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I Belong


Review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Title: Hammered

Author: Kevin Hearne

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles (Book 3)

Publication Date: July 5, 2011

Format: Paperback, 336 Pages

ISBN-10: 0345522486 (Del Rey Books)

ISBN-13: 978-0345522481 (Del Rey Books)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully – he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plane of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.

Quick & Dirty: A plot that is dark, bloody and humorous, Hammered is an enjoyable read.

Opening Sentence: According to popular imagination, squirrels are supposed to be adorable.

Excerpt: Yes

Review:

Kevin Hearne has created an amazing world where gods and monsters are real. Vampires, Werewolves, Immortals, Heaven and Hell exist and Atticus O’Sullivan has seen it all. Hammered finds Atticus sneaking into Asgard, preparing for the war against Thor.

Atticus is a two thousand year old Druid. He hasn’t been alive that long by making idiotic choices. He tries as hard as he can to avoid the anger of the gods, but by just being alive he suffers the wrath of some god or other immortal. Thor is one god that has mostly ignored him, but has made other people’s lives hell.

One of the really good qualities of Atticus is that he is a man of his word, and in a time of need he makes an idiotic pact with Liam, a vampire, that needs Atticus’ help to go after Thor for revenge. It is a pact that he will uphold even though he is sure that he will not survive.

Always a loner, Atticus now has two companions that he knows will suffer if he is dead. Oberon an Irish wolfhound is Atticus’ pet dog; they have a telepathic connection to each other. Oberon is hilarious, he often had me laughing out loud, read this book for the dog, although sadly he is missing during a huge chunk while Atticus is in Asgard. Atticus’ other companion is Granuaile, a beautiful young bartender that has begun an apprenticeship in Druidism. After Atticus returns from his first run into Asgard, he begins to make preparations in the event he doesn’t come back or even worse makes it back with angry gods chasing him for revenge.

“Every man for himself” and “There is no I in team” are two expressions that don’t belong together, yet they are two big themes in Hammered. Atticus teams up with misfit monsters and low level gods, each of whom have a beef with Thor. All of the men are loners, except for Gunner, the Alpha of the werewolf pack in Tempe, Arizona where Atticus currently lives. All of these men do not rely on anyone else, they only rely on themselves to get through life but in order to go up against Thor they must rely on each other and work together.

Not only is the battle with Thor looming on the horizon but there are the stirrings of a turf war in Arizona. Vampires believe the area to be fair game since Liam had been hurt in a previous battle. They want to destroy the peace that the werewolves and witches have gained. Atticus, Liam and Gunner have more than one battle they must contend with, and Atticus is burdened with making sure he can bring them back home alive.

I love mythology and this series is full of it. Kevin Hearne has done an amazing job mixing Druid, Norse, Greek, Finnish folklore and so much more into his story. Major and minor deities, anyone who may have been worshipped at one time or another in any culture could be represented in this series. The gods are real people and they live and interact with the people on Earth. My favorite chapters from Hammered are when the men are about to go into battle and they each tell their stories. Their stories are rich with history, mythology and Thor bashing.

Atticus is written with a wry sense of humor. He often speaks his mind and for such an old man he is most definitely a modern geek at heart.

Overall, Hammered is heartbreakingly good. The action flows seamlessly between Asgard and Earth. The world building sets a gritty and dark atmosphere for the events in this book. The consequences of the actions in Asgard are going to weigh heavily on Atticus and his future. Tricked is the next book in the series.

Notable Scene:

The shouted warning from the trailing riders was too late to save the second Valkyrie on the near side of the V. I sliced through her skull and spine with nothing more than the force of gravity, Fragarach sliding through armor and flesh like scissors through silk. The halves of her body sheared away to either side and showered me in blood. When my feet landed on the flanks of her horse, I knelt and launched myself back up, somersaulting backward and twisting to meet the next Valkyrie in the formation. Thinking it might protect her, she’d raised her shield, but she hadn’t had enough time to process what my sword could do. I slashed through both it and her torso, again springing off her horse’s back to meet the next opponent. This one was far smarter. She just got out of the way, yanking her mount up and to her left, past my reach. I began to fall, and I twisted around to assess the situation. Two down, ten to go formation broken and pursuing me. Whoops, make that nine! A thunderous impact and a flash of steel across my vision showed me a Valkyrie hurtling to earth with a vampire latched on to her neck, her horse plunging fatally to earth with a broken wing. Somehow, Thor had tossed Leif away to let the shieldmaidens of Valhalla tangle with him. But they were no better equipped to deal with an ancient vampire than the god of thunder was.

The Iron Druid Chronicles Series:

1. Hounded

2. Hexed

3. Hammered

4. Tricked

5. Trapped

FTC Advisory: Random House/Del Ray provided me with a copy of Hammered. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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