The Squirrel on the Train by Kevin Hearne

The Squirrel on the TrainThe Squirrel on the Train

by Kevin Hearne
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles/Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries, #2

eARC, 120 pg.
Subterranean Press, 2017

Read: November 2, 2017


Can the magic of The Purloined Poodle be recaptured? Yes — maybe even topped. For many, that should be all I need to write. If that’s the case, you’re fine — go ahead and close this, no need to finish this.

If you’re still here, I’ll write a little more — While on a trip to Portland to go sight-seeing, er, sight-smelling, Oberon, Orlaith and Starbuck get away from Atticus (er, I mean, Connor Molloy) while chasing after a suspicious-looking squirrel. That’s a tautology, I realize, if you ask the hounds, but this was a really sketchy-looking squirrel. Anyway, this brought the group into the path of Detective Ibarra. She happens to be at the train station investigating the odd murder of a man who looks just like Atticus.

Naturally, that gets him interested and investigating things as best as he can. Thanks in no small part to the noses of the hounds, Atticus and an old friend are able to uncover what’s going on to help Atticus’ new friend make an arrest.

It’s a whole story in Oberon’s voice, I don’t know what else I can say about the writing/voice/feel of the book. That says pretty much everything. From Oberon’s opening comparison of the diabolical natures of Squirrels vs. Clowns to Orlaith’s judgment that “death by physics” “sounds like justice” to the harrowing adventure at the end of the novella, this is a fine adventure for “the Hounds of the Willamette and their pet Druid!”

There’s a nice tie-in to some of the darker developments in the Iron Druid Chronicles — that won’t matter at all if you haven’t read that far, or if you can’t remember the connection. This was a good sequel that called back to the previous book, and told the same kind of story in a similar way — but didn’t just repeat things. Just like a sequel’s supposed to be, for another tautology. I smiled pretty much the whole time I read it (as far as I could tell, it’s not like I filmed myself). I don’t know if we get a third in this series given the end of the IDC next year. If we do, I’ll be happy — if not, this is a great duology.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Subterranean Press via NetGalley in exchange for this post — thanks to both for this.

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4 Stars

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Besieged by Kevin Hearne

BesiegedBesieged

by Kevin Hearne
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles, #4.1, 4.2, 4.6, 4.7, 8.1, 8.6

Hardcover, 235 pg.
Del Rey Books, 2017

Read: July 25 – 27, 2017

“Tell me about the old days, Atticus, when you were wee and had to walk both ways uphill in feces because no one had toilets.”

Granuaile’s request for a story around the campfire during her training sets the stage for this collection of stories from The Iron Druid Chronicles, primarily about events that took place prior to the first time we meet Atticus. Thankfully, we don’t get as much fecal matter as she suggests (although, it is there).

We see Atticus in San Francisco during the Gold Rush; in Egypt, annoying that pantheon (and setting the stage for complications in a previously published short story); in London, meeting and influencing a certain Bard of Avon; we also get a bit of post-Tricked action and learn why Atticus doesn’t spend much time in Nebraska. I enjoyed all of these — I don’t know that I got amazing new insights in to any of the characters, it was just nice to see them in low-risk adventures. Time with Atticus and Oberon (and the rest) is almost always time well spent.

Not all of the stories were from Atticus’ perspective. These weren’t as appealing to me, but I did enjoy them. I wasn’t crazy about the story featuring Flidias and Perun — the setting was pretty off-putting for me. Although I did enjoy Perun’s narration and in the end the story won me over. There’s a story from Granuaile’s perspective about enforcing the agreement to rid Poland of vampires. This was the most I’ve liked her since Trapped, which was quite a relief. Of the two stories told from Owen’s perspective, the one set post-Staked worked better for me than the one about his life before he became anyone’s archdruid. I really like watching Owen try to train this group of children while attempting to keep from recreating the mistakes of the past.

I can’t say much about the last story, because it takes place immediately before the series finale, due next year. It whet my appetite for the last book, for sure (not that I needed it) — and reminded me that I might need to keep a supply of Kleenex handy.

Not as good as a novel, but a satisfying collection of tales in this world. A must for fans — casual or die-hard.

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4 Stars

The Purloined Poodle (Audiobook) by Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels

The Purloined Poodle (Audiobook) The Purloined Poodle (Audiobook)

by Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels (Narrator)
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles, #8.5/Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries, #1

Unabridged Audiobook, 2 hrs, 57 min.
Kevin Hearne, 2016
Read: October 3, 2016


The best and most consistent part of The Iron Druid Chronicles has been Atticus’ Irish Wolfhound, Oberon. Now Kevin Hearne has given us a novella narrated by and starring him, with Atticus in the supporting role. It’s good that he kept the Druid around, because he has the whole opposable thumb thing going for him and can do things like communicate with other people

While playing in a dog park, Oberon stumbles upon a rash of dognappings — the victims are all Grand Champions. Oberon is appalled that such a thing can happen and vows to find the dogs and return them home. He enlists Atticus to assist him (and well, to do most of the work). They spend the next couple of days moving around the country visiting various dog trainers/owners and skirting trouble with the law. While Atticus does the heavy lifting of investigating, Oberon has a lot of fun meeting various Champion dogs — in particular, a Boston terrier named Starbuck.

