My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked up Hounded as part of a 3 in 1 from the SF book club partially because of the blurb and I know at least one friend who enjoyed it. It was hard to resist the allure of a 2000 plus year old druid. Atticus O’Sullivan has been around a good long time, surviving as a young man due in part to the favor of a goddess but mostly due to the magic he has tattooed into his skin and wears around his neck in the form of a cold iron amulet. The world building here is very good. Atticus (not his originally name naturally) draws energy from the earth and uses his amulet and tats to do his magic and it was hard earned magic. For instance, it took him over seven centuries to come up with some of it and bind iron to his aura.
Back when he was Siodhachan O Suileabhain, a druid priest in the storied Irish Wars, he stole away a god-hewn sword, Fragarach, the answerer, from an unworthy general and he has been hounded by the Tuatha DeDanann ever since. Atticus finally settled for some time in the Arizona desert in Tempe, running a bookstore/tea shop because Arizona lacks a lot of the things the old gods need to materialize (and he rather likes Coyote). His companion is Oberon a nearly wild Wolfhound who can converse mentally with Atticus.
Atticus gets a visit from the Morrigan to warn him to start fleeing again because Bres and Aenghus Og, the husband and brother respectively of the goddess Brighid, are after his life and the sword. Atticus is tired of running. Tempe is going to be his last stand. With the Morrigan’s help and that of other goddesses, a vampire and a werewolf pack just to name a few, Atticus takes the fight to Aenghus Og.
I did like it. Of course it did have the snark that has become mandatory in urban fantasy. No love triangles (yet) since mostly he sleeps with everyone. Atticus might be a touch too good to be true but not so much that I was rolling my eyes and thinking, oh give me a break. That’s the problem with ancient magical beings. What bothered me most was Oberon. Admittedly I’m not a fan of talking animals. I’m just not. That said, I didn’t have a huge problem with it other than he talked too intelligently, too human like with too human concerns. I would have preferred simpler dialogue and more of an animal mentality. Also I did find Oberon’s desire for French poodles wince-worthy. That is such an old cliché. If he had wanted French Bulldogs I wouldn’t have thought much of it. But these are minor details. This book contains the next two in the series and I’m looking forward to reading them.
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