Sometimes, I want a fantasy that is a happy medium between the two, something that isn’t dense and has humor, but where there are real stakes to the hardships facing the protagonist. That’s when I turn to Urban Fantasy. Some UF series (and most of them are series) are superior to others. While I like what I’ve read of the Dresden Files and the Hollows series, the Anita Blake series and the Black Dagger Brotherhood soured for me, relying too heavily on sex instead of plot. Then there are series like The Others by Anne Bishop and the Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, both of which I love. So when I start a new UF series, I never know which of those three possible feelings it will inspire in me. Judging from this first book, the Iron Druid series is at least in the “like” category, and I can see that growing into love.
Atticus O’Sullivan is a fantastic UF protagonist. Far older than he appears, he balances between his physical youth and mental maturity with a fair amount of aplomb. He’s the last of the Druids, and a powerful one at that. But that power, along with his unnatural longevity, has ensured that he has more than a few powerful enemies. As with most UF protagonists, he’s constantly on the wrong side of angry beings far more powerful than he is, and he has to protect himself with his wit and a little help from his friends.
My favorite of those friends, and one of the few who isn’t supernatural in some way, is Oberon. Oberon is Atticus’s Irish wolfhound, how can communicate with Atticus via a telepathic link the druid has developed between them. This canine companion provided the lion’s share of the comic relief. He’s well versed in pop culture, and his references mingled with his doggy sarcasm made for a lot of laughs.
Probably my least favorite thing about this book was that the protagonist’s main weakness was his libido. The man needs to simmer down around the ladies, be they goddess or mortal. However, he knows himself, and it’s something that he’s working on, so I can overlook it. Also, that horniness made from some funny moments. So, while this particular aspect of the protagonist's character annoyed me, it be no means hindered my enjoyment.
One last reason that I believe that I enjoyed this book more than some other UF offerings is the lore. There's just something about Irish lore that has always fascinated me, and having that in a 21st century American setting was a lot of fun. Watching the archaic attempting to mingle with modernity was incredibly entertaining, and is a big draw for me continuing with the series.
All in all, this was a really fun book, and I fully intend to continue the series. This is another series with audiobooks narrated by the phenomenal Luke Daniels, which added to my enjoyment.