Audiobook review: Scourged by Kevin Hearne
Having read this series previously, I knew this was coming. The difference this time: I’ve read subsequent novellas and the Ink & Sigil spinoff series, plus time has passed, and I’m not as shocked by the events of Scourged. I came at the story from a different place, and it impacted my enjoyment and feelings about all that goes down. I know this story isn’t the end of the journey, so I’m not quite as emotional as I was the first time.
Having read my original review, I still believe that Scourged is the story it needed to be, and it was everything a series-ending book should be… we visit all of the characters, both big and small, and readers are subtly brought up to speed on where everyone is and what they are doing. Storylines from as early as the first book are mentioned, and readers are left knowing the end results. The story has such a sense of full circle and closure throughout the entire book.
However, that doesn’t mean I loved everything about Scourged. It’s the tale that had to be told, and the one I didn’t necessarily want to hear. Ragnarök has arrived early all because of the decisions made and actions taken by Atticus, starting way back at the beginning of the series. Luckily, he now has two other Druids, Granuaile and Owen, to help defend the earth. And yes, there are entire pantheons of gods and goddess along with a slew of other supernatural beings who are also fighting Loki and Hel. But in the end, it’s all on Atticus to stop Loki and save Gaya.
Along the way to the final battle, the book follows all three Druids as each embarks on separate journeys. Owen is tasked to save Gaya where she needs the most help – where other creatures are taking advantage of the choas of Ragnarök. He is reawakened to the beauty of Gaya, and his mission to raise a grove of new Druids is reaffirmed. He befriends a sloth in the Amazon and takes her for adventures. While I adored Slo-mo the sloth originally, I was more annoyed by her this time around. And I was still bothered by how easily Owen could communicate with her, especially after learning from Atticus how difficult it is to bind and communicate in that level of detail with animals.
Granuaile is sent to Taiwan on her own quest. She is young, but wise and learns much from the great Monkey King. We’ve witnessed Granuaile develop her own path for a few books now, and she has an epiphany or two during Scourged that sets in motion changes for her. Even though she’s grown a LOT since the beginning of the series, it’s clear to me this time around that Granuaile is still so young and has a lot of learning and growing to do. She is ruled by her emotions, which makes her passionate, but as we’ve seen, it can bring out some darkness in her.
Finally, we have series main character, Atticus. We’ve watched him make decision after decision that leads directly to the events in Scourged. Several times over the series, the author uses characters to warn Atticus (and the reader) that the end would be difficult and painful. And it is. I won’t get into details or give spoilers, but Hearne stays true to his world and writes the story he needed to write. Even though it is sombre, we still are treated to Atticus and Oberon’s off-the-wall humor and joyful friendship.
Narration: The Iron Druid Chronicles wouldn’t be what it is without the amazing narration by Luke Daniels. A cast of dozens couldn’t do better. Mr. Daniels has honed and refined his voices over the course of the series, and I am still amazed at how many he has. From big to small, from old to young, from human to god, from sloth to dog… he captures the essence of Mr. Hearne’s characters and brings them to life. He fills each with emotion, therefore making the events that much more memorable and real.
In the end, Scourged is engrossing and engaging. I don’t feel like anything was shoved in just to have it make an appearance. The story flowed well, and Hearne’s sharp humor is always present. The only real disappointment I had with the book is that there isn’t any time with the three Druids working together. I missed that, as they were developed as a set in my mind, and to see them face battles separately was a bit of a let down.
Did I love everything that happened in Scourged? No. But it was a fitting end for the series. And I really enjoyed the epilogues this time around… Promising more to come!
About the Book:
Unchained from fate, the Norse gods Loki and Hel are ready to unleash Ragnarok, a.k.a. the Apocalypse, upon the earth. They’ve made allies on the darker side of many pantheons, and there’s a globe-spanning battle brewing that ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan will be hard-pressed to survive, much less win.
Granuaile MacTiernan must join immortals Sun Wukong and Erlang Shen in a fight against the Yama Kings in Taiwan, but she discovers that the stakes are much higher than she thought.
Meanwhile, Archdruid Owen Kennedy must put out both literal and metaphorical fires from Bavaria to Peru to keep the world safe for his apprentices and the future of Druidry.
And Atticus recruits the aid of a tyromancer, an Indian witch, and a trickster god in hopes that they’ll give him just enough leverage to both save Gaia and see another sunrise. There is a hound named Oberon who deserves a snack, after all.
Author: Kevin Hearne
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #9 (or 10, if counting Besieged)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Audiobook Release Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio
Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
Source: Penguin Random House Audio
Audio Speed: 1.6x