After twelve years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave.
Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge—but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief, who all seem to have KILL THE DRUID at the top of their to-do lists.
“When there’s blood involved, you always use every advantage you have to make sure it’s theirs that spills and not yours. If you want to feel guilty about taking unfair advantage afterward, you go ahead and feel that shit. But live to feel it.”
It is hard to track down what I find so off about this book. There is the lack of overall plot, it is mostly a book of distraction. There is the constant poor planning on Atticus’ part. There is the ending which seemed to be cobbled together last minute because Hearne seemed to have forgotten to plan for an ending to the book. But, there is something deeper, more fundamental at its core that it is lacking. It felt like I was getting half of the story, the other half which hasn’t been thought up yet.
I feel this is every single consequence that Atticus should have occurred throughout the years coming to roost all at once. I just don’t think he has learned his lesson because there wasn’t a permanent consequence for all the shit he has caused. Hearne built up the ceremony to bind Granuaile to being a druid with very strong convictions on how it could not be interrupted once started at all, and then goes ahead and interrupts the ceremony a half dozen times including by planeswalking. Where is the consequences for this?
Why Granuaile likes him I can’t figure out. Perhaps it is because she is just as immature as he is and it shines most spectacularly in this book. This is the first book she has had anything more than a token part in, and it isn’t a pretty picture. She acts just as much like a child as Atticus does. The havoc these two could wreak from lack of forethought and planning could be untold if Hearne lets it get out of control. And on the note of Granuaile goddamn was that sexual tension old three books ago, it was unbearable in this book. The immaturity of this relationship is just one more problem heaped on top of these characters. These two really need to get over themselves already.
Hearne played to his strengths in this book as much as he could by focusing on the stories of others as much as he could. Unfortunately, it made the book feel disjointed and it made the tales feel forced to add on more words or to force the story into the shape he wanted it to be in. The world Hearne is creating also feels increasingly unsustainable. Gods are everywhere, humans are an afterthought, Atticus is killing more gods and other things every step of the way. Hearne is reaching way beyond his scope, talking a lot of shit I’m afraid his work isn’t going to be able to cash later on.
This was a very messy book, with fundamental problems that likely stem from an author who is shooting from the moon without a parachute as backup and a bunch of immature, ridiculously overpowered, short-sighted, brainless characters. I’m afraid it may only get worse from here.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Iron Druid Chronicles series page!