Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to…
Audiobook review: The Iron Druid Chronicles
Author: Kevin Hearne
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Audio Speed: 1.5x
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Making good on his promise to the powerful witch Latcha to obtain a fabled apple from a Norse god, Atticus finds a “backdoor” into Asgard, then weaves a ridiculous tale of the Roman pantheon aiming to hurt the Norse pantheon to lay blame for the tragedies he causes while on his task. But Atticus isn’t done! He follows up these acts by heading back into Asgard with friend Leif and a handful of scorned immortals, fulfilling his promise to assist the vampire in his quest to kill Thor.
Hammered is an interesting and exciting adventure for Atticus. Honestly, I’m still a bit dumb-struck over the events that occurred. Let’s just say that Atticus makes some really, really awful decisions this time around. The story has a different feel as Atticus takes on the Norse pantheon. The author expands beyond the limited look at the Tempe area and tosses about all sorts of new-to-the-series mythology. I appreciate that the majority of the world-building is presented as fact, rather than trying to convince the reader through telling.
The book has a bit of a transition feel to it as Atticus concedes it is finally time to move on. His reflection on his reasons for always moving and never loving again are profound. We find out that he was married and experienced deep, true love for two centuries and had 25 kids! It’s been over 500 years and he’s afraid to set roots and love again. But he does love Oberon. And now he has a friendship with the Widow MacDonagh and his obligations to Granuaile (his apprentice). And he feels obligated to repair the damage to the land that happened back in the first book. It’s actually a very moving self-reflection as he makes the decision to leave Arizona.
Another reason Hammered comes off as transitional is that as Atticus says his farewells to companions and friends, everything from the previous two books makes an appearance. Things like the Hammers of God, the witch coven, his friends, the shop; they are each dealt with in a manner that is mostly permanent, yet leaving room for reemergence one day. However, it was his farewell to the Widow MacDonagh that had me in tears. It was well done and I’m glad he got to have a proper farewell.
The book then transitions to the attack on Thor. As part of the process, readers are privy to the long and painful reasons each member of the expedition seeks revenge and Thor’s demise. And while it was clear that Thor really is an ass, the whole quest felt wrong to me, especially since both Jesus and the Morrigan tell Atticus point blank what a bad idea it is.
I had very mixed feelings on the battle with the Norse gods. It felt petty and needless. I understand why all were justifiably angry. But to slaughter so many “innocents” for revenge?! I just couldn’t get behind it. It wasn’t a noble cause. It was a bloody, mean-spirited battle, which left me unfulfilled and sad.
On the bright side, the story’s narration was elevated to a new level this time around. Mr. Daniels expanded his repertoire of voices, adding several gods and accented characters. From a blowhard god to a whimsical wizard, from dimwitted frost giants to a gentle dessert elemental, each was unique and appropriately fit the persona of the character. And I only had to listen to Coyote for a brief time (I still don’t like his voice!)
In the end, Hammered is a tough one to rate. It is probably the strongest story to date. The entire book flowed smoothly from beginning to end, even with the lengthy backstories in the middle of the book. However… While I enjoyed the connections forged between Atticus and his companions, the overall story of revenge was tough to swallow. So much bloodshed and needless death in the name of vengeance and not for some noble cause just felt wrong. Additionally, the open-ended conclusion was a little frustrating. Between all of the goodbyes and the prophesies of doom and despair, the series appears to be heading in a new direction. I cautiously look forward to discovering what happens next.