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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tricked by Kevin Hearne (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Official Kevin Hearne Website
Order “TrickedHERE
Read first 50 pages of “TrickedHERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s Review of “Hounded
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s Review of “Hexed
Fantasy Book Critic’s Review of “Hammered
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s Interview with Kevin Hearne

graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in English literature and currently teaches high school English. He is a self-confessed comic book fan and collector. He also collects and paints miniature dwarves in his free time. He currently lives with his family in Arizona and is the author of The Iron Druid Chronicles.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Druid Atticus O’Sullivan hasn’t stayed alive for more than two millennia without a fair bit of Celtic cunning. So when vengeful thunder gods come Norse by Southwest looking for payback, Atticus, with a little help from the Navajo trickster god Coyote, lets them think that they’ve chopped up his body in the Arizona desert.

But the mischievous Coyote is not above a little sleight of paw, and Atticus soon finds that he’s been duped into battling bloodthirsty desert shapeshifters called skinwalkers. Just when the Druid thinks he’s got a handle on all the duplicity, betrayal comes from an unlikely source. If Atticus survives this time, he vows he won’t be fooled again. Famous last words!!!

CLASSIFICATION: Like its predecessors, The Iron Druid Chronicles is an urban fantasy series in the vein of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and K.A. Stewart’s Jesse James Dawson series, and features an exciting mix of comedy, action and mythology.

FORMAT/INFO: Tricked is 368 pages long divided over thirty-one numbered chapters and an epilogue. Also includes a Pronunciation guide for all the names and phrases mentioned in the book and an excerpt for the next book Trapped. Narration is in the first-person, solely via Atticus O’Sullivan. Tricked is the fourth book in The Iron Druid Chronicles after Hounded, Hexed and Hammered. It would be extremely ill advised to jump into the series with this book as the plot has a lot of references to the many events portrayed in the preceding books.

April 24, 2012 marks the North American Mass Market Paperback publication of Tricked via Del Rey. Cover art is provided by Gene Mollica.

ANALYSIS: When it comes to Kevin Hearne, after his fantastic debut last year and the two sequels released in quick succession, it was hard not to be enthralled by his creations. With the epic climax of Hammered, fans everywhere were waiting to see what direction Kevin would take Atticus and Oberon next. Tricked was written and ready to be released and so when I got the opportunity to get an ARC for it, I was over the moon.

Tricked is a hard book to review because of two reasons namely, it’s the fourth book of the series and secondly because a lot of its plot details are spoilers for the preceding three titles. I must warn readers that I’ll be trying to avoid spoilers as much as possible however there will be some minor spoilers and those readers who haven’t read the first three books can avoid the review ahead.

Tricked begins with a short soliloquy similar to the first book however this one is even more outrageous than its predecessor, it begins with the following lines:

The best trick I ever pulled off was watching myself die. I did a respectable job of it too – the dying, I mean, not the watching!”

With such a terrific line begins the fourth entry of the chronicles of Atticus the lone druid who’s witty, versatile and now hunted by the thunder gods of various pantheons for his actions across Hammered. He however has a couple of tricks up his sleeve and he turns to one of the ultimate tricksters of yore to help him in his task. This of course works on “scratch my back and I scratch yours” principle and while Atticus thinks he has it under control. Coyote of course manages to one up him with his version of a request. Not to add to his troubles is his past catching up in the form of the widow Mrs. MacDonagh as well as the other mythical monsters that Atticus has had dealings with. All in all Tricked is a riptide of trickery and treachery in various degrees. The ending and twists in this book manage to convey quite a many tribulations for our hero ahead and yet also give us a sound ending.

Kevin Hearne shines again with the this volume losing none of his charm and smooth prose. The story opens with Atticus who is yet the charming and rogue-ish narrator even after the events that have caused such an upheaval in the physical and meta-physical world. He is one of the best main characters currently present in the urban fantasy genre simply because of his ability to make the reader empathize with him and make the reader forget that he’s a guy who more than two millennia old. In this story we learn more about his past as well as his present mistakes, both of which will have a tremendous impact on the story as it’s unfolding and the way it will unfold in the future as well. A few of the revelations have been hinted in the previous books however their actual revelation really might stun the reader with the depth of the truth.

Tricked also manages to tie in with the short story “A Test of Mettle” with the actual saga and it also shows the possible repercussions of the event. There’s also the matter of side character cast who are given a larger role and this includes Granuaile, Oberon and a certain other recurring character. The humor content is never under question as with the presence of Oberon who manages to outdo himself with his zingy one-liners and ever-present humorous chatter, in the previous book due to certain events,Oberon wasn't present for much of the storyline. However this situation is suitably rectified over here. Kevin also includes a new mythology in this book hereby exploring native American legends and monsters. This new mythology also is made to fit perfectly in this myriad world wherein all pantheons exist and co-habitat the world. This aspect of Kevin's world is one which has been unique so far and he continues to unveil a new corner of the world with each book. Many readers will be surprised to find quite another mythology make a cameo in this book and this possibly heralds a future appearance so be on the lookout.

The only downside I can think about this book is that it’s a bridge novel that is supposed to set up the events for the next part of the saga. In that respect this book is like A Feast for Crows without the unnecessary cliffhangers and the missing cast. There are some sections about Atticus' past which could have been explored further to show how complicated a character he is, but that would have made the story slacken and therefore was avoided. I however would still like to read more about his past and perhaps from another narrator to avoid the character's own bias. It also has a complete ending that gives us a strong hint of what might come next.

CONCLUSION: Kevin Hearne’s Tricked manages to combine the fun aspects of the previous books and give the saga a darker turn to make this book more akin to a thriller. It marks an exciting return to the world of Atticus and Oberon, give Tricked along with the rest of the Iron Druid Chronicles a chance and you won’t regret it. An excellent entry that only heightens the wait for Trapped that is due in November this year.


Tamara said...

Thank you for the review, now I'm even more excited about Tricked :D
I've already preordered it about a month ago after practically devouring the three currently available books of The Iron Druid Chronicles in a week, which are now amongst my alltime favorites.

Nayan said...

Was awaiting this review after seeing your rating over at Goodreads. Cant wait to lay my hands on this one.

Mihir said...

Hi Tamara

Thank you, I believe you will enjoy Tricked. It's got the best parts of the previous books but is darker as well. I look forward to seeing what you think of it.

The Reader said...

Hi Nayan

I think you will definitely enjoy this one, especially with all its twists and reveals.

Looking forward to discussing it with you :)



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