After twelve years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave.
Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge—but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief, who all seem to have KILL THE DRUID at the top of their to-do lists.
- Publisher: Del Rey (November 27, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 034553364X
- ISBN-13: 978-0345533647
- Buy at Amazon
Disclaimer: If you haven’t read any of the Iron Druid Chronicles I’m going to suggest that you don’t start with Trapped. I mean you can, if you want, but I think you’ll end up missing a lot if you do. It’s my suggestion that you go out and by the first 4 books and the novella and then start Trapped.
Ok, on to the review!
Kevin Hearne’s books are amazing, There’s no beating around the bush or pussyfooting necessary, Kevin Hearne’s the man and his Iron Druid Chronicles are works of genius. From the moment I start reading one of these books I’m instantly whisked away on a grand adventure of myth, magic and humour. The myths and world-building behind Atticus O’Sullivan’s story are phenomenal and full of so much attention to detail and history that it brings Tolkien to mind. Honestly, I’m not exaggerating. Kevin Hearne knows his stuff and uses it in a twisting and turning, ever changing saga of gods, mythological beasts and magic that spans multiple pantheons, fables and folklore.
Here’s an example of Hearne’s attention to detail and masterful wording.
In Hel, there are no blues or any other suggestion that somewhere there might be a sun or an ice cream man. The colour pallette is confined to that of a Gustave Dore engraving, grays and blacks and subtle shadings of these rendered in harrowing crosshatches and highlighted with, sudden, glaring areas of nothingness, with splotches of vitiligo sent to haunt the dead with memories of what real light did to the eyes. The clean air is redolent of dishwater and mildew, and the mist is formed from the moist, clammy exhalations of snuffed dreams and hopeless sighs, which collect in the lungs like clotted cream.
Trapped is no different from the previous 4 books in the Iron Druid Chronicles (IDC) in it’s sheer awesomeness. Beginning 12 years after the events of Tricked, Granuaile, protagonist, Atticus O’Sullivan’s apprentice, is finally ready to complete her training and be bound to Gaia as a full Druid. Unfortunately, not only has Loki (the Norse pantheon’s resident psychopath) been set free, but the various pantheons have learned that Atticus is alive and are after him for revenge. The Vampires, various members of the Norse pantheon, the dwarfs, the dark elves, the Bacchants and someone from Tir Na NOg are all after Atticus. So much is going on in Atticus’ world it would be easy for Trapped to have become convoluted and incomprehensible, but Kevin Hearne is a master of plotting. He knows just when to have an epic battle between dark elves dressed as clowns in a Greek sporting goods store and when to have Oberon channel some Rick James. The book never becomes confusing and events are paced well with room to catch one’s breath, laugh or even (finally!) swoon.
I blinked and noticed. The two clowns which I thought I’d been seeing over and over were actually more like a dozen. They’d surrounded us. Turning on my magical sight, I saw what was underneath all that pancake makeup:pointy ears, flattened down and hidden by prosthetic ones. And underneath those rainbow-coloured wigs were thick, long queues of black hair. Knives were concealed in the baggy clothing. … These weren’t clowns at all. They were Svartalafar – real, live dark elves walking around Midgard.
“You sent in the clowns?” I said into the phone.
Oberon – I’m going to do a Rick James parody in your honour Granuaile. “She’s a very clever girl, the kind you don’t take home to Ogma. She will never give you Brussel sprouts when she could give you steak.”
As much as Kevin Hearne champions world-building and battle sequences he’s also great with the funny. Oberon, Atticus’ wolfhound, is, as always hilarious and so are the cultural and social observations made by Atticus and the immortals he’s surrounded by. I mean, consider a centuries old, former Viking, now a vampire/lawyer wishing you, “Peace out, brah” or, Oberon’s observations of human mating habits or even (and maybe this is funny to me because I live in the Greater Toronto Area,) Atticus’ dead on description of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team’s years of horribleness. Trapped, like all the other Iron Druid Chronicle books is funny and witty in a very smart, very laugh out loud kind of way.
“I don’t know where Toronto is,” the dryad said, looking lost.
“It’s a place across the ocean with a great film festival and a bad hockey team,” I explained, but she still looked bewildered. “Their ticket prices are sky-high, but they haven’t hefted the Stanley Cup since 1967. I know there’s always next year, but, damn, you know?”
One of the things I really liked about Trapped is that Atticus realizes that a lot of his troubles are his own and while he contemplates how great it would be to just walk away from his problems, that ultimately they are the result of his poor choices and he is responsible for them. It’s not that I want to see Atticus and his friends suffer, but I like that Hearne uses cause and effect, reaping what you sow, karma, etc to deepen the story. So many series have these monumental events happen in them and yet after the dust has settled and the event is over it’s never mentioned again. The character just goes on his/her merry way to run into another epic event or problem. The fact that Atticus is still dealing with the outcome of events from as far back as book one in the IDC series really speaks to Kevin Hearne’s ability as a writer, a world-builder and as an amazing storyteller.
I am once again floored by the depth of world-building and masterful story telling of Kevin Hearne. Trapped is a smart, funny and wonderful read. If you’re not reading these books you are missing out.
ARC provided by NetGalley