When Kevin Hearne’s IRON DRUID CHRONICLES series started with Hounded a few years ago, the story starred Atticus O’Sullivan, the world’s last druid, and his funny movie-watching Irish Wolfhound, Oberon.
In Shattered, the seventh novel (and the first one released in hardback!), we now have two more point-of-view characters. One is Granuaile, the former barmaid who became Atticus’ apprentice and is now a druid in her own right and has her own hound (Orlaith) that she can mind-speak to. The other is Owen, Atticus’ mentor who has just escaped the Morrigan’s time stasis spell. All three of our human POV characters share page space in Shattered as each goes about his or her own dangerous mission.
Atticus spends his time helping Owen acclimate to modern times, getting his magical tattoos fixed, and trying to figure out what Loki is up to and how the gods are lining up now that Ragnarok is approaching. Atticus is beginning to feel like a pawn of the gods. His story doesn’t advance much, though. In Shattered, Granuaile and Owen have more going on than Atticus does.
Granuaile goes to India to try to save her father, an archaeologist, from an evil spirit. To do so, she’ll have to exorcise demons, deal with Laksha (the body-snatching witch who we’ve met previously), visit a clan of bacon-and-ice-hockey-loving yeti, and face her own half-forgotten past. For much of the time Granuaile is accompanied by her hound, Orlaith. I don’t like Granuaile’s perspective as much as I like Atticus and Oberon, mostly because Hearne’s writing isn’t as sharp in these sections. He gives Granuaile a distinctive voice, but that voice is a little overblown and flowery and I don’t think it fits Granuaile’s personality or that Hearne is completely comfortable with it. Or perhaps it’s that Luke Daniels, the narrator of the audiobook version, isn’t quite as comfortable with Granuaile. It’s actually hard to tell but, for whatever reason, the POVs of Atticus and Owen are better.
Owen’s POV sections were my favorite parts of Shattered, partly because Owen is hilarious and partly because Owen’s story advances more than Atticus’ does. Owen , who has lost thousands of years of history and finds himself in a world he no longer recognizes, must try to catch up. This involves learning English, conquering technology, and (this is funny!) drastically updating his ideas about how women should be treated. When Owen needs to solve a mystery, he is inspired to adopt a scientific mindset by watching Sherlock films.
As always, there’s plenty of humor, witty dialogue, and pop culture references. These elements, especially in the dialogue between Atticus and Oberon, have always been the best part of the IRON DRUID CHRONCLES.
Overall, Shattered doesn’t advance the overall plot much, but it introduces an excellent new character and gives Granuaile more stage time and personality. Fans will be pleased. I recommend the audio version produced by Random House Audio. I love Luke Daniels in this role.