Del Rey, April 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 368 Pages
Excerpt (50 pages): http://www.scribd.com/RHPG/d/89070290-TRICKED-by-Kevin-Hearne-Excerpt?secret_password=2hrebsix5qs0sv2pihxb
Review copy courtesy of the publisher
As a result of the world-shattering events at the conclusion of Hammered one might even say events with Ragnarok-like implications, the third volume of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, Atticus, Oberon, and Granuaile are on the run with new identities. In order to hide from the Norse deities, Atticus elaborately fakes his own death in front of them as well as thunder gods from other pantheons.
Once Atticus gets on with his new life, it isn’t long before the Native American trickster deity Coyote comes calling on the favor Atticus owes him for ‘killing’ him. It isn’t anything big for our favorite Druid, he just convince the Colorado earth elemental to make a gold mine for Coyote’s people. Of course more complications ensue over the course of the novel as a pair of skinwalkers, some of the nastier monsters of Coyote’s people. Atticus came to the attention of these skinwalkers thanks to Hel, the Norse god of the underworld and Loki’s offspring. Clearly, Atticus and company have their hands quite full.
One of the strongest developments of the series in Tricked is the greater focus on Granuaile, Atticus’s protégé. More of her past is revealed and even though Atticus is her sensei, she manages to match wits with him through most of the novel. I wouldn’t be surprised, if Hearne is able to keep the series going long enough, that we get some Granuaile-focused stories or even novels.
My favorite element of the novel; however, was the banter between Oberon and Atticus. The human-dog relationship is captured very well here and is almost a wish-fulfillment as the ultimate dog-owner relationship. Their banter, as well as the back-and-forth between Atticus and Coyote made for some good laughs, as did Atticus’s inner dialogue as he told the story to the reader.
This humor balances the high stakes involved when the protagonist might just be a lynch-pin for Armageddon, or rather, Ragnarok. The skinwalkers are nigh-indestructable creatures and as such, aren’t easily defeated, which paves the way for ingenuity on both the part of Granuaile and Atticus. As if Native American spirits and demons weren’t enough, Atticus still has something of a mess to deal with in the form of the vampire Leif, who despite enlisting Atticus’s aid in his vengeance against Thor and the Norse, still has some loose ends requiring attention. The vampires aren’t going away anytime soon.
While I breezed through the first three installments of The Iron Druid Chronicles, I felt the pacing was not as well balanced here in Tricked. There’s almost…just almost a sense that Hearne was trying to cover too many plot points in the novel. On the other hand, for a 350 page novel, the fact that he packed so much into so few pages was pretty impressive.
Tricked might serve as a decent entry point for new readers since Atticus and his crew are indeed starting over after their ‘deaths.’ I get a sense that Hearne has big things in plan for Atticus and Tricked might just be an intake of breath compared to what is facing our Druid power trio down the road.
Hearne is continuing to keep me very entertained with these books – quick, humorous reads with an undercurrent of a larger plot. In other words, The Iron Druid Chronicles continue to be pleasing novels in and of themselves but that also serve a larger story.
© 2012 Rob H. Bedford