Book Review: Hexed by Kevin Hearne
Atticus O’Sullivan lives an interesting life. On the surface, he’s an ordinary young man, making his living as a New Age book store/tea shop owner in Tempe, Arizona. In actuality, Atticus is a 2100-year-old druid, the last of his kind.
Just weeks after his harrowing run-in with an ancient Celtic god who was trying to kill him, Atticus’s life is threatened again — only this time, the bad guys are a coven of dangerous witches with a dark past, and they’re going after his friends too. And as if that wasn’t enough, a fallen angel is eating students at a local high school, Bacchants have come to town to wreak havoc and debauchery, and an angry albeit sexy Celtic goddess is setting fire to his kitchen. What is a druid to do?
Hexed is a fun, charming and worthy follow-up to the first book. All the action and humor that made Hounded such a great read is back for this second installment.
That said, so are the things I wasn’t so keen on. First let me just say that I like the fact that Atticus is different, and that he doesn’t act the way you’d think a 2100-year-old protagonist should. Still, for someone so ancient, he remains disappointingly shallow. For the most part, I enjoy his frat boy humor and his attmempts to make light of a situation with references to pop culture, but the old adage “too much of a good thing” comes to mind. The ironic thing is, it starts making Atticus feel less realistic to me and more fabricated. Perhaps when you start acting more modern and cracking more geek jokes than any other contemporary urban fantasy protagonist out there, it might do to dial things down a bit. I for one would love to see more of his millennia old wisdom come through just a little more.
The story, while enjoyable, also felt less coherent than the last one. Just like Hounded, Hexed was great in that its plot was made up of multiple threads, each action-packed and interesting in their own way, but it didn’t come together as well as I’d hoped. Reading it almost felt like reading three separate short stories that were related, but didn’t tie together very smoothly.
One thing I did like was seeing more of Atticus’s problem solving process. A criticism I had about the last book was how he seemed too powerful to ever be in any real danger, thus removing some of the element of suspense. In Hexed, however, some of his weaknesses came to light. He is still very powerful, but there were more situations in which he found himself with his back against the wall in very real trouble, or needed some help or rescuing from a friend. It shows some of his resourcefulness, and you start to gain an understanding of how he was able to survive and adapt for so long.
All in all, a good book and a decent sequel, and I’m looking forward to picking up the third installment. Recommended for fans of urban fantasy who are looking for some fun, light reading.