Tricked by Kevin Hearne

(2012-05-29)

Del Rey, April 2012   
ISBN 978-0-345-53362-3      
Mass Market Paperback, 368 Pages   
http://www.kevinhearne.com 
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

<div style="text-align: justify;">Mark returns to the weekly Tuesday reviews-at-SFFWorld post, joining me in his usual spot.

 

You folks know the drill by now, I give a bit about each book, insert the cover image and link to the review. 

 

Mark reviewed one of the most anticipated fantasy releases of the year<a href=http://www.sffworld.com/brevoff/846.html><I>The King’s Blood</A></I>, the second novel in <a href=http://www.danielabraham.com/>Daniel Abraham</A>’s  <B>The Dagger and The Coin</B> sequence: <a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://www.sffworld.com/brevoff/846.html"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 316px; height: 480px;" src="http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/_images/ISBNCovers/Covers_Enlarged/9780316080774_388X586.jpg" alt="" border="0" /></a>

 

<B>

After the set up of Book One, things here start to move into new positions. The Apostate is revealed (if it wasn’t already known) as a major character from Book One. Captain Marcus Wester is now at work in his new job, working with his friend Yardem Hane for Magistra Cithrin bel Sarcour and the Medean Bank in Porte Oliva. Cithrin herself is struggling with the restrictions she agreed to in order to keep her position in the Bank in Book One, now working under Pyk Usterhall, a stern notary from the Bank to ensure her transactions are in the traditions of the Medean.

 

 

Like an expert chess match, key pieces start to move into place this time around. Some of the actions the characters take are interesting and not what might be expected. The characters themselves become much more developed this time around. We learn more of Wester’s and Cithrin’s past, and we start to get more details of the dragons of the past. Geder in particular is, by turns, thoughtful, scholarly and violent as he reluctantly adjusts to his new position. Throughout the book there’s some life-changing decisions made, life-altering consequences and some major betrayals.</B>

 

As I said, the running theme here at the blog lately seems to be <a href=http://www.KevinHearne.com>Kevin Hearne</A> burst onto the scene last year with the first three installments of <B>The Iron Druid Chronicles</B> in successive months.  The latest installment, <a href=http://www.sffworld.com/brevoff/847.html><I>Tricked</A></I>, published in April and my review for it went up at SFFWorld today:

 

 

 

<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://sffworld.com/brevoff/847.html"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 316px; height: 480px;" src="http://img2.imagesbn.com/images/151120000/151126507.JPG" alt="" border="0" /></a>

 

<B> 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.

 

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.</B>

 

 

 

</div>

 

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