in this story.  There are new characters plus some old ones.  A bit of betrayal from an unexpected source and an intriguing set up for the next story.

I do enjoy these books.  I thought this one was not as dark as the last and to a certain extent I preferred this.  There’s a certain sort of light relief in reading these books.  They are easy to read, they always have a fast moving plot and there are plenty of different myths and religions that seem to live together seamlessly.

Did I miss anything?  Yes, the Widow!  I’m not going to tell about that.  You’ll have to read it.  And, Leif!!!  No way!

Mmm, criticisms.  I’m still not 100% sure about the Atticus/Granuaile thing.  It’s not that I don’t like Granuaile but I’m just not convinced by it somehow.  Not yet at least anyway.  However, that being said, I am convinced about this series, which is good.

Looking forward to reading the next.

Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Just finished reading Hammered by Kevin Hearne.  Wow.  This series is really growing up!!  If you haven’t already read Hounded or Hexed then the following will undoubtedly contain spoilers so read no further!

Hammered continues where Hexed left off.  Atticus has two debts to fulfill in this story.  He must travel to Asgard to retrieve an apple of eternal youth as part of his deal with Laksha for helping him in Hexed.  Also, he has promised to take Leif to Asgard to help him exact revenge on Thor.  So there’s plenty going on and we delve straight in with Atticus riding bareback on a giant squirrel called Ratatosk to arrive in Asgard and steal an apple from Freyr’s hall but invoking the wrath of the Gods in so doing – particularly as he killed the Norns in the doing.  So, Atticus is now firmly in the sights of the Gods and yet now he must return to Asgard as he has given his word to Leif to assist him (actually, having reread this para it does beg the question of why Atticus just didn’t take Leif with him when he went to retrieve the apple – killing two birds with one stone?  Maybe he thought it would be too risky in terms of bring the apple back??).

This instalment is much darker than the other books.  Without wanting to give away spoilers there is more death and upset this time around.  Plus we don’t get to spend as much time with some of our favourite characters.  Oberon does not travel into battle with Atticus and so we miss a lot of the banter from the previous novels, also the Druid apprentice stays behind.  There is still a generous dose of humour sprinkled in between with plenty of fun references.  We have a huge shout out to Neil Gaiman, and internal conflict with Spock and Kirk playing the good/bad conscience angels perched on Atticus’s shoulders and we have Atticus going for a beer with a hippie, tie dye t-shirt wearing Jesus.  However, even with this liberal sprinkling of humour there is no denying that the stories have taken on a different feel.  We now start to feel some of the repercussions of the actions that Atticus takes.  Not everyone lives!  And, what about that ending – creepy and intriguing (luckily I now don’t have long to wait for the next book to relieve my need for answers!)

What I particularly liked this time was the inclusion of 5 short stories from the characters who travel to Asgard with Atticus.  Each gives their own personal reasons for wishing to kill Thor and I must admit that he’s been a rather nasty piece of work over the ages and deserves everything he gets!

There are also lots of different myths and religions included here – we have a Russian God of Thunder and one of the Eight Chinese Immortals. There is a Finnish God, we have the Norse gods and the Valkryies – if anything there is perhaps a little too much going on!  But that is only a very minor criticism.

This is another very enjoyable instalment in the series and has set the bar for something totally different.  Atticus will now be on the run – he’s no longer safe, his actions are going to bring huge repercussions.  After all you can’t just go round killing gods with impunity and not expect any come back!

I know that I’ve already mentioned the creepy ending – but, it’s not only creepy, it’s also sad!  Yes, this is definitely a much darker and bleaker story – I wonder whether he regrets keeping his word to Leif – I wonder if Leif regrets his desire for revenge.  I wonder if there will be more Oberon and sausages in Tricked!  So many questions.  Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

I’m going to include this read in one of my current challenges – the Once Upon a Time challenge (or not a challenge) being hosted by Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings.  I think with the inclusion of so many Gods this can definitely be included in the myth category!  Stop on over and check out this ‘none’ challenge – it’s all about having fun and along the way you get to meet some really great people and find out some excellent recommendations for other books – if your TBR pile can take it!


Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Hounded by Kevin Hearne, readalong, final chapters

Posted On 30 March 2012

Filed under Book Reviews
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Comments Dropped 26 responses

Welcome to the final q&a session of the Hounded readalong.  The schedule and hosts are listed below.  If you want to join in it’s never probably too late!  If you haven’t yet started Kevin Hearne’s Druid Chronicles then what are you waiting for?  And, beware of spoilers. Discussion Schedule:
March 02nd: Chapters 1-5 hosted by Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog
March 09th: Chapters 6-10 hosted by On a Book Bender
March 16th: Chapters 11-15 hosted by Smash Attack Reads!
March 23rd: Chapters 16-20 hosted by In the Closet With a Bibliophile
March 30th: Chapters 21-25 + epilogue hosted by The Unread Reader
April 06th: Special interview with Kevin Hearne

1. In a moment of anger, Atticus reveals something about himself that he usually keeps very secret, for his own benefit. Has something similar ever happened to you? Have you ever spilled a closely guarded secret in a moment of excitement or anger or absent-mindedness?

I must admit that I’m pretty good at keeping my own counsel.  I did let something very personal out of the bag with one of my friends when I was a little bit the worse for wear (or drunk more to the point!).  She was also fessing up about things.  Funnily enough neither of us has ever referred to that evening since (not in a bad way but more like we’re pretending we forgot!)  That does seem a bit of a cop out for an answer but to be honest I can REALLY keep a secret!

2. Atticus tells Mrs. MacDonagh, “the universe is exactly the size that your soul can encompass. Some people live in extremely small worlds, and some live in a world of infinite possibility.” Then he asks her what she is going to do with the new information she has discovered. What would you do if you found out that other beings were among us? Would you deny it or embrace it?

I love that phrase about the universe being the size that your soul can encompass.  It’s really quite a beautiful sentiment.  I think I might have had a bit more of a jaw dropping moment than Mrs MacDonagh – she barely batted an eyelash when demons and weres were stomping over her lawn!  But I’d like to think, and in fact I’m fairly sure, that I would accept it – (although I would undoubtedly think someone was trying to pull my leg).  Doubting Tom – looks like a trusting ninny by comparison to me.

3. So far, Atticus has revealed a few of his powers and has even shared some power by putting bindings on Granuaile. What do you think has been his coolest or most helpful power so far?

Given the amount of trouble Atticus manages to find himself in I think his healing power is undoubtedly his best magic ability.  That being said his necklace is pretty impressive and has saved his life at least once.  And, I like his shape shifting.  OMG I can’t choose.  But I will.  Healing.  No, necklace – definitely it’s the magic necklace he’s made – if he hadn’t got the necklace he would be dust and his healing powers would be worthless then!

4. Atticus gets pretty pissed when he finds out that Aenghus Óg is drawing power from the Earth and, in turn, killing it. That’s when Atticus decides he must fight the old Fae for committing such a heinous offense. What is something you would fight for, even if it meant you might die trying?

I really love the way Atticus wants to protect the earth – eco warrior!  Plus, he’s not even going to run out of town now that his enemies know where he lives, because he wants to stay and fix the forest.  Atticus – he is the ‘cuteness’!

My children – I realise that’s totally predictable but I would do anything for them and if they were under any type of threat I think I would be  possessed with some sort of super power, superhuman strength or something (or maybe I was drinking wine when I typed this answer and let’s face it you’re invincible when you’ve had a drink, not to mention have brilliant judgement, can dance like nobody ever before, look cool, and don’t tuck your skirt into your knickers when you’re at the toilet because your co-ordination is also awesome.

5. What did you think of the final showdown between Atticus and Aenghus Óg? Did it go down the way you expected? Was there anything about their battle that surprised you?

I think their battle was much better than I anticipated – it was very real!  No hour long thrashing, just straight to the point (no pun intended) and basically Atticus does what he has to do to survive.  Plus Aenghus was such a maniac with that armour!  Geeky anybody?

6. What was your favorite/least favorite part of Hounded? Who was your favorite/least favorite character?

My favourite parts – difficult!  Probably all the internal dialogue with Oberon (although all the funny references to things such as Star Wars, etc comes a close second).  Saying that, Oberon is definitely my favourite character (after Atticus that is!!!).  I do like the lawyers as well.  Witches the least favourite – well at least the double-crossing element.  Could I at least give one straightfoward answer today – probably not.

7. What do you think is coming up next for Atticus? Will you continue reading this series, and if so, what do you hope to see happen in the next book?

I won’t answer this because I’ve already read book two and I’m waiting to finish the readalong before I pick up number three – which will then dovetail very nicely for the release of number four!  Anyway, as I said I could keep a secret above it would be pretty stoopid to go and spill the beans now!  And, yep, unless something goes seriously wrong I’m set to continue reading about Atticus.

I’d like to thank all the lovely ladies above who hosted this readalong.  I’ve had a great time and got to meet some lovely peeps.

Cheers ears!!


Hounded read along week 4, Kevin Hearne

Posted On 23 March 2012

Filed under Book Reviews
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Comments Dropped 21 responses

Welcome to week 4 of the Hounded readalong.  The schedule and hosts are listed below.  If you want to join in it’s never too late!  If you haven’t yet started Kevin Hearne’s Druid Chronicles then what are you waiting for?  And, beware of spoilers. Discussion Schedule:
March 02nd: Chapters 1-5 hosted by Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog
March 09th: Chapters 6-10 hosted by On a Book Bender
March 16th: Chapters 11-15 hosted by Smash Attack Reads!
March 23rd: Chapters 16-20 hosted by In the Closet With a Bibliophile
March 30th: Chapters 21-25 + epilogue hosted by The Unread Reader
April 06th: Special interview with Kevin Hearne
1.  Just after Atticus is shot, Oberon has to “ninja” his way out of the shop and into Hal’s Beamer (with the icky air freshener). Have you ever been in a situation where you had to “ninja” your way out and try not to be discovered? If so, what happened?
I like this question and wish I had a good story to go with it but alas no.  I’ve had to ‘ninja’ my way into a few situations – sneaking into places where people don’t expect you – but never out!  I’ve had to sneak into work – in my first job (it’s a long story), and I’ve had to sneak into friends and relatives houses for surprise parties.  Although I guess I’ve snuck out of a few places where I wasn’t enjoying myself but didn’t want to be seen leaving!
2. Atticus’s main goal through a large portion of the book is not only protecting Oberon, but also protecting the sword. You are now living in a paranormal world and you need a weapon! What weapon do you choose and what can it do?
I like the sword – it makes people tell the truth when they are under it’s spell – which is pretty cool.  I’ve had to give this one quite a bit of thought – it’s not as easy as you think.  I suppose if I’m going to have a paranormal weapon it would be the ‘one ring to rule them all’ – no, only kidding, that would make me the Dark Lord (also, it would mean that I’ve now lost the battle of Middle earth, also I would be Aragorn’s enemy and that is NOT going to happen!).  I was then thinking maybe a wand – but we all don’t like the witches and wands seems to speak ‘witches’, so no to that.  I thought about a magic acorn (like in the film Willow) – that turns things to stone – but I’m a lousy shot so I’d probably end up hitting a nearby tree and turning that to stone which is just plain rude.  I think my magic weapon will be an animal – like a Dire Wolf from the Game of Thrones or a Dragon – (is that cheating?)  It’s not really a weapon but it would be pretty cool to have a dragon in your corner.  Plus, I am a real sucker for dragons!  And, as my dragon is devoted to me it will of course let me ride on it’s back when it flies – so that’s a winning combo!
3.  To recharge and heal after being shot, Atticus sleeps naked, tattoos to the earth, in a patch of grass near the Civic Center in downtown Scottsdale. Where is the weirdest place you have ever slept?
Again, not sure about the weirdest place?  Slept in some boring places  – like Airports due to delayed flights.  Plus I always sleep when I’m flying – which most people tell me is weird!  (I don’t think so, it’s a great opportunity catch up ona bit of shut eye).  I’ve fallen asleep in places that you just wouldn’t fall asleep in – like a disco (with all that noise).  I’ve slept in some very inconvenient places – like public transport – so ended up in the wrong place completely.  I also quite frequently fall asleep at some very inconvenient times – like after switching my alarm off.  OMG, can’t think of anything weird though!
4. We finally find out some very interesting information about Granuaile and I don’t know about you, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to find that she’s sharing her head with someone else. What about you, did you expect anything along those lines? If not, what were you expecting concerning Granuaile? Nope.  I really didn’t see that storyline with Granuaile.  I thought she might be a ‘romantic’ interest for Atticus – and of course I think that still may be the case.  I think it makes sense for the two of them not to get together but to have a sort of ‘tension’ between them.  She seems like a good character and I like her already.

5.  Laksha is a witch, a truly evil one at that for many of the things she’s done in the past. However, she’s supposedly seen the error of her ways. Do you think she really has? Would you be willing to trust her? Do you think Atticus is smart to have decided to trust her to help him with the “other” witches?

I think Laksha can be trusted to an extent!  But with a large “Caution” stamp!!  She is old – she’s been around and seen a few things, and basically although she’s trying to atone for some of her past misdeeds I wouldn’t say she’s a totally ‘soft and fluffy’ character.  I like the fact that she seems to make a pact and stick to it and she’s certainly powerful and useful to have when in a tight spot!  I would not want her to become an enemy that’s for sure.

Thanks for the questions

Lynn 😀

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