This series is what I always wanted the Dresden Files to be. It’s funny and irreverent and action-packed, and it’s filled with interesting characters from a variety of mythological backgrounds. While the Dresden Files are well-loved and theoretically interesting, there’s something about the installments I’ve read so far that falls just a bit flat for me. Whatever that mysterious lack is, the Iron Druid Chronicles don’t suffer the same fate. This makes three out of three books that I’ve read thus far in the series that have all been a delight.
Atticus is charming and funny and is always getting into trouble on a cosmic scale. He’s my favorite male main character I’ve come across in the Urban Fantasy genre, and I don’t see his throne being usurped anytime soon. His Celtic background is fascinating, as are all of his relationships with deities from various pantheons as well as other mythical or magical beings. I love how mythologies from across the globe intermingle in these books.
As in all of these books, Atticus is faced with a challenge that he’d rather not deal with. In this case, that challenge is killing Thor. Not that he has anything personally against Thor, mind you, but it seems as though literally everyone else does. Including Atticus’s friends and others to whom he owes various favors. So Atticus finds himself on a suicide mission with a vampire, a werewolf, and three other odd men of varied magical backgrounds, including an off-brand thunder god. This group of manly men spend a good chunk of the book telling stories around a campfire; namely, they’re telling stories of why they each want Thor dead. This storytelling segment was very different, and I really enjoyed it.
Some of my favorite aspects of this book took place during the first half. In the first few chapters, while Atticus is on a scouting trip to Asgard, Ratatosk is present. That giant squirrel is hilarious, and he’s made even mores by Luke Daniels’ narration; the voice Daniels used for the squirrel was basically the voice of Gollum, which made every word that came out of his mouth that much funnier. Also, regarding the narration, there was a point in the beginning where Atticus was imagining Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock as angels of emotion and logic on his shoulders, and Daniels’ impressions of them (especially William Shatner as Kirk) were spot on. Oberon remains my favorite character in the series, and his humor was spot on in this book. My least favorite part of Atticus’s Thor-hunting excursion was Oberon’s absence, even though I was glad he wasn’t around to possibly die a horrible death on the fields of Asgard. Speaking of Asgard, Hearne’s presentation of the Frost Giants was also hilarious. Aforementioned group of manly men singing “It’s a Small World After All” to take their minds off of the Frost Giant sex they inadvertently witnessed was priceless.
If I enjoyed this book so much, why am I only giving it 4 stars instead of a full 5? There’s one main reason: the action scenes. For some strange reason, I often have a problem staying invested during major action scenes, and that’s exactly what happened here. I just wasn’t connecting. That’s not Hearne’s fault, but it did affect my enjoyment of the story.
So far, I really love this series. The books are short and funny and fast-paced, which is exactly what I’m looking for when I pick up an Urban Fantasy series. I highly recommend the Iron Druid Chronicles both to those who love UF and those who have hesitated to dip their toes into the genre. It’s a great place to start.