Hexed is the followup novel to Hounded, the first book in the Iron Druid Chronicles. I find that with many longer series, the second book tends to be a good deal weaker than the first. A large part of this is due to a successful first novel being optioned into a series, and the author having to find a way to stretch their idea into multiple books, generally far more than a trilogy in the urban fantasy genre. Often, by the third of fourth book the author has found their stride with the series, but this frequently results in a second book that is weak and forgettable.
That might have been the case with this book if not for one thing: the humor. I wasn’t nearly as interested in the lore for the Polish and German witches who featured so prominently in this book as I was in all of the Celtic lore presented in Hounded, but the amount of humor seeded throughout the book kept me reading anyway. There were so many hilarious, nearly slapstick situations packed into the narrative that I could actually overlook my relative disinterest in the main plot line. Also, our main character’s canine friend, Oberon, is even more entertaining than he was in the first book. The dialogues between him and Atticus, and between Atticus and various other side characters, were often so funny that I honestly laughed out loud as I read.
Something I love about these books so far, and the reason I’m looking forward to reading more of the series, is the mix of lore from around the world. Books that serve as a mythological melting pot, such as Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, just make me really happy, and this series shows that promise. While I wasn’t a big fan of the Eastern European witchcraft lore around which most of the plot was based, I loved the additions of the Native American god Coyote, the Virgin Mary, and various Celtic goddesses who were present in the first book. I also love how much everyone, no matter what pantheon they come from, hates Thor. As the next book is entitled Hammered, I have a sneaking suspicion that this hatred will be addressed soon.
I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as the first, but I did really appreciate the humor. This is for sure a series worth reading if you like funny urban fantasy.