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Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles) Mass Market Paperback – July 5, 2011
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“A page-turning and often laugh-out-loud-funny caper through a mix of the modern and the mythic.”—Ari Marmell, author of The Warlord’s Legacy
When the naysayers say, “Nay, don’t mess with the man who wields the lightning bolts,” ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan would nod along and agree. But when multiple people convince him that Thor, the Norse god of thunder, needs to get got, he thinks maybe this is the one time he should ignore the advice of the wise—even if those sages include deities who tend not to be wrong about very much.
Because Thor has undeniably done somebody wrong—many somebodies, in fact, and Atticus doesn’t think he can simply dismiss it as someone else’s problem. Plus he has made promises that he doesn’t feel he can break, promises that will take him away from Midgard to the planes of the Norse, where his actions will create ripples throughout the nine realms.
On top of that there’s a turf war brewing amongst the vampires, a zealous group of mystic hunters called the Hammers of God running rampant, and a pack of werewolves who very much don’t wish to see their leader taken off to Valhalla.
In order to avoid being the nail underneath the hammer Mjöllnir, Atticus will need every ounce of Irish luck he can muster, and maybe the help of a few deities in his corner.
Don’t miss any of The Iron Druid Chronicles:
HOUNDED | HEXED | HAMMERED | TRICKED | TRAPPED | HUNTED | SHATTERED | STAKED | SCOURGED | BESIEGED
“[Kevin] Hearne is a terrific storyteller with a great snarky wit. . . . Neil Gaiman’s American Gods meets Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden.”—SFFWorld
“[The Iron Druid books] are clever, fast-paced and a good escape.”—Boing Boing
“Hearne understands the two main necessities of good fantasy stories: for all the wisecracks and action, he never loses sight of delivering a sense of wonder to his readers, and he understands that magic use always comes with a price. Highly recommended.”—The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
“Superb . . . plenty of quips and zap-pow-bang fighting.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Celtic mythology and an ancient Druid with modern attitude mix it up in the Arizona desert in this witty new fantasy series.”—Kelly Meding, author of Chimera
“[Atticus is] a strong modern hero with a long history and the wit to survive in the twenty-first century. . . . A snappy narrative voice . . . a savvy urban fantasy adventure.”—Library Journal
“A page-turning and often laugh-out-loud funny caper through a mix of the modern and the mythic.”—Ari Marmell, author of The Warlord’s Legacy
“Outrageously fun.”—The Plain Dealer
“Kevin Hearne breathes new life into old myths, creating a world both eerily familiar and startlingly original.”—Nicole Peeler, author of Tempest Rising
About the Author
Kevin Hearne hugs trees, pets doggies, and rocks out to heavy metal. He also thinks tacos are a pretty nifty idea. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles, the Ink & Sigil series, and the Seven Kennings series, and is co-author of The Tales of Pell with Delilah S. Dawson.
- Publisher : Del Rey (July 5, 2011)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0345522486
- ISBN-13 : 978-0345522481
- Item Weight : 5.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.15 x 0.85 x 6.85 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #705,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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SABINA: I blame Laurie for getting me hooked on the Iron Druid Series. Actually, I should thank her, and if my delicious chocolate cookies would make it through customs, she would DEFINITELY get some! ;-)
LAURIE: HA! You are such a tease. I keep being promised foodie treats. I'll just have to wait til you come visit me and I'll chain you in the kitchen, supply you with books and groceries and eat the plunder. Sorry, go back to writing your review. Besides, you have nothing to complain about, you love this series as much as I do!
SABINA: Hmm, maybe I just have to postpone my trip to the states... :-) Try and explain that in the airport; "reason for visiting?" "Uhmmm, restrained to my friends kitchen to bake, read and...why are you looking at me like that?!"
No, seriously, it is no hardship to love this series, believe me. I'll admit it does take me some time to read the books, but that's `course I like them and don't want to misunderstand things - just like I usually don't rush through Suzanne McLeod's books. Sometimes you can devour books - sometimes you just can't let go and you enjoy the story the author has to tell and you really don't want it to end.
In Hammered, Atticus is forced to keep a promise he made to Lakasha - to steal an apple. But not just any plain, old apple. No, it HAS to be one of Idunn's golden apples. Idunn is a Nordic goddess - an Asa. So Atticus goes to Asgaard to steal an apple. But his journey is not going to be unnoticed. And what the hell do you do when you're face to face with the All Fader - Odin himself? I'll let a little spoiler go right now: Atticus makes a big mess in Asgaard, but makes it out of there. In one piece.
