Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book One
by Kevin Hearne
narrated by Luke Daniels
To be frank, I picked up the audiobook of HOUNDED because it’s a book about a druid. I love Celtic mythology, even if I don’t know a whole lot of it, and the idea fascinated me. I expected to enjoy it. I did not expect to love it… but I was wrong. I did love it.
Looking at the cover, I kinda thought this would be a book aimed at young men. The cover image certainly looks more YA than anything. And yet, I can’t say that this is a YA book. It’s more along the lines of “old” YA, before YA was a thing. Or to put it better – this is a YA book in the same way that THE HOBBIT or THE HARPER HALL TRILOGY are YA books. Meaning that they aren’t – but neither are they overly sexualized the way so many books are these days. (There is sex, but it’s not written in a way that makes it seem taboo. Highly appropriate way of handling it, since the main character is a druid from the Iron Age.)
Anyway, again I was wrong. This is a book for all ages and all genders. It’s a fun romp through a contemporary world that includes vampires, werewolves, witches, fairies (not the Disney kind, though), and a druid, as well as the normal clueless people that we already know exist. Perhaps the best character in the book, though, is the dog. Oberon is a more intelligent dog than some people I know, and since his owner is a druid, they can communicate easily. And Oberon has the best lines, hands down.
HOUNDED is a great blend of action and comedy, with a good dose of mythological history thrown in. And the presentation of the audiobook is wonderful. The reader, Luke Daniels, portrays Atticus (the druid) with a combination of wry humor and deadly seriousness, depending on what is needed. And as near as I can tell, his pronunciation of all the Gaelic words is darn good. Certainly better than me reading it to myself and trying to make sense of the text on the page. Luke also does a mean Polish accent, and can handle both male and female characters (not to mention canine) with ease.
I look forward to devouring the rest of the series, though I do plan on listening to them instead of attempting to read them myself. This is a wonderful series, and a nice change from the more romancey-elements of my usual fare.