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WesternSFA
Hounded
by Kevin Hearne
Del Rey, $7.99, 289pp
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
I’ve been hearing good things about Kevin Hearne for the past few years from friends but just never got around to him. But I scored on a free copy of his first book at Phoenix Comicon and…well, what the heck. This was so much fun that I just had to put down a review and encourage EVERYONE to: READ. THIS. SERIES!

Atticus, as he’s known in this time and place, looks like a twenty-something kid who happens to run a very cool herbal store with a smattering of magic books and some kick-ass tea brewing. But what he really is – is a 2000-year-old Druid. Now, while this book has what might seem like a clichéd group: witches, werewolves and vampires, it is not…clichéd, that is. I can’t think of a story with a Druid taking center stage so that right there is different. He has some nifty powers and a great irreverent attitude except when things get tough. He’s spent the last 2000 years trying to avoid being killed by one of the gods – and, BTW, there are lot of gods running around. But he’s gotten tired of running and hiding and has been happy being rooted in a quiet little neighborhood in a college town. Unfortunately, as hip as he tries to be to current culture, he didn’t realize how easy he would be to find, using the Internet.

He has an agreement with a creature of myth, the Morrigan – a sort of Irish Valkyrie – that she won’t ever take his spirit. In other words, while he could still die from mortal wounds, the Morrigan won’t be the one to take him away. She arrives with a warning that his old nemesis is coming for him. He gets other warnings from other supernatural beings; some of whom might have his best interests at heart, but others who don’t. He ends up calling in favors and promising exorbitant payments to other beings of power – a pack of werewolves, one of which is his lawyer, and a vampire associate. And while he despises witches, he ends up consorting with one or more of them before all is said and done. While most of these characters still adhere to tried and true characteristics, they are, all of them, most interesting.

And, speaking of interesting: his Irish wolfhound, Oberon. This was a great character; put me in mind of Harry Dresden’s sometime friend/associate, Bob. Oberon is a special dog, with a high degree of intelligence although his focus can be lost when there are sausages to be had.

There’s a lot of humor here, mostly due to the excellent dialogue. The plot was convincing and complex enough to be quite interesting without losing the reader. The characters were most interesting, including some walk-ons. I can’t wait to find the next book…and the next…and the next….~~ Catherine Book

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