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Book Review: Trapped by Kevin Hearne

Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor


Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles has become one of my favorite urban fantasy series.  In a largely female-dominated genre, Hearne is a standout male voice.  His Atticus O’Sullivan is consistently funny and interesting to read.  The books also feature one of my favorite non-human characters: his Irish wolfhound, Oberon, who communicates with Atticus telepathically.  Oberon thinks exactly like I imagine a dog would, continually obsessed with bacon and French poodles.  He’s also the funniest character in the series.  In short, it is an endlessly readable series, and I always find myself eagerly awaiting the next book.  Trapped is the fifth book in the series.

The book description, courtesy of Hearne’s website:

After twelve years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave.

Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge—but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief, who all seem to have KILL THE DRUID at the top of their to-do lists.

This seems to be a transitional book for Hearne.  Twelve years have passed since the last book, and Atticus’s apprentice, Granuaile, has completed her training and is now on the verge of becoming a full-fledged druid.  When I read the description, I worried that the 12-year leap in time would slow down the momentum of the series.  Instead, it allowed Granuaile to go from being merely Atticus’s apprentice—and excess baggage when he had to fight—to more of a full-fledged partner for Atticus.

This also seems like a transitional book in other ways.  A lot of the shit that has been accumulating from Atticus’s actions over the last several books—he has this tendency to kill gods, which is generally ill-advised—finally hits the fan in this book.  It was good timing, because it’ll give Hearne the chance to branch out into some new and different plots over the next several books.

I really only had two issues with the book: first, a lot happens in this book.  That’s not normally a bad thing, but there’s so much going on here that it was sometimes difficult to keep track of who was who and what was going on.  (In fairness, though, I read this book on vacation, so my attention to detail—which tends to be notoriously spotty in the first place—was significantly diminished upon reading this book.)

My second issue is, for me, the bigger one.  I’m going to go ahead and tag this with a gigantic SPOILER WARNING.  (Highlight the paragraph if you want to read it.)

After four books of buildup, this is the book where we finally get to see Atticus and Granuaile get together.  I’m glad that Hearne waiting for this.  Even though romantic tension has been sizzling between the two since the first book, the apprentice/teacher relationship between the two would have made a relationship problematic.  But when it finally does happen, it feels…anticlimactic.  We’ve been building up to this for four books now, but we don’t get to see or experience much of it.  We don’t even see them have sex; it’s a very “fade to black” kind of scene. That might not be so bad, but sex isn’t outside the realm of what Hearne has shown in previous books.  As a woman who digs romance, I felt a bit disappointed.

The Iron Druid Chronicles are consistently entertaining and always readable.  Trapped isn’t the best book of the bunch, but it seems to open up some great new possibilities of what Hearne can do next.  I, for one, can’t wait to read the next book.

I received this book as an e-ARC from NetGalley.  Trapped is available now.