Hammered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 3 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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BOOK 3 IN THE IRON DRUID CHRONICLES
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 plain 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.
Don’t miss any of Kevin Hearne’s phenomenal Iron Druid Chronicles novels:
HOUNDED | HEXED | HAMMERED | TRICKED | TRAPPED | HUNTED | SHATTERED | STAKED
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 36 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 05, 2011|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #4,596 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#56 in Urban Fantasy
#60 in Contemporary Fantasy
#100 in Paranormal Fantasy
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Top reviews from the United States
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Hearne can write, and the stories are entertaining enough for a quick read. The books are heavily derivative of Jim Butcher's Dresden series, and there's a lot of very obvious borrowing going on (examples: the charms O'Sullivan draws on vs Harry's charged jewlery; Harry's skull Bob vs Oberon the hound), but Butcher is able to flesh out his characters a bit more over the series, while Hearne's characters remain pretty much inscrutable. Hearne doesn't give us enough character development to allow us to get a real feel for the characters' motivations. For example, the main character is a Druid and a protector of Gaia, but at the same time he could be characterized as a sociopath who would kill a person in a heartbeat and not think twice about it. Yet we don't find out why he's like that, except that the guy's been around for over 2 thousand years and so perhaps he just doesn't care about regular mortals any more.
Despite the lack of deep character development, I found these books humorous, enjoyable, and the plot moves briskly.
I also found these books to be somewhat educational - for example, several parts of the series talk about the gods of different cultures (you can see Gaiman's influence in here as well, as the gods are still around because people still worship them or remember them). However, not all bits are accurate so be sure to check them out before quoting them. One admittedly minor sentence that was wrong but that stuck out for me was a causal line about Orvis, a chain of fishing/outdoorsy stores: Mr. Hearne, you may have seen these stores in England, but Orvis isn't British, it's American: According to Wikipedia, "Charles F. Orvis opened a tackle shop in Manchester, Vermont, in 1856." Again, I'm nitpicking here and this only stuck out for me because I'm a fly-fisherman.
This series is not suitable for young children, as there are many sexual references and a lot of graphic violence.
Instead he decides to write a detailed account of Atticus with Asgard while leaving the characters we love behind on earth, leaving us to labor through ridiculous imaginary conversations amongst Cpt. Kirk, Spock, and Attitcus. And yeah, I'm not a Trekkie, but I do have some Trek-sense. Spock would not be much into cursing. "It's just not logical."
Anyway, this book was exactly what I expected would happen: that Hearne would jump the shark. So now I feel like Padme: "Hearne, you're taking me to place that I cannot go" - a ridiculous line for a ridiculous book.
A couple of things stood out to me in this book, in particular, with reference to the rest of the series. First, there was a LOT of mental dialogue between the POV character (Atticus) and his dog, Oberon. This has been a feature of this series in the past. I think most of this mental dialogue was funnier in this volume (actually made me giggle a bit) but it also served to further the story, especially towards the end.
Second, there was a lot of discussion of male bonding and manliness. I could take this or leave it. Some of Atticus's mental commentary on what men will do in order to appear "manly" in front of other men was funny. Some of it was a little tiresome (mostly later on, after I felt like I'd read the same jokes multiple times).
There is a scene where the characters who are on a quest together in this book give their reasons for hating the Norse thunder god Thor. This is supposed to help them bond (which is needed for the magical aspects of a phase of the journey they're on). And we learn lots of interesting information about their backgrounds -- including the backgrounds of several recurring characters in the series. But I don't really feel like I connected with any of them. I guess because the reasons they hated Thor were kind of predictable. Or perhaps because each story was told in just a few pages, whereas we've had several books to get to know Atticus. While this maybe didn't contribute to character development as much as I would have liked, it *did* contribute a great deal to worldbuilding. We learn more about other pantheons and mythologies besides the Irish, we learn about the origins of vampires and werewolves and their politics in the world of this series, etc.
The pace in this one is excellent. There aren't really any slow moments. Even a visit to a bar with an old friend turns into a big scene. And while Atticus has his triumphant moments, he can't keep himself safe all the time and he can't save all his allies. He is less of a male Mary Sue in this book than in the first (and perhaps at a similar level as in the second).
I'm not sure how I felt about the ending. It was sort of bittersweet. And there was something of a cliffhanger that I really hope gets resolved. (I'm glad multiple other volumes are already out and that Mr. Hearne writes quickly with little lag between books.)
I wasn't enthralled with every aspect of this book, but I did find it to be an entertaining read. The pace was great, the worldbuilding was nice (both the part I've mentioned above and some parts relating to elementals that I haven't yet discussed), and I found the jokes to be funnier than in previous books. I'm pretty sure I've already bought #4 in the series (or if I haven't, I'll be doing that soon). If you are already into this series, you'll already have a good idea of what to expect with this book. If you're new to the series, go back and start with "Hounded" (#1).
Top reviews from other countries
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.