Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: "Hexed" by Kevin Hearne

I enjoyed Kevin Hearne’s “Hounded” so much that I couldn’t help but dive straight into the sequel, “Hexed” ($7.99, Del Rey).

Killing a god will draw some unwanted attention, as Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the true druids, is quickly learning. It especially complicates things when half of the local coven of witches who are keeping out other undesirables is killed in the process.

Atticus finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to draw up a peace treaty with the remainder of the coven, something he’s not happy about given his general distrust of witches. But he has to ally himself with them if he wants to withstand the other threats that are moving into his town. There’s a coven of German witches quietly setting up for some bad mojo, and a group of Bacchants, followers of the Roman god Bacchus, who are not so quietly about to cause some chaos. All the while, he can’t stop people from asking him to take out other gods, particularly Thor, Norse god of thunder, who is pretty unanimously considered a prick throughout the supernatural community.

“Hexed” picks up where “Hounded” left off, moving fast and delivering plenty of action and fun. Atticus barely gets to take a breath before he’s facing new threats, both supernatural and from local law enforcement, which has figured out there’s something weird about him. He manages to barely stay a step ahead of all of them, but in the process he makes some deals that could have dire consequences.

Early in the book, I thought this might be where Hearne throws too many supes together and gets lost in the chaos, but he pulls out of it. The Bacchants thread seemed to be a bit of a side trip, but I’ve got a feeling that it’s setting up something for future volumes, perhaps an appearance from an angry Bacchus himself. (Having read the first few chapters of the third book “Hammered” as I write this, I know that Atticus does himself no favors with that particular deity later on.)

The tone remains light-hearted, though there are some hints at darker days to come, and it’s impossible to not like Atticus and Oberon. Plus Pantera and Iron Maiden jokes always get brownie points with me, and the Maiden play on his ear getting wasted in the fight with Aenghus Og had me rolling, as bad a pun as it might have been.

 I’m enjoying the ride tremendously, and I can’t wait to dig further into the follow-up, “Hammered.”

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