Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Release Day Review: Staked by Kevin Hearne

Staked (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #8)
(Iron Druid #8)
Kevin Hearne
Release: January 26, 2016
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Iron Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, hero of Kevin Hearne’s epic New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series, has a point to make—and then drive into a vampire’s heart.

When a Druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he’s bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It’s time to make a stand.

As always, Atticus wouldn’t mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it’s not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki’s mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.

As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won’t come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.
I finally found out why you never want to be Nigel in Toronto! It’s been a running gag throughout the series and now, in the second to last book, Atticus finds himself not only in the last place you’d expect to find him, but doing the last thing you’d expect him to be doing, robbing a bank. And of course he does it in spectacular vault-door-melting, Reservoir-Dogs-referencing Iron Druid style. I loved being back in his world as he tries to defeat the ancient Theophilous and his vampire minions and end their centuries-long war on the Druids.

Archdruid Owen, meanwhile, is buying a house with his girlfriend Greta and planning to train the next generation of Druids. Of course, he does it in his typical grumpy old man style, which I love. But a Druid’s life is never quiet for long, and Owen owes money to some trolls, or possibly all the trolls. His fight with a very unhappy bog troll had me laughing so hard that the dog came to see if I was I okay. But possibly the best thing ever is an entire chapter of Owen and Oberon. If you like their Twitter exchanges you won’t want to miss this.

Granuaile is also off doing her own thing. She wants a little privacy from all the world’s diviners and asks the Polish witches to cloak her. In exchange for the spell, they ask her to locate a missing god and his horse. She gets a little help from Perun, who I always enjoy seeing, and meets a few new gods in the process. But Granuaile is in a dark place, obsessed with getting revenge on her stepfather for both his years of indifference as a parent and his polluting as an oil baron. I don’t remember her being as serious in her tone, or as formal in her speech as she is in the beginning of this book. I felt like she was a bit of a downer, especially when compared to Atticus and Owen.

If it sounds like Staked is telling three separate stories, that’s because it kind of is. I was nearly convinced that the Druid Avengers would never assemble. Their final battle with the vampires is worth wait though. It features some great action scenes and really cool magic, like the beard vs. hair wrestling match you never knew you always wanted.

I had mixed feelings about the end of the book, probably because the characters themselves are having mixed feelings after suffering some losses and disagreeing about their next move. But it starts to feel like an HEA until I remembered that there’s one more book left. There’s still an apocalypse to be averted and a vengeful god to be defeated. I realized that Loki’s plans to start Ragnarok are going to smash that HEA to bits. And I’m okay with that if it means I get to spend more time with Atticus and Oberon.

Recommended for fans of: Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series, The Pax Arcana series by Elliott James

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley



For more on this series:
Read This F-ing Book: The Iron Druid Chronicles

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