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[Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles] [By: Kevin Hearne] [June, 2014] Paperback – June 17, 2014
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Top reviews from the United States
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It feels as though the entire novel was background material for a real novel. Instead of building up with character development the epiphany of a major character which should have been the most emotionally engaging point of the novel was a rushed, dry, two dimensional blurb buried in an action sequence ... when the blow by blow account of a battle is more engaging than a major inflection point in the emotional character development of the most important character of the series ... well underwhelming is the nicest way I can put it.
For another authour I would have given this three stars but given that this authour has spent six books showing that he can do so much better I was actually tempted to give it one star. Partly because it falls so far short of the six previous books and partly because it is uneven and two dimensional it was a real effort to finish and in the end it didn't feel as though the effort paid off.
The only way this book is worth reading is if it sets up the next book and the writing in the next book shows the quality that made me buy this one without thinking. Even if, or maybe especially if, the next book is good I suggest skipping this one and just read the prelude or a plot summary online. That way you can enjoy his writing and the characters will not lose their grip on your imagination while you slog through book 7.
First of all, the pace is toned down a bit from the previous book (which was a nonstop run-for-your-life kind of novel). There was still action and there were a lot of good fights in this one, but there were some of the scenes of everyday life that I've come to enjoy in this series, as well.
We have a new character in this book, Owen Kennedy, who was Atticus's (the "Iron Druid" of the title) archdruid many (many) years ago. His introduction to the modern age is a highlight of the book for me (well, it's more a series of smaller events). Owen is one of the three viewpoint characters and one of his chapters has one of the funniest paragraphs I've read in a book in a long time (it's the one about getting a pet monkey instead of a dog and I'll say no more -- except that someone who had not read any of these books, when shown only that paragraph, also laughed).
Atticus gets Owen settled (kind of) and then goes off on a quest to find who is sending various divinities after him and why. He does get his answer, and it ties back into something that happened in the very early books of the series. I like his interactions with various deities; we are introduced to some belief systems (including Shinto) that haven't appeared in previous volumes.
And Granuaile is off to solve a mystery of her own: the disappearance of her father on an archaeological dig in India. This ends up tying in nicely to the overall story arc, plus I like that Granuaile is considered *able* to go off on her own -- she doesn't need protection from a man. She has been trained and bound to the Earth as a Druid and is considered fully capable. In Granuaile's storyline, we are introduced to some of the Hindu pantheon, as well.
At any rate, I think all the main characters' sections are interesting and do a reasonably good job of balancing the current quest along with advancing the overall story arc.
This book is a little unique among volumes in this series in that it has a theme outside of all the plot events, that of coping with loss. In the previous volume, the Morrigan died and Atticus and others are coping with that. Owen comes back to realize that everyone he knew (except Atticus) is long dead. Granuaile deals with issues involving both her parents. Even Orlaith, Granuaile's dog, has a little bit to say on the matter. And Greta the werewolf also has some comments about loss. It's interesting that this all came to a head at once. And each character deals with it in his or her own way. (Owen has some downright sensible words on the subject.) It's not just loss of relationships, but the consequences of making a choice (say, to become a werewolf or Druid) that is discussed. But it's well-integrated into the story and not at all preachy.
Worldbuilding is consistent with previous volumes in the series, as is writing style. The series' characteristic humor is present, and of course Atticus's dog Oberon has a lot of interjections for comic relief. If you liked these elements before, you'll like them again. They don't radically change.
The only aspect I wasn't totally sold on was the alternation in viewpoints. Each of the main characters had a number of POV chapters. I didn't monitor these to see who got the most page time. I didn't think the split was too uneven. And I didn't hate any of the viewpoints; I actually found them all interesting (wanted to read everything, didn't want to skip to new sections of the story). The problem I had was that it was often hard to tell which character's head we were in, when a new scene opened. All of them were in first-person POV, which is fine, but it was jarring to think I was reading something from Granuaile only to realize it was Owen, for example. It wasn't always easy to tell from the context of the first few lines.
I liked the conclusion as well. There were some surprises, some things I did not expect. But they didn't come out of nowhere -- their foundations were well-laid in this and previous volumes. Overall, though, this was a fun book and I can't wait for the next one. 4.5 stars.
Top reviews from other countries
Atticus’ old archdruid, who was frozen in time by the Morrigan on Tír na nÓg, for the last 2,000 years, has been resurrected, so to speak. Owen, as he is now known, is a fun character with his grumpy ways and Old Irish cussing. Atticus’ attempts to acclimatize Owen, and bring him up to date with the world he now finds himself in, are hilarious and I love the interaction between the two of them. Owen very quickly becomes an integral part of the story.
Although I’m not generally a huge fan of multiple points of view, in this instance the threefold narration works because Owen, Atticus and Granuaile are in different places a lot of the time. It adds immensely to the development of each character too while they are independent of each other. Atticus has matured and his principles, compassion and wisdom have grown accordingly.
Granuaile travels to India after a message from Laksha, and from there to the Himalayas to meet the hockey loving Yeti (amazing!) She faces difficult problems without Atticus for the first time, with terrible consequences. The scenes with Granuaile and her father, and then her mother too, are so well written the emotion is just palpable.
I love the addition of Orlaith, I’m glad it’s time for Oberon to have a companion. And, of course, Oberon and the interaction between him and Atticus, is as funny and entertaining as ever.
Atticus discovers who his unknown enemy is and it’s a shock, to say the least, for all concerned. There’s a huge all out battle with several fatalities. But also a lot of introspection from the gods, druids and the Tuatha Dé Dannan, about mistakes made, opportunities missed and decisions taken. The conclusion and the epilogue sets the scene nicely for the next book.
Luke Daniels’ narration is an absolute pleasure to listen to, with all the amazing characterisations…and there are lots of them. It must be a feat in itself to keep them all in order. Nevertheless they are all carried out with assurance and skill, incorporating the humour of the writing. Extremely entertaining.
Five seconds on Google informs me that 20% of Indians are vegetarians, but the author couldn't be bothered to check?
I know it's a long way from Arizona, but do your homework for godsake, basic details that are just wrong break you out of the story 😡
I don't think I will bother with the next part.