Audiobook review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne
Having read the entire Iron Druid Chronicles before, this is my second time listening to Hammered. While I don’t give away any spoilers, I will note that my feelings about this one were definitely altered having listened to it and the entire series previously. That said, I actually enjoyed Hammered more this time around.
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. He makes some extremely poor choices, even after warned not to by two different, trusted gods. I enjoyed the expanded world beyond the Tempe area and loved the new-to-the-series mythology. I appreciated that the majority of the world-building is presented as fact, rather than trying to convince the reader through telling. Additionally, the humor is spot on, especially in the front half of the book. In chapter 3, Atticus creates a Star Trek-inspired religion, with “angel” Spock and “devil” Kirk providing advice. And in chapter 1, he thinks “There is a reason Bath and Body Works doesn’t have a line of products called Huge F*cking Squirrel,” and I laughed out loud.
In the grand scheme of things, it was interesting to go back and relive these events. I certainly misremembered parts, which probably worked in my favor (I remembered the killings being worse than they are actually). As in my first read, I still think there are too many needless deaths, and I remain frustrated that Atticus doesn’t heed the warnings. The battle with the Norse gods is a bloody, mean-spirited battle, which left me unfulfilled and sad. However, I see Atticus’s point that his word would’ve been no good, and appreciate that he does make an effort to try and get everybody out of Asgard safely, even asking them not to go in the first place.
There are a few very touching moments as Atticus concedes it is finally time to move on from Tempe. 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! 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. It’s actually a very moving self-reflection as he makes the decision to leave Arizona.
Narration: The series continues to be shared via the first person of Atticus, who is hiding out in Tempe, AZ, and therefore speaks with an American accent. Mr. Daniels successfully alters dialogue based on gender, species, age, and ethnic origin, making each character wholly unique. The story’s narration is 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 is unique and appropriately fit the persona of the character. Mr. Daniel’s captures the essence of Mr. Hearne’s characters and makes them more. He fills each with emotion, therefore making the events that much more memorable and real.
Hammered 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 (Mr. Hearne is ever the storyteller). I enjoyed the connections forged between Atticus and his companions, but the overall story of revenge was tough to swallow. Since I know what happens next, I’ll leave it at that!
About the Book:
Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully – he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.
One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plane of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.
Author: Kevin Hearne
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Audiobook Release Date: July 5, 2011
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
Audio Speed: 1.5x
Audible/Amazon (affilate link)