The ancient gods are alive and well in the modern world in this hilarious, action-packed collection of original short stories featuring Atticus O’Sullivan, the two-thousand-year-old Irishman from Kevin Hearne’s New York Times bestselling Iron Druid Chronicles.
• In ancient Egypt, Atticus agrees to raid a secret chamber underneath the library of Alexandria, dodging deadly traps, only to learn that on-site security includes two members of the Egyptian pantheon.
• At a Kansas carnival, fun and games turns to murder and mayhem, thanks to soul-snatching demons and flesh-craving ghouls luring visitors into an all-too-real house of horrors.
• Verily, in olde England, striking up a friendship with William Shakespeare lands both Atticus and the Bard in boiling hot water with a trio of infamous witches.
• During the Gold Rush, the avatar of greed himself turns the streets of San Francisco red with blood and upsets the elemental Sequoia. Atticus may have to fight fire with fire if he’s going to restore balance.
More, you say? Indeed there is—including bogeymen, vampire hordes, wrathful wraiths, and even a journey to the realm of the dead. Prepare to be besieged with nine tantalizing tales—not to be missed, never to be forgotten.
This is a decent collection of mostly new short stories in the Iron Druid Chronicles series. While mostly unnecessary to the story as the whole, the spin tales we would not otherwise be able to see. Most deal with the long forgotten past connected to current events the way all past flows into the present.
We see things from the perspective of other characters. We tie up loose ends. We have some fun. If you’re a fan of the series you’ll enjoy these series. If you are wondering if you need to read them lest you miss part of the story, you don’t need to read them if you don’t want to. This collection has something for every fan of the series.
They Eye of Horus
This is a short story that is the spiritual predecessor to The Grimoire of the Lamb though it takes place chronologically after Tricked. There are only two purposes two this short story. The first is to give some backstory for how Atticus came into possession of some items and how he got some of his knowledge. The second, I assume, is to set up the reason why something is going to happen later down the road.
This short story is also a sequel to The Chapel Perilous, which was actually written before this short story was. Unfortunately, it appears Hearne completely forgot what he wrote in The Chapel Perilous, because The Eye of Horus overwrites the main point of The Chapel Perilous.
This is a completely unnecessary short story, and easily skipped. This adds nothing new to the series and it is simply Atticus telling a tale of his past to Granuaile. It was extremely boring, as well. Most tales Hearne spins tend to be rather entertaining. This was not one of those, I had to struggle to continue to pay attention to what was happening.
Goddess at the Crossroads
A short story is incredibly more entertaining than The Eye of Horus, but infinitely more unbelievable. To think that Shakespeare needed saving from witches is moderately believable, but that Atticus just happens to be there just in time is simply unbelievable.
I always dislike when authors add famous people in their stories in a sort of “look at me I’m so cool, I have my main character meet this famous dead person completely by chance in my story!” way. There is nothing more to this short story than that. Without Shakespeare, this story would be nothing, no one would care.
This is another completely unnecessary short story that adds nothing to the series. It is just Atticus telling a remarkably unbelievable tale to Granuaile during her training after the events in Tricked.
The Demon Barker of Wheat Street
Set during the time of Granuaile’s training, this is a short story that takes place in the present instead of being some random tale of Atticus’ past. Since this takes place in the present and not the distant past I found this short story pretty enjoyable. It is just these two and Oberon dealing with a problem they stumbled upon.
While not necessarily necessary to the series at large, this is a fun little tale. I really like the inclusion that Atticus managed to annoy an elemental, really good fun.
If you have read this before in Carniepunk, this is essentially the same story. The world building is a bit tighter, clears up some inconsistencies. The ending is slightly changed to be better, too. Overall, slightly stronger story. If you’re wondering if you should read this one again, since you already have, I don’t think you have to, no. You can read the last page to get most of the changes.
Gold Dust Druid
A longer short story than some of the others, but mildly entertaining. Once again Hearne spins a tale where Atticus is at a place or person of consequence when it is necessary for him to be there. At least this time it is at the behest of an elemental, who has no stake in anything but the land.
Again, this story is not necessary to the series at large. It is just an interlude during the time Atticus is training Granuaile.
The Bogeyman of Boora Bog
This is a very short tale of Owen’s to Greta where he tries to explain why Atticus isn’t that bad of a person, but perhaps he taught him wrong because apparently he is a bad person after all. It is a story of contradictions.
I enjoyed the story very much. I really like the way Hearne spun the tale from Owen’s perspective. However, I think the lesson being told at the end is completely out of character for Owen and drags you out of the emersion.
Also, ew. Angry people sex. I really dislike this relationship between these two.
What the fuck was this? The entire series, Hearne has strayed far, far away from writing sex scenes, and now he writes some really weird BDSM scene where at the end of it, it leads to the breaking of what BDSM means in its entirety? Seriously, I am so glad Perun dumped her ass. I never really liked their relationship, but fuck that was bad.
This is a medium length short story that takes place after Staked and The Purloined Poodle, and if you haven’t read both of those you may be confused on some of the things happening in this. This was pretty boring and mostly just highlighted how much I really, really dislike Granuaile. She is such a pretentious little shit. For how long it is, not much happens in it other than Granuaile going vampire hunting.
This starts taking place during Blood Pudding. It is a medium long short story with Owen at the helm. I got distracted while reading this because I felt like it overwrote some of the rules that were set up in the first five books of the series on how apprentices were taught. I really don’t like how Hearne handled this whole teaching thing.
The foreshadowing for how the epilogue to this series is going to be in this is unreal, as well. I am not going to be surprised at all when I get to the end of the last book. I’m also growing to dislike Owen as a character. At first he was exactly what the series needed, but through this short story he has become a watered down character. Similar to other characters. Boring.
The End of Idylls
This was a nice, short, emotional short story. It takes place directly after Haunted devils and directly before Scourged. I appreciated its inclusion in the collection.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Iron Druid Chronicles series page!