Book Review: Staked by Kevin Hearne

January 26, 2018 Book Reviews 2

Book Review: Staked by Kevin Hearne

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Staked by Kevin Hearne
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Del Rey Books on January 26, 2016
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Besieged, "The Purloined Poodle", Kill the Farm Boy

Eighth in The Iron Druid Chronicles urban fantasy series and revolving around Atticus O’Sullivan and Oberon and Granuaile and Orlaith, as they globetrot the world. Owen and Greta want to stay put.

My Take

Hearne uses third person multiple point-of-view as he rotates among Atticus, Granuaile, and Owen, and yes, he makes the majority of the changing perspectives quite obvious.

I love that Rabbi Bialik has “repented” and come to his senses! Who knew a religious man could realize “that people must walk their own road to salvation and not necessarily follow me on mine. I had taken my faith too far.” Oh, yeah, baby… I do like that comment Atticus makes about Gaia not requiring worship.

I’m not too sure how faithful Granuaile is being to Druid principles with the designs she has on her stepfather. I do agree that he deserves it (and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does in Scourged.

Owen is a bit of a crack-up as he reluctantly attempts to assimilate into modern society.

All three protagonists have their particular missions, which find them, at the end, in the same place for a final throwdown. No, the series isn’t ending, just this particular goal. One of Atticus’ tasks turns out to be a nasty bit of gameplaying.

I don’t know if it was me or if Staked got juvenile about halfway in. It didn’t help that Granuaile’s interactions with Orlaith became so annoying nor that Granuaile spent so much time justifying her upcoming actions against her stepfather. Why she ever thought she could influence him, I’ll never know. Just lame. Fortunately Atticus and Oberon continue their jocular — more intelligent — interactions.

It’s a matter of pride and responsibility with a strong sense of good versus evil in varying degrees.

The Story

With two more druids as backup, Atticus is determined to gain revenge for the massacre two thousand years ago. Only Owen and Granuaile have their own problems. It turns out that trolls have a long memory for those who stiff them, and Granuaile is desperate to remove Loki’s mark that can track her anywhere.

Unfortunately, those vampires have no intention of going peaceably, and there’ll be more than one showdown, until Atticus gets to Rome, the origin of that thousands-of-years-ago massacre.

The Characters

Atticus O’Sullivan, a.k.a., Siodhachan Ó Suileabhán, Sean Flanagan, and then Connor Molloy, was born in 83 BCE. After he became a Druid, he was on the run evading murderous vampires as well as Aenghus Óg. Oberon Snackworthy is his Irish wolfhound with whom Atticus can communicate telepathically. And they are a crack-up! Fragarach is his magic sword. Nigel Hargrave was Atticus’ identity back in 1953 in Toronto when he enrolled as a pre-med student. There was also a Nigel in the late nineteenth century in seminary school. He was betrothed to Gwendolyn, a.k.a., the Lady in Red.

Granuaile MacTiernan, a.k.a., Clever Girl, recently became a Druid and is accompanied by her Irish wolfhound, Orlaith. Scáthmhaide is her staff. Beau Thatcher is Granuaile’s stepfather and a wealthy oil baron. He’s also a MAJOR jerk.

Laksha Kulasekaran is the spirit of an Indian witch who now possesses Mhathini Palanichamy (Shattered, 7); we first met Laksha in Hexed, 2. She lives with Mhathini’s family in India. Her mother works in the silk industry; her autocratic, controlling father is an IT consultant. Durga is a devi, a goddess who protects humanity and restores balance.

Archdruid Owen Kennedy, Atticus’ teacher, aka, Eoghan Ó Cinnéide, had been stranded on a time island in Tir na nÓg. His shapes include walrus, bear, and kite. He and Greta, a werewolf Enforcer for the Tempe Pack who transfers into the Flagstaff Pack, are together. His apprentices include a Mongolian family: Nergüi, a new pack member in Flagstaff whose wife, Oyuunchimeg “Meg”, is straight human. Their seven-year-old daughter Enkhtuya “Tuya“. Diego and Rafaela are from Peru and new pack members concerned about protecting their son, Ozcar. Mohammed and his son, Mehdi, are from Morocco. Sajit is a Hindu from Nepal. His daughter is Amita. Natália and her six-year-old Luiz are from Brazil. Sonkwe and his daughter, Thandi, are from Zambia.