But that's not saying he's safe - or the one he loves and cares about is safe. Atticus is warned - from several deities - he should NOT return to Asgaard with his little hunting party, he should NOT help them go after Thor. But Atticus has given his word, and once given, he doesn't want to break it. Promises are to be kept.
But standing in front of not only the thunder god, Thor, but also his father - Odin and other great gods and goddesses and all you have is your wits, your friends and a handful of frost giants, what do you do?
I loved "Hounded" with the Tuatha Dé Danann and I adored "Hexed" with the polish witches and the Bacchants. But with "Hammered", I'm sold. I'm home. I grew up with the story and tales of the Nordic gods and goddesses and I love them. And when one of my favorite authors tells a new and different story with the Norse? Oh boy! :-)
LAURIE: Not to sound too American, but I hadn't thought about that connection. Of course it would resonate with you, my Viking Sistah! I agree, I thought he did a fantastic job. I, for one however, am still in grieving for the Giant Squirrel. He was a fine fellow. Stupid Norn's. (I hope this isn't too spoilerish but it does happen in like the first 10 pages so it would show up in a sample of the book on Amazon).
SABINA: Yes poor Ratatosk!! That wasn't very nice of the Norns! But... Do you think it was the original Ratatosk they killed or a new version?
LAURIE: Oh, I definitely think it is the real thing. Hearn has no problem killing off dieties. Norse Gods don't make out well in his books, however it is usually Atticus killing them off!
SABINA: True! Anyway...There are SO many good things in this book and I will not tell you everything, but I love Kevin Hearne's humor. I mean honestly - how many do you know that in their first book would write "Look Mom, I've made this! Can we put it on the fridge?" on the VERY first page? In Hammered we see SO much more of Hearne's humor and how he made me laugh. Let me tell you a secret: he NAILS male bonding and the way we all think that guys think, PERFECTLY!!!
LAURIE: I think you are right, Sabina. I loved the guys bonding around the campfire and telling stories. I also love the humor in these books. A lot of people compare Atticus to Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden, and being a fan of both series, I see similarities but I think the difference is humor versus snark. I love Dresden, but he is much more snarky as opposed to just straight up funny. Not to say Hearn doesn't know how to write snark, or pathos for that matter as well. Some people very close to Atticus do not make out well in this book, and it was heartbreaking.
SABINA: I almost cried in the end. It was so sad! And I have to agree with the dialog that Atticus has with Hal in the end.
LAURIE: I thought Atticus's conversations with Jesus and Coyote were wonderful as well. You have to tread very careful if you bring Jesus into a fantasy book, if you know what I mean. People will read about Angels, and Satan, and demons and anything else...but you have to be extremely sensitive to how people react if you bring Jesus into the picture and I thought Hearne did a wonderful job. Also the conversation with Coyote was great. You know what a crush I have on Coyote. Love him as a demigod/archetype.
SABINA: Oh I know you do! He's a wonderful character, Coyote!! :-) I love that Kevin Hearne brings the different dieties into the book. He did use Mary in the last one too. It's brilliant!
In the course of two books (HOUNDED and HEXED), writer Kevin Hearne has been subtly shaking things up. And, in HAMMERED, we learn that Atticus's recent actions have fair wrought worlds-shattering consequences. One of the best things about the Iron Druid Chronicles - and there's a lot here that's brilliant - is that Hearne has got this wild, all-inclusive mindset when it comes to building his world mythology. He inhabits it with bickering pantheons from diverse cultures, as well as various cultural folk heroes (like the Coyote who makes another cameo here). In HAMMERED, not only do we get practically the entire Norse divinity but, among others, appearances by the vengeful Roman god of wine, an obscure Slavic thunder god, an immortal Chinese kung-fu master, and the most influential Christian figure of them all (who ends up tossing down a brewski with Atticus).
Hearne deserves massive props for managing to seamlessly fit every character into his sprawling urban fantasy, and for making each one seem friggin' righteous. Those who eventually make up Atticus's strike team all have compelling motivations for being invested to the cause, and we finally learn the vampire attorney Leif Helgarson's ancient beef with the Norse thunder god. In the Iron Druid's reality, Thor absolutely merits a serious smiting. There are several chapters here, each dedicated to one of Atticus's commando team as each member regales the others with how Thor had done him wrong. And, more than in any other chapter, it's in the tragic tale of the forgotten Finnish god Väinämöinen that Thor truly reveals just how much of a thoughtless, brutal asshat he is. Incidentally, in that same chapter, Hearn's writing is so empathetic that he may have you lamenting what befalls a deep sea monster.
