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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Staked (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #8)Staked by Kevin Hearne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There's a lot to love here and a small portion of sausage, too.

Or actually, there's a ton of sausage and other massive meat products being consumed in this novel by a certain hound, but more importantly, this novel is practically All Meat.

I mean, aside from a few Doggie BathTime stories, we're inundated with action, action, plot development, a bit more action, and a big hunking slab of action to go down with not a single piece of lettuce. No buildup required or necessary, assuming you've been reading all these novels up to now, and you know that it's WAR.

Of course, it's a one-Druid war against a world of undead because of the mass of interlocking promises and treaties he's been forced to make just to survive all his other misadventures, and of course this little nightmare is spilling over into his old Master's Druid Training Camp and his onetime apprentice is getting into her own messes, but this is a remarkably straightforward and readable adventure with loveable characters and an occasional vamp lord needing a vicious unbinding.

There's really no downtime except at BathTime, and that's fine. The sub-stories are interesting enough, but I was actually pretty damn amazed at the quality of myth research involved in this series. I mean, I can barely keep up with just how many thunder gods are running around, here, and fighting the Aesir was always some of my favorite parts of the previous novels, but it's the depth of the realms and the variety of cameos and established myths/gods/fae-made-real that makes these novels really stand out.

At a few points, I was struck with mute wonder at the complexity and ease with which it all poured out of the page, but it was never so much that I was drowned. Hearne has a particular gift, here.

Aside from making wonderful and snarky characters, of course. Atticus is getting less face time because Granuaile and his old Master Owen and Oberon have almost equal page-space. I can't say I dislike it at all. Granuaile has her own quest motif going on, Atticus is fighting a one-man War, Own is the perpetual "A Druid Walks Into A Bar and Says" joke, and Oberon loves sausage. Even Haggis.

It's quick and fun and easily one of the best crazy UF's out there. I'm actually rather sad that all the plot-lines are getting wrapped up, but not that sad. Nothing's worse than a frayed edge to a great series. :)

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