Novella Review: The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

the-purloined-poodleThe Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne

Mogsy’s Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Book 8.5 of The Iron Druid Chronicles

Publisher: Subterranean Press (September 30, 2016)

Length: 112 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

What a fun little book! Not to be missed by fans of Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, but even if you don’t follow the series, it might be worth taking a look. When this novella landed in my lap, I briefly debated whether or not I should read it, since I am woefully behind on the main series and I know a lot has happened to the characters since I last visited this world. I worried that I would get too confused or lost.

Well, for readers who might be wrestling with the same doubts, let me put your minds at ease: no prerequisite reading is required before jumping into this one. Of course, if it would help if you know a little of the basic foundation behind the Iron Druid Chronicles, i.e. our protagonist is Atticus O’Sullivan, a 2,000-year-old druid living in modern times with his faithful Irish wolfhound Oberon. Everything else is going to be pretty easy to pick up along the way, not to mention The Purloined Poodle is a whole different animal anyway. Pun absolutely intended.

For one thing, the entirety of the tale is told through the eyes of a dog. That’s right, Oberon fans, urban fantasy’s most popular pooch gets his very own book. In the main series, Atticus’ ancient druidic status gives him access to a full suite of nifty powers, including shapeshifting and having an ability to commune with the natural world. That also extends to being able to talk with his dog, and in every Iron Druid book I’ve read so far, Atticus and Oberon’s conversations always manage to become the highlight. This probably goes without saying, but if you find the two’s psychic exchanges as entertaining as I do, then you will love this.

What I enjoyed most about this novella was how “dog-like” Hearne managed to sound while writing from the POV of Oberon. I was laughing from the very first page, reading about his thoughts on canine butt-sniffing etiquette. Like his human, Oberon is also well-versed in all forms of geek culture, so expect tons of pop-culture references. But humor is only one part of this equation; the story quickly builds into a mystery, as a routine walk through the park leads to Oberon and his owner to discover a string of abductions in the Pacific Northwest involving prizewinning dogs. Local police already have their hands full dealing with people cases, so it’s up to Oberon to convince Atticus to help the victims’ owners to look for their stolen pets.

Right away, I knew I’d missed some key events in our characters’ lives, since the last time I saw them they were still in Arizona. The main cast seems to have expanded a bit too. Happily, these are just background details. This novella is part of the main series timeline, but it’s probably more accurate to call this one a short side-story, a lighthearted little detour. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t caught up anyway, because we’re not going to be focusing on the humans too much.

Not only is this narrative all about the dogs, I simply love how this book portrays the relationship between Oberon and Atticus. It’s clear that the two of them are best friends who dote upon each other, and when latter indulges the former, I can’t help but think of one of my own dogs, who’s