Shattered by Kevin Hearne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the seventh book in the Iron Druid Chronicles, a rollicking, fast-paced, often laugh-out-loud urban fantasy series. In this universe, all pantheons and mythologies are real; vampires, faeries and werewolves exist; and at the center of it all is one Atticus O'Sullivan, the last Druid (at least until this book), a nerd, a smartass, and at the grand old age of two thousand, someone who is very good at surviving.
This is comparable, I think, to Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, although Kevin Hearne does not come near the depths of Butcher's tortured, twisty plotting. In some ways, this makes for a better series, and it certainly makes for a better main character. Atticus has grown up quite a bit in the last few books; he's not the flippant frat boy he used to be. His former student, newly bound Druid and now love, Granuaile, has changed him. (In this book, we also get chapters written from Granuaile's point of view, which was quite welcome. I sometimes think she's a more interesting character than Atticus.) Oberon, Atticus' Irish wolfhound, is still here, although his usual comic relief is quite a bit toned down in this story.
Unfortunately, the fact that this book is the seventh in the series drags it down a bit. One outstanding plotline is resolved, but the final faceoff with the antagonist, Loki, remains in the future. If you haven't read the first six books, this is definitely not the place to start; even with the helpful "The story so far" prologue, newbies will probably feel quite adrift. (To be fair, this is nowhere near as bad as Jim Butcher's series.) This book is a bit more leisurely paced, a welcome respite from the previous book's frantic running with nary a chance to breathe. We do end up with an abrupt cliffhanger, with the promise of plenty more mayhem to come.
Bottom line: This is a pleasant, breezy, but not terribly deep urban fantasy series. I won't be nominating it for any awards, but for what it is, it's perfectly fine.
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