***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
It isn't often that I find a book that I truly believe deserves a five star rating, a book with well-rounded and intriguing characters, a page-turning plot and no obvious little quirks to irritate me as I read. Hexed is one such book. While I recommend reading Hounded before reading Hexed, it's not completely necessary and the second book in the Iron Druid series blows the first one away.
In this story Atticus, the 2100 year old druid in a 21 year old's body is facing a whole new future after having killed his long time rival Aenghus Og in the previous novel. He doesn't have to fear the Celtic pantheon chasing him down anymore and thinks he can finally really plant roots and find peace. Unfortunately for him, but fortunate for readers of this series, he's wrong. Pantheons from all over the world are approaching him to warm him not to mess with them while trying to sick him other pantheons, there are still demons on earth contracted to kill him and since he weakened the coven of The Sisters of the Three Auroras by taking half the coven out in Hounded, other dangerous magical groups are crossing into his little territory in Arizona and gunning to take him out of it. He faces not only a fallen angel from hell, but a group of super-strong Bacchants, a coven of German witches called the Daughters of the Third House, and some Kabbalistic priest from a group called the Hammers of God. To make matters worse, when one of his battles becomes a little too public the police are on his tail and he's got to find a way to shake them while still taking out all the bad guys they can't even begin to comprehend, let alone handle. Even without a Celtic god out to kill him in this book, the stakes are higher and the dangers more intense.
Except for the already almost perfect character of Oberon, the mind-talking dog, this book shows a lot of character growth in almost every character. Granuaile, the somewhat naive apprentice he agreed to take on in the first book begins to show signs of higher intelligence and strength. She stands up to Atticus when she thinks he might be wrong and does her best to support him in whatever ways she can if he needs her. If she continues to grow with each book in the series I look forward to seeing what she becomes by the time the series has reached its conclusion.
Atticus begins to show a little bit more grudging respect toward the Coven of The Sisters of the Three Auroras when he enlists their help to taken on the other coven of witches invading their territory after those witches attack him in the widows home. While he does reveal a lot more about his past to begin to make you understand why he hates witches so much it's nice to see him starting to view the witches as individuals rather than showing prejudice against the group as a whole.
The Morrigan actually start to show some signs of emotion when she helps him to regrow his ear and then makes an actual effort towards becoming his friend. Before this they shared a shaky truce, and you wondered throughout Hounded if she was really on his side or not. In Hexed it becomes clear despite her manipulating ways she kind of actually cares about what happens to Atticus. While I never expect the death goddess to become warm and fuzzy, it's nice to see that she does have a somewhat softer side.
My absolute favorite character changes though were in that of the Sisters of the Three Auroras when they came to Atticus's side to help fight the evil German coven. Malina and her sisters showed some real a##kicking power in that battle and I hope to see more of that in future novels. Atticus may not completely trust the coven yet, but they proved themselves to be valuable allies in that battles and I think Hearne has actually created some female characters equal to Atticus in power and honor.
As you read through this second book in this series, you see that the difference between the female characters in this book and the previous ones was tremendous and as a female reader you can't help but cheer on the new powerful, honorable female characters he's brought to the table in Hexed.
While my review can't even begin to show you how much of wonderful read this book is any reader, of Urban fantasy would definitely be missing something if they passed over this page turner in a book store. What's really wonderful about Hearne's books is that while there is a greater story arc and a larger danger that plagues Atticus throughout the book, within that story there are smaller dangers leading to almost constant action on every page. It's like reading multiple stories packed into an exciting larger story. I for one am greatly looking forward to Hammered when it comes out in July.
My only complaint, and it isn't a very important one, is when writing a review I have to constantly look up how the names of characters are spelled in these novels because Hearne doesn't employ characters named Joe and Bob that everyone remembers how to spell. lol. But then again that's just me and it's not really a complaint. I'm very grateful to the writer for offering this book in a Goodreads giveaway that I was fortunate enough to win. If I hadn't I might have missed the excellent characters and plots of the Iron Druid series since he wasn't a writer I was previously familiar with. Now I can guarantee I won't miss any of his other works....Continua