When a Druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he’s bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It’s time to make a stand.
As always, Atticus wouldn’t mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it’s not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki’s mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.
As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won’t come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.
“Since I’ve become a Druid, I’ve seen some pretty weird shit, Atticus,” Granuaile said, “but Beardy Baggins there squaring off against Squid Head McGee in the snow might be the weirdest.”
I actually mostly enjoyed reading this book, and I’m not exactly clear why. (Stockholm syndrome maybe?) Atticus is the only one that is actually on target pretty much the entire book, which is a departure from the norm since he is typically the one sidetracking things. He is dealing with things that long needed being dealt with. Granuaile starts on target, doing necessary things, but then goes off on a bizarre tangent related to her purpose and sense of self, but is really just causing more trouble they don’t need at a time when they are already busy enough. I really, really have no idea why so much time is paid on Owen, he is just basically trying to get a handle on being in the modern world and doing his druid school thing 99% of the time, which is not at all, in any way, shape, or form, needing to be told.
If you haven’t read A Prelude to War, which is in the anthology Three Slices, you might want to check it out before (or after, if you want) reading this book. It adds a lot of backstory to the book that you wouldn’t get otherwise. It might feel if you don’t read it that you are missing some of the plot, and you are because it is in Three Slices. I just don’t think it is strictly necessary to read prior to this book because you can pick up all the threads you need without reading it.
There is one thing that I have yet to touch on with these reviews because it wasn’t a large part of the story. However, in this book, the irritation has gotten too high. It has to deal with everyone blaming Atticus for everything. Atticus deserves some blame, sure, I have said that before. A lot of the plot lines are because of his thoughtlessness in the past. However, according to Atticus at least who is not the most accurate of narrators, many of the problems in this series were started on the part of other parties, and Atticus just finally had enough after two THOUSAND years and decided to finally do something about it. There is patience, and I think after that long anyone is allow to be out of patience. However, Atticus told everyone what he was doing, literally everyone in this series close to him knows the score and has been cheering him on in his antics so far and even helps him when needed. But, whenever the slightest consequence befalls them oh no fuck Atticus, everything is his fault, I never want to see him again, blah blah. They’re all blaming him for not being perfect, when he is essentially alone against groups of thousands of gods and vampires. It is incredibly irritating. End rant.
I’m also just.. so done with Granuaile. She is so annoying. She is mostly ineffective to the story and I hate the focus on her simply because she and Atticus are fucking. Ragnarok is around the corner, Loki is actively pursuing her, her boyfriend is fighting for his life and their future…and all she cares about is getting back at her stepfather. Fixing the problems with the earth is a noble goal, but I think you have bigger problems right now, no? Plus, there are infinitely better ways about going about getting her vendetta realised.
This second to last book is setting everything up for the last book, the one where everything goes to shit one last time. I enjoyed reading it, but I also enjoy getting to the end of the series just as much.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Iron Druid Chronicles series page!