The interplay between Atticus and Oberon is a lot of fun, but his narration is even better — between the repeated mentions of trying to pull off “the Full Jules” (reciting Ezekiel 25:17 at just the right moment); his summary/slash review of The Great Gatsby (which will forever alter the way I look at the book); Oberon as food critic (his takes on coffee and mustard are highlights); and a repeated tribute to Denis Leary’s best movie, this book was flat-out entertaining. Because it’s by Hearne and featuring Oberon, I assumed I’d enjoy it — I didn’t plan on (but should’ve) cackling by the 7% mark.

I thoroughly enjoyed this as a novella — the story was good enough to justify the time reading, but Daniels doing Oberon’s voice elevates the audio version to something great. Daniel’s Oberon doing a Pickup Truck commercial-voice over killed me — how Luke Daniels could read this whole book in that voice, I’ll never know. It must’ve required a lot of takes and more recovery time than you’d want to think about.

If you’ve read an Iron Druid Chronicle or two, you’ll know how good Oberon can be. Get this — you’ll squee.

—–

4 Stars

Pub Day Repost: The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne

The Purloined PoodleThe Purloined Poodle

by Kevin Hearne
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles, #8.5/Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries, #1

eARC, 112 pg.
Subterranean Press, 2016

Read: August 8, 2016


The best and most consistent part of The Iron Druid Chronicles has been Atticus’ Irish Wolfhound, Oberon. Now Kevin Hearne has given us a novella narrated by and starring him, with Atticus in the supporting role. It’s good that he kept the Druid around, because he has the whole opposable thumb thing going for him and can do things like communicate with other people

While playing in a dog park, Oberon stumbles upon a rash of dognappings — the victims are all Grand Champions. Oberon is appalled that such a thing can happen and vows to find the dogs and return them home. He enlists Atticus to assist him (and well, to do most of the work). They spend the next couple of days moving around the country visiting various dog trainers/owners and skirting trouble with the law. While Atticus does the heavy lifting of investigating, Oberon has a lot of fun meeting various Champion dogs — in particular, a Boston terrier named Starbuck.

The interplay between Atticus and Oberon is a lot of fun, but his narration is even better — between the repeated mentions of trying to pull off “the Full Jules” (reciting Ezekiel 25:17 at just the right moment); his summary/slash review of The Great Gatsby (which will forever alter the way I look at the book); Oberon as food critic (his takes on coffee and mustard are highlights); and a repeated tribute to Denis Leary’s best movie, this book was flat-out entertaining. Because it’s by Hearne and featuring Oberon, I assumed I’d enjoy it — I didn’t plan on (but should’ve) cackling by the 7% mark.

I thoroughly enjoyed this — the story was good enough to justify the time reading, but Oberon’s voice elevates this to something really special. It is now one of my major Life Goals to hear Luke Daniels do the audiobook of this. If you’ve read an Iron Druid Chronicle or two, you’ll know how good Oberon can be. Read this, you won’t be disappointed.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Subterranean Press via NetGalley in exchange for this post — thanks to both for this.
N.B.: As this was an ARC, any quotations above may be changed in the published work — I will endeavor to verify them as soon as possible.

—–

4 Stars

The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne

The Purloined PoodleThe Purloined Poodle

by Kevin Hearne
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles, #8.5/Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries, #1

eARC, 112 pg.
Subterranean Press, 2016

Read: August 8, 2016


The best and most consistent part of The Iron Druid Chronicles has been Atticus’ Irish Wolfhound, Oberon. Now Kevin Hearne has given us a novella narrated by and starring him, with Atticus in the supporting role. It’s good that he kept the Druid around, because he has the whole opposable thumb thing going for him and can do things like communicate with other people

While playing in a dog park, Oberon stumbles upon a rash of dognappings — the victims are all Grand Champions. Oberon is appalled that such a thing can happen and vows to find the dogs and return them home. He enlists Atticus to assist him (and well, to do most of the work). They spend the next couple of days moving around the country visiting various dog trainers/owners and skirting trouble with the law. While Atticus does the heavy lifting of investigating, Oberon has a lot of fun meeting various Champion dogs — in particular, a Boston terrier named Starbuck.