In my personal reckoning, Atticus O'Sullivan, by virtue of three ridiculously awesome books, has rapidly become my second favorite character in urban fantasy. He's right up there with Harry Dresden. Atticus is an ancient soul with a wicked sense of humor (although, as I've said time and again, his telepathically-linked Irish wolfhound Oberon is even funnier). Atticus has an intriguing skills set. As a Druid, he derives power directly from the earth. He shapeshifts and converses with the earth's elementals and wields two enchanted swords (and, by the end of HAMMERED, it looks as if he'll have gained a third weapon). His attorneys-on-retainer happen to be a werewolf and a vampire. All this - and other things besides - make Atticus O'Sullivan a force not to be effed with. Except that several friendly gods are advising Atticus against following thru on his mission, citing dire consequences and a prophecy about the world burning in thirteen years' time.
So the stakes are greater in HAMMERED, and irrevocable change wafts in the air and not everyone survives. Atticus is such a fleshed-out protagonist that you feel his distress at possibly having to pull up stakes, at the conflict he goes thru as his sense of self-preservation wars with his compulsion to abide by his oath to help Leif slay Thor. There's a sense of finality in how Atticus goes about putting his contingency plans into effect. The sarcastic humor is still prevalent - partly because Atticus will persist in taunting his foes - but the story soon enough takes on the tone of an epic quest. And when Atticus and crew reenact their own version of Ragnarok on the Norse gods, it is something to behold. Hearne's vivid detailing of the breathtaking battles are so good and visceral that you wish you could see it on cinema, except that, naturally, a film adaptation probably would just bungle it. I only wish that other supporting characters had made a bigger dent in the book - specifically, Oberon and Atticus's gorgeous apprentice, Granuaile - but Hearne was invested in chronicling Atticus's large scale undertaking, and this, I guess, leaves no room and is too perilous for a dog and a lowly student. And we do get to hang out more with the likes of Perun and Zhang Guo Lao, who are amazingly fun characters.
Thankfully, there's already a fourth novel in the works, titled TRICKED, what with Del Rey Books having signed Hearne to three more Iron Druid installments. TRICKED is scheduled for an April 2012 release, but if you can't wait that long, then just punch up "Clan Rathskeller" on the net. It's a holiday-minded short story featuring the Iron Druid, and it takes place ten months before HOUNDED. Odds are that you'll like it.
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Anyhow, this time Atticus is in trouble after making a couple of promises in exchange for help in the previous book. Both involve trips to Asgard. The first, to retrieve a golden apple, is bad enough, and leads to unintended fatalities. The second promise, to his vampire lawyer friend, Leif, is a game changer. He's promised that he will help Leif kill the Norse god Thor. Thor, apparently is a dangerous and destructive arse, and could do with a good killing, so Atticus Leif and Gunnar the werewolf end up with a team, a Russian thunder god, a Finnish magician and a Chinese immortal, all with good reasons to want Thor dead. But you can't go up against one Norse god without going up against the whole pantheon. There's a lot of collateral damage to the denizens of Asgard and Atticus is warned twice that killing Thor will have extremely bad repercussions, but unfortunately the team members are determined to finish the job
I confess I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first two, and I was trying to work out why. Less Oberon, maybe? In places the pacing seems a little slow, and I didn't particularly connect with the new characters in the god-killing team, especially when there's a long break while everyone tells their own story. In previous books Atticus has been defending himself against beings who want him dead, maybe that's why it didn't feel quite right that this time he was going after someone (a god, no less) without a personal grudge. He knows it's not right, but he's made a promise to a friend and he's going to keep it. I presume the next book will deal with the fallout from Atticus and company's trip to Asgard.
You should read the series in order (and it's worth it) but here Atticus fulfils a promise to help his vampire and Werewolf chums kill the legendary Thor. The author has a light and entertaining touch with many modern references (including Star Trek and Neil Gaiman) but the research and thought is also obvious here. Those with strong religious beliefs may be offended (Atticus has lunch with Jesus) but Hearne is very careful not to mock with his take on a world where religions and Gods co-exist and their strength is based on the level of worship (building on Gaiman's American Gods theme).
There are things unresolved here which will make you eagerly anticipate the next in the series.