And so far, that has been the case (at least in my opinion) with The Iron Druid Chronicles.
Atticus O’Sullivan is on the lam with his Druidic apprentice and his faithful hound. The only way to stay safe is to convince the gods of all the pantheons that he’s dead. Really, really dead. To accomplish this without actually dying, he gains the aid of Coyote, the Native American trickster god, and stages a battle royale against thunder gods from multiple pantheons. After basically hacking him to pieces, the whole world is convinced that the last Druid is no more. There’s a downside, through. Now, Atticus owes Coyote a favor. A big one. Unfortunately, nothing is ever straightforward with a trickster god.
There’s so much to enjoy in this book. Character development, setting, mythos, lore, and magic all make for an incredibly compelling story. But as with all of the books in this series thus far, what makes it for me is the humor. Man, these books are funny. Atticus himself is always sassy, which makes him my favorite leading man in any urban fantasy series I’ve found. His apprentice is plenty sassy in her own right, and I love watching her cope with all the crazy stuff she learns through life experiences at the side of the last druid. Hearne has a gift for creating really fun secondary characters, as well.
But my absolute, hands down, very favorite character in the entire series is Oberon, Atticus’s faithful Irish wolfhound. Through their mental link, Oberon is able to express himself and offer his own commentary on current events. Said commentary is what keeps me glued to these books, because it is legitimately laugh out loud funny. I love when an author is able to make an animal a fairly central character in a book, and this is just about the best I’ve seen that characterization handled. Is it cheating to include Oberon with the host of literary animals who are unable to voice their thoughts? Undoubtedly. Do I care? NOPE. Oberon is sarcastic, irreverent, and intelligent. His cultural references (from all that tv he watches while Atticus is at work) are spot on. His love of all things meat and his vendetta against cats and squirrels are just enough to remind readers that he is, in fact, canine. I don’t know how to properly express my love for this fictional hound, but suffice it to say that he’s my favorite aspect of a series I’m loving more and more with each installment.
Something I can’t stress strongly enough: if you aren’t opposed to audiobooks, this series really shines in its audio form. I’ve always preferred the written word to audiobooks, and I always will, but this series is simply a pleasure to listen to. While the books are still great when read in physical form (I read some just to make sure), this is one of the few series I’ve come across that I truly believe is far better in audio form. Luke Daniels does a fantastic job narrating this series, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of my listening experience. I’ve already started the next book!