Published 2011 296 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.
One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. Plus things are heating up in his home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plane of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry Norse gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.
Hammered is the third book in Kevin Hearne’s remarkably brilliant Iron Druid Chronicles. The story continues the adventures of Atticus O’Sullivan, a fun-loving ancient Druid hiding out from his enemies in Tempe, Arizona. Except he’s not hiding out any more. It’s fair to say that all his enemies know exactly where he is, since he blew his cover slaying Aenghus Og, the Celtic god of love. He quickly followed that trick up by killing a whole load of maenads – thus incurring the eternal wrath of Bacchus, Roman god of the vine. Not content to stop there he then wiped out a coven of demon worshiping witches, with the aid of his lawyer (the Viking vampire Leif Helgarson) and a coven of local (non-evil) witches. If you haven’t read any of the previous instalments of the Iron Druid Chronicles I’d highly recommend doing so – urban fantasy just doesn’t get any better than this.
For a guy whose exceedingly long life can be credited to making good choices when it comes to deciding whether to flee or fight, Atticus seems to be making up for millennia of prudence with a sudden spurt of reckless behaviour. His latest set of misadventures comes from the promises he made to friends and allies in Hexed, the previous book in this series. Rather than become an oath breaker he keeps his promises – first he goes to the Norse realm of Asgard and steals an apple of immortality from the gods there. This fulfils his promise to the witch Laksha but unleashes death and chaos in Asgard at the same time. His second promise was to help Leif slay Thor, the Norse thunder god – which makes up the major plotline for Hammered.
The mythology of the Iron Druid Chronicles is blissfully simple considering it encompasses all of the known pagan pantheons along with modern-day monotheistic Abrahamic religions. Its basic concept is that all gods exist. The ones that persist in the minds of men, either through fictional stories or though religious worship, have more power than those who are forgotten but they all still remain in some form or another. They all have their own realms such as Heaven or Asgard and they can travel each travel from their realm to Earth and visa-versa but they can not travel between the realms. The only being who can travel between all the realms and Earth is Atticus, thus his new found popularity with anyone who wants to slay a god and needs a way to travel into the alternate realms.
In Hammered, readers once again get to enjoy seeing Atticus interact with many different deities and supernatural beings. Some are bad guys, others are good (even Jesus puts in an appearance) but whatever their morality they are always highly entertaining. There is great banter and witty dialogue throughout the story, along with non-stop action and truly inspired plot development. Readers finally get to find out why everybody in the supernatural world detests Thor (in summing-up he’s a douche) but all the characters tell of their own unfortunate Thor encounters in their own words. Leif’s story is the most compelling. It reveals a little of his vampiric past and sheds light on his justifiable hatred of the thunder god but ultimately leaves his character still full of mystery and intrigue.
Killing a god is no small undertaking but our heroic group of would-be god slayers is determined to succeed or die trying. You’ll just have to read the novel to find out which…
Hammered is another fantastic story in the Iron Druid Chronicles and one guaranteed to leave readers wanting more. The writing is top quality and the resulting novel is my personal favourite of the series so far. Now I’m just impatiently waiting for April 2012 which brings Tricked, the next series instalment.
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