Kevin Hearne

The Iron Druid Chronicles, book 3

Random House (2011)

ISBN: 9780345522481

Reviewed by Stephanie Gunn

Hammered is the third book in Kevin Hearne’s urban fantasy series, The Iron Druid Chronicles.

Atticus is a two-thousand-year-old druid, the last of his line. He has kept himself alive for an extended period by use of magic and herbs, and by keeping out of the way of gods. In the first book of this series, events transpired that brought him to the attention of too many gods, and he made choices that led to the events in this book, which sees him dealing with Thor, the Norse god of thunder.

This book continues in the same vein as the first two books: the general tone is light and humorous. Unlike the first two books, the reader is given a decent amount of Atticus’ personal back story for the first time, with information given specifically about a lost love of his, paralleling one of the motivating storylines of the book: the slaughter of the vampire Leif’s family by Thor.

Atticus’ voice is less of an issue in this book than it was in previous books – he still doesn’t come across like someone who has lived two thousand years, but he sounds more like it, indicating that Hearne is beginning to find his feet with Atticus a little more. There are several events that are kicked into motion by Atticus being blatantly stupid and arrogant, which makes him a less than likeable protagonist as a result. Even when things go wrong, he never seems to get humbled in the least, which makes him very difficult to relate to.

Thankfully, some of the gender issues which were present in the first two books (where every female was half-naked most of the time, and wanted to sleep with Atticus the rest of the time, powerful goddesses included) – unfortunately, this is because there are very few female characters actually doing anything in this book. It’s all about Atticus and the group he gathers (a vampire, a werewolf and a sorcerer who feels like an amalgamation of every Kung Fu movie stereotype), with some frost giants thrown in for good measure.

This is a popular urban fantasy series, and it is easy to see why. There is plenty of humour, and Hearne weaves a lot of mythology into what is, on the surface, an entertaining tale. At times, however, the plot veers towards the ridiculous, and it feels like none of the characters are grounded deeply enough for the reader to actively care about them, Atticus included. The only character who actually feels real and vibrant on the page is Oberon, Atticus’ dog (who is sadly absent for most of this book).

If you’re looking for sheer entertainment, and you enjoyed the first two books in the series (and are able to look past the gender issues), you’ll probably enjoy this book as well. Like the first two books, there are lots of shoutouts to geek culture that will likely have certain kinds of readers smiling. If you’re looking for deeper urban fantasy, this book and series are likely not for you.

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