Reading this series has been among the most fun I’ve ever had reading. Hearne has spun a wonderful tale with an amazing cast of characters. So many of these characters have come to feel like friends and even family. Atticus, our main character, has gotten into some terrible scrapes throughout the series, and everything he’s done comes to a head in this book. The time has come to take responsibility for the many things he has done. It’s a time of Ragnarok and reckoning for Atticus O’Sullivan, and he’s bound and determined to face it alone. He sequesters those he cares about in other corners of the globe with ohterjobs while he faces down the impending end of the world. That decision comes back to bite him, as well.
By this point in the series there are few other names I can mention without even the names themselves being spoilers, but I can mention Oberon. He remains an absolute pleasure to read. I love how Hearne was able to give Oberon such a unique, distinctive voice. Never in any book series have I come across an animal character more vibrant and important to the plot of his story than Oberon. He’s just as important a character as any of the human characters in the series, if not more so. Oberon provides much needed comic relief, and is always a comfort to Atticus. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as present in this book as he has been in previous installments, and that was one of the few things that kept this from being a perfect conclusion to the series.
Speaking of comic relief, Hearne introduced a new character in this book that I would pay money to get some short stories about. Owen, another Druid (I don’t think his name is a spoiler) meets a new friend while in the Amazon. Her name is Slomonomobrodolie, or Slomo for short. In case you couldn’t guess from the name, she’s a sloth. She’s also hands down the most delightful creature I’ve ever come across in literature. She’s a treasure, and Owen sees her as such. He wants to travel the world with her, and I dearly hope that Hearne decides to write down a few of those adventures some day.
I thought I was going to be furious at the ending of the book until the final epilogue (yes, there’s more than one), but thankfully Hearne ended things in a way I could accept. It’s a bittersweet ending. There’s pain and joy intermingled, and the hope of beauty arising from ashes. It was an ending that didn’t leave me satisfied exactly, but I can get behind it. It was actually an ending, which seems like an uncommon thing for the genre. But also, it was a beginning, and I thought there were whiffs of loveliness in it. I really respect what Hearne created with this series, and I think the finished product has more than earned a spot on my favorites shelf.
One final thing I have to say: I can’t recommend the audiobooks for this series enough. Luke Daniels in an auditory treasure, and he more than does these books justice. The variety of voices he utilizes for the characters is amazing, and you can tell as soon as he starts speaking whose perspective we’re getting. This wasn’t just someone reading a book out loud; it was a performance in every sense of the word. If you’ve never tried listening to an audiobook before, this series would be a fabulous entry point.
It’s with a heavy heart that I come to the end of this series. I’ve loved every minute of it, and can honestly say that Kevin Hearne is now among my favorite authors. If you’re looking for a series that will make you laugh out loud and possibly cry just a little bit, look no further. The Iron Druid Chronicles is incredibly entertaining, and you won’t regret picking it up.