is the fifth book in the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.
I read the first book in the series and was floored. It was
fast-paced, humorous, and the Iron Druid concept was cool and something
different for the urban fantasy field. The other books in the series
were up and down, but all entertaining. This one is no exception.
In this book, we skip twelve years, to the end of Granuaile's training,
Atticus' apprentice. She's ready to be bound to the earth. But
Atticus discovers that he has to bind her on the European plate, and
someone has managed to block all of his access to Europe except for an
area around Olympus. At the same time, someone appears to have revealed
the fact that he isn't dead, as nearly everyone believed, and once
that secret's out, Atticus has numerous gods out to kill him. The fact
that he has to bind Granuaile somewhere near Mount Olympus suddenly
feels like a trap.
This book was again a fun romp as Atticus attempts to bind Granuaile,
his trusty wolfhound Oberon helping them out, while dodging attacks
from all of those out to get him. There's plenty of action, lots of
magic, and some significant character development between Atticus and
Granuaile as the book progresses. I didn't mind the twelve year shift
in time, established in the previous book, although you don't really
get a strong sense that that much time has passed at all, since none of
the major characters really age at all, and of course the gods don't
age either. So the twelve years is sort of shrugged aside. The best
part of the book was the relationships between Atticus, Ganuaile, and
The main reason I didn't give this book higher marks is because the
conflict lacked any real strong focus, and most of those plot lines are
left open at the end of the book. He has Bacchus after him, Loki,
vampires, and dark elves. All of them have good reasons for wanting him
dead, mostly reasons brought on by Atticus himself. We learn fairly
early on that someone has orchestrated some of the attacks, but we never
learn who in this book. Only one of the plot lines is really
resolved, the rest put on hold, and even the one that's resolved sort
of comes out of the blue. And the plot thread that ends the book is
mentioned once early on and then left alone until the very end. And
that plot thread appears to have been developed mostly in the "between"
novella Two Ravens and One Crow
only available in ebook format (which means I haven't read it).
So, all of this together made the book feel unfocused and unfinished.
The more significant plot threads are left dangling and the ones
resolved felt minor. And the book more or less ends on a cliffhanger,
with an attack. Thus, the book is a bit unsatisfying overall. I still
enjoyed it, and it moved some of the plot threads forward, but it
still felt like a transition or set-up book, not a single story in
itself. I'll be reading the next novel, of course. But I'm hoping it
has a more satisfactory ending than this one.
/ Benjamin Tate