Throughout the first four books in the series, Kevin Hearne’s 2,000-year-old druid, Atticus O’Sullivan, has made a habit of pissing off some of the most powerful beings in the universe. But as “Trapped” ($7.99, Del Rey) opens, it’s been quite a while since he’s been in real trouble.
For the past 12 years, Atticus has been training his apprentice Granuaile, destined to become the first new druid in centuries. During that time, he’s laid low after faking his death with the aid of the Native American trickster Coyote.
Now, it’s time to bind his apprentice to the Earth and make her a full druid, but there are complications. For one thing, the Tuatha de Danann have discovered that he still lives. For another, the Norse god Loki has arrived on the scene, perhaps heralding the beginning of Ragnarok, which Atticus will have a large hand in thanks to his exploits in a previous volume. Then, there’s the fact that the passages to all of the areas where he might bind Granuaile have been mysteriously closed save one, which will put him in the shadow of Mount Olympus, the home of the Roman god Bacchus, who has Atticus at the top of his hit list.
It’s the kind of mess that Atticus would normally blame on the dark elves, except, you guessed it, they’re involved, too, along with the ancient vampire master who was behind the hunting and execution of most of the druids.
So, yeah, there’s a lot to pack in this slender volume, but Hearne once again handles it well. The story moves along at a fast and fun pace, making it a pretty light an entertaining read. As in other volumes, there were a few things that I would have liked to have seen explored a little more, but deep and intricate detail isn’t Hearne’s style. He’d much rather lead the reader on a merry chase with jokes coming rapid-fire, which he does quite well here.
There’s plenty of danger, a little bit of romance, and a lot of Atticus’ Irish Wolfhound Oberon, who, as I’ve said many times before, is the real star of the books for me.
Yes, I often think Atticus gets out of the jams he’s in a bit too easily, but I’ve got the feeling that’s about the change. There are too many of those jams coming together at once for him to keep thumbing his nose at the various pantheons of the world and escape unscathed. Now, he has the Greeks and Romans, the only true immortals among the gods, after him, and the book ends with a pretty intense scene that sets the stage for the upcoming final two volumes.
Hearne’s work continues to be fun, funny and highly entertaining, and as far as I’m concerned, you can’t go wrong with a guy who can work a nod to a Dio classic into a trip to Asgard.