The werewolves
Hal Hauk is Atticus’ attorney and a werewolf who is the alpha of the Tempe Pack. Sam Obrist is the Swiss alpha of the Flagstaff pack; Ty Pollard is his second and husband. Kodiak Black, a.k.a., Craig, a bear shifter, was murdered in Shattered, 7.

Poland is…
…where the Sisters of the Three Auroras coven, worshippers of Zoryas, protective goddesses, and led by Malina Sokolowska — is based these days (Hounded, 1). Other (remaining) members of the coven include Berta, Kazimiera, Klaudia, and Roksana. The new ones include Martyna, Ewelina, Agnieszka, Dominika, Magdalena, Zofia, Patrycja, and Anna.

Rabbi Yosef Bialik, once part of the Hammers of God, appears to have changed his tune. Although he still has his Cthulhu beard tentacles.

Tír na nÓg is…
…where the Fae live. Brighid is their leader. Creidhne and Luchta are her still-living sons; Goibhniu is not. Aenghus Óg is Brighid’s brother and the Celtic god of love. Flidais is Perun’s lover, an Irish goddess of the hunt. Fand is one of Flidais’ daughters currently in prison for her actions. Manannan Mac Lir, a sea god, is Fand’s husband. The Morrigan is the crow goddess.

The Glass Knights wear blue glass armor; the Black Axes are an elite dwarf infantry unit. Yewmen are mercenaries who have been working for Atticus.

Swartálfs are…
…dark elves who live in Swartálfheim and are led by Turid Einarsdottir. Krókr Hrafsnon is the head of the assassins.

Gods
Asgard is where the Æsir gods are based. Odin is their leader while Frigg is Odin’s wife. Hugin and Munin are Odin’s ravens, Thought and Memory. Fjalar is a dwarf Runeskald with two missions. Loki is a trickster god who put a mark on Granuaile.

Perun is a Slavic thunder god. Świȩtowit is a Slavic god of war and divination; his horse, Miłosz, is missing. Weles is another Slavic god, a sneaky one allied with Loki. Shango is an Orisha, a god of thunder.

Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, has been imprisoned in pieces (Hunted, 6). Jupiter leads the Roman pantheon.

Elementals are…
…beings in the earth. Ferris is helping Atticus at the start. Colorado is the elemental in the Flagstaff area. The Mecklenburg elemental is based in Germany. The elementals call Atticus “Druid” and Granuaile “Fierce Druid”. A Druid’s first function is to protect the earth.

The vampires
Atticus discovers that letting Werner Drasche, an arcane lifeleech, live in Hunted was a mistake. Theophilus fancies himself the leader of the world’s vampires and intends to take Atticus down. Part of Theophilus’ nest includes Karl, Hans, and Marko is a sniper. Leif Helgarson had been Atticus’ vampire lawyer in Tempe until he betrayed him.

Toronto
Gary and Chuy are bank guards. Ed is a customer at a café.

Rosicrucians are…
…not the friendly society they portray. Bram Stoker, William Butler Yeats, and Aleister Crowley were part of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and into Hermetic Qabalah.

Julie d’Aubigny, a.k.a., Mademoiselle Maupin, was a famous opera singer, a lover who did not care about gender roles, and a duelist. Earth is Midgard. Dr. Sudarga who treats Owen. Nocnice are nightmares, damned souls who choke people when they are asleep. Mekera is a tyromancer helping Atticus.

The Cover and Title

The cover is icy in its blues and a collage of the cities they travel to and through. The young-looking Atticus with his short curly red hair appears to be wearing a blue plaid shirt, and he holds a bloody stake in his hand. There’s an info blurb at the top in white, and the author’s name is white in a distressed font in the bottom third of the cover while the title is equally distressed but in red at the very bottom. There is a badge near Atticus’ right shoulder announcing the series information.

The title is a special tool and action that wipes up trouble: Staked.

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