Saturday, April 28, 2012
Tricked (The Iron Druid Chronichles, #4)
Tricked by Kevin Hearne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hm. This wasn’t what I expected at all. I was tempted to give Tricked only three stars, but then I decided against it because Hearne’s writing and research deserve some reward after all. That said, me counting pages to the end is never a good sign, and I caught myself doing it more than once.
I didn’t mind the extensive worldbuilding and the occasional mythology lessons in the first two books, quite the contrary. I got a little tired of it in book three, but I was tempted to skip entire passages in book four. And yet I didn’t because I was determined to carefully read every single word so that I can be sure the problem is him, not my lack of attention. And guess what? It’s him. There was simply not enough to connect the huge infodumps in this book, especially in the first part. While I’m always up for a challenge and I’m more likely to enjoy a book that actually teaches me something new, it still bothers me when parts of it read more like a textbook than like an actual novel.
With a group of Norse gods hot on his heels, everyone’s favorite Druid Atticus Sullivan must come up with a solution that will keep him, his hound Oberon and his apprentice Granuaile safe. Fortunately for them all, he’s made some friends along the way too. With a little help from the Morrigan and Coyote, he succeeds in throwing them off his trail by faking his own death. But making a deal with a trickster god, however benign it may seem, is never a good idea! Pretty soon, Atticus has to face an even worse enemy – one he’s learned very little about in his two thousand years of existence.
Coyote is a common enough character in urban fantasy. I liked him in Patricia Briggs’ River Marked, really loved him in Allyson James’ Stormwalker series, but I think Hearne came closest to what I imagine a trickster god would be like. Both Briggs and James portrayed him as mischievous, but ultimately benevolent; however, Hearne clouded his intentions a little bit, made him even more unpredictable, and quite a bit dangerous.
This is the first time that I really felt the tiredness and the emotional depth I would expect from someone with two thousand years of experience. Atticus has millennia of losses on his shoulders and I loved that Hearne explored that part of him a little bit. I understand why he can’t dwell on his emotions too often, I do, but it’s unavoidable sometimes even for him. It was a nice change.
Usually I try to suppress any emotions that savor of regret, because they are invariably aperitifs to a main course of depression, and for the long-lived, that’s a recipe for suicide. But that doesn’t mean they can’t sneak up on me sometimes.
And, like, gang-tackle me.
As for the romance, in the interview he gave the lovely Missie at The Unread Reader, Hearne promised us a love interest for Atticus in Tricked, and he certainly didn’t lie. But if you’re expecting some big romance, you might end up disappointed. There are just subtle hints of one, more reluctant attraction than anything else, and it doesn’t affect the plot in any way. I, for one, appreciate this about the series. If I want romance, I read PNR. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be happy if Atticus and the person he’s interested in get their HEA, I would. I just don’t think it needs to be a priority for Hearne.
I had pre-ordered this book about three months before the release date, just to be on the safe side (my paranoia knows no limits – what if ALL the copies were sold before I managed to get one?), and I will pre-order the next one. Hearne can easily be forgiven for this weak link in the series, he has more than earned it with the first three books.