From the Vault: Hounded, by Kevin Hearne

March 3, 2023 Book Reviews, From the Vault 9 ★★★★½

From the Vault: Hounded, by Kevin HearneHounded by Kevin Hearne
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on April 19, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Purchase: Amazon | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble | Audible | Chirp
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Also in this series: Hexed, Hammered, Tricked, Trapped
Also by this author: Hexed, Hammered, Tricked, Trapped

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power - plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish - to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

Fast-paced, suspenseful, and disarmingly funny

NOTE: I first published this review of 2013, after winning a copy of the paperback in a Goodreads giveaway. I recently listened to the audiobook for the Iron Druid read-along hosted by Anne @ Books of My Heart. I have appended a review of the audiobook at the bottom.

Hearne’s first-person series featuring an urban druid is fast-paced, suspenseful, and disarmingly funny.  Atticus O’Sullivan, the last surviving druid, has lived through 21 centuries, but his appearance is surprisingly youthful, his voice wry, irreverent, and often impudent even when faced with near-certain death.  O’Sullivan’s friend and sidekick, his wolfhound Oberon, is even funnier; he’s obsessed with Genghis Khan and lusts after French poodles (of the female variety.) Oberon’s comments create some of the best comedic moments in the book.

O’Sullivan owns an occult bookstore in Tempe, Arizona, a region almost devoid of fairies (by which he means the Sidhe, or Irish Fae) but populated by a fair number of other supernatural creatures.  Unfortunately for O’Sullivan, his quiet existence is about to be broken: he has attracted the attention, for good or ill, of a number of Irish gods.  Aenghus Óg wants him dead in order to regain the sword Fragarach; the Morrigan, the Irish goddess of war and death, wants him alive; and Flidais just wants him (though like both the Morrigan and Brighid, she has a hidden agenda.)  To make matters worse, the local coven of witches appears to be gunning for him, and pretty soon the Tempe police are after him—or rather, his dog.  O’Sullivan will have to call on all his skill and cunning—not to mention his wolfhound; his day and night lawyers, a werewolf and a vampire; a local barmaid who may be possessed; and a hard-drinking Irish widow—just to stay alive.

I have to admit that my knowledge of Irish myth and legend is a bit rusty and somewhat full of holes, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book at all.  In fact, I was surprised by how much I liked Hounded; I usually prefer traditional fantasy to the urban sort.  I was expecting more grit and violence and less humor, but Hearne strikes a great balance between the two.  I’m also impressed with his blending of real world and myth.  Readers of various religious faiths may be uncomfortable with a few aspects of the world-building — in Hearne’s world, all gods exist, and as a druid, O’Sullivan is a bit cavalier about the non-Irish ones (the Christian Trinity in particular.) If you can look past that, you’ll find that Hounded offers a refreshingly original take on urban fantasy and a hero whom readers of either gender will enjoy hanging out with.

Audiobook review: Luke Daniels reads the audiobook with humor and panache, and handles the Celtic/Irish names very well. (Brighid = BREE-yid, Flidais = FLIH-dish, Fragarach = FRA-gah-rah, and so on.) Daniels is particularly funny and endearing as Oberon, the wolfhound. I’m not completely sold on his voice for the barmaid Granuaile, but it’s OK. I’m glad I chose to listen to the audiobook for this reread; it heightened both the humor and the tension.


Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Audiobook Challenge 2023
  • COYER Upside-Down 2023: Chapter 1
  • Iron Druid Read-Along 2023

9 Responses to “From the Vault: Hounded, by Kevin Hearne”

  1. Nicole @ BookWyrmKnits

    I listened to the audiobooks when I read this series, and I loved Daniels’ voice for Oberon. It was also really nice having the Irish names spoken… I know I would have messed them up if I’d been reading the words for myself instead of listening to them.
    Nicole @ BookWyrmKnits recently posted…Reading Wrap-Up: February 2023My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Join the readalong! One book every 5 or 6 weeks, with an online live chat scheduled for each one. I’m doing it by listening to the audiobooks, which means I can “read” whilst doing other things.

  2. Anne – Books of My Heart

    Thanks for reading along with us. I really hope you can continue. It’s one of the reasons I chose this RA for me to continue and finish the series. Great review! I am choosing audio to be able to not fret over how to pronounce things. Spelling is still going to be a problem and I may pick abbreviations. lol I really can’t wait to read Hexed next week. I hope to see you at the chat.
    Anne – Books of My Heart recently posted…Read-along & #Giveaway: Hounded by Kevin Hearne @KevinHearne @luckylukeekul @DelReyBooks #BrillianceAudio @PRHAudio @OUAC_Stephanie #Read-along #GIVEAWAY #LoveAudiobooksMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I definitely plan to keep reading with you! In fact, I like Luke Daniels’s narration so much that I just bought the next two audiobooks (Hexed and Hammered), even though I already had one of them on Kindle. (Alas, my library doesn’t have any of the series in audio, so I guess I’ll be buying them.) BTW, if you want to ask me about spellings, just drop me an email or message me on FB. See you at the chat!

  3. Katherine

    I haven’t read much fantasy – urban or otherwise -but I’ve heard a lot about this author and I like the Irish folklore elements. I also like Luke Daniels as a narrator so I might need to try this.