The interplay between Atticus and Oberon is a lot of fun, but his narration is even better — between the repeated mentions of trying to pull off “the Full Jules” (reciting Ezekiel 25:17 at just the right moment); his summary/slash review of The Great Gatsby (which will forever alter the way I look at the book); Oberon as food critic (his takes on coffee and mustard are highlights); and a repeated tribute to Denis Leary’s best movie, this book was flat-out entertaining. Because it’s by Hearne and featuring Oberon, I assumed I’d enjoy it — I didn’t plan on (but should’ve) cackling by the 7% mark.

I thoroughly enjoyed this — the story was good enough to justify the time reading, but Oberon’s voice elevates this to something really special. It is now one of my major Life Goals to hear Luke Daniels do the audiobook of this. If you’ve read an Iron Druid Chronicle or two, you’ll know how good Oberon can be. Read this, you won’t be disappointed.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Subterranean Press via NetGalley in exchange for this post — thanks to both for this.

—–

4 Stars

Hexed (Audiobook) by Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels

HexedHexed (Audiobook)

by Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels (Narrator)
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles, #2

Unabridged Audiobook, 8 hours and 52 minutes
Brilliance Audio, 2011

Read: June 21 – 22, 2016

This takes place just 3 weeks after Hounded and the dust is still settling. The target on Atticus is bigger than before — funny what a reputation as a god-killer will do to a guy, from attacks to pleas for help, more people than ever want to know where he is.

Last time, I summed up the book with this:

Atticus finds himself in even more trouble–this time there’s a very nasty coven that wants to come in and take over the Tempe area–and their first step will be eliminating all other magic practitioners.

So our hero has to suck up his prejudice against witches and team up with the very same group that threatened him last time out to defend the home turf and maybe even clean up some long unfinished business.

which pretty much holds up.

The couple of additions I’d make are that I loved Coyote, and had totally forgotten that he appeared so early in the series. I miss Mr. Semerdjian — and while I understand why Hearne took the steps he did to prevent us from getting the nosy neighbor in every book, I sort of regret it after getting reacquainted with the character. Another thing that I’d forgotten about, but really enjoyed (probably more than I should’ve) is the scene where Atticus has to go all Three Stooges with the policemen and his camouflaging of his sword, some baseball bats and himself. Seriously funny, while juvenile, stuff.

Speaking of funny, it’s dangerous to listen to these at work — there were at least two times that Oberon’s commentary made me laugh out loud. Thankfully, none of the people who work next to me were at their desks either time, or I’d have gotten a few looks. Just a warning to anyone thinking of it — you may look silly.

Luke Daniels delivers again — he’s so good at this that I’m thinking of shopping for something by him just to hear him read. The only complaint I have is that his Mr. Semerdjian sounds too much like a high-pitched Oberon. Which is just weird, and probably not something that either character would enjoy. Daniels’ Coyote, and the speech patterns Atticus adopts while talking with him are fantastic.

A great edition of a solid sequel.

—–

4 Stars

Hounded (Audiobook) by Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels

Hounded AudiobookHounded (Audiobook)

by Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels (Narrator)
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles, #1

Unabridged Audiobook, 8 hours and 11 minutes
Brilliance Audio, 2011

Read: April 26, 2016


Keeping this brief so I can catch up on other things, I posted a few quick thoughts about the book previously — and that still covers most of my thoughts:

It took no time at all for this book to grab me, and another 15 pages for me to fall in love with this. Right off the bat we get a solid action sequence, get the basics of our hero’s magic system, and meet a goddess. Not a bad start–it helps a lot that Atticus’ personality and charm comes through right away and draws you in.

Then we get a talking dog. Technically a dog (Oberon the Irish Wolfhound) that can communicate telepathically with Atticus, but why get picky? Oberon’s snarky, smart and pop culturally savvy–he runs a close second behind Harry Dresden’s Mouse for coolest pooch in Urban Fantasy. I’d be willing to read a book that’s nothing but Atticus and Oberon hanging out.

Throw in a helpful werewolf pack, a friendly vampire, a troublesome local coven, and a fight with an ancient Celtic deity and you get yourself a dynamic intro to what seems to be one of the best Urban Fantasy series around.

From the point of view of someone who’s read book 8, going back to the beginning like this was a lot of fun. I could see the development in Atticus, Laksha and others (even Oberon — who is now cooler than Mouse), got to see dearly departed friends (like spoiler and other spoiler), and could see a lot of seeds being planted that are still bearing fruit. It was also nice to be reminded why I used to like Granuaile.

So, I guess I should focus on Luke Daniels’ narration. It was great — I’m not crazy about his interpretation of Oberon, but it has an undeniable charm (that goes beyond the incredible amount of charm that Hearne gave him). His characterizations of each everyone are strong — even the accents. In particular, his Widow MacDonagh made me laugh, even after repeated exposure to her (read the book at least two times, and now listened to the audiobook twice).

It’s a fun listen with some great characters — and the beginning of one of my favorite ongoing series. If you’ve still happened to miss The Iron Druid Chronicles, this is a great way to dive in.

—–

4 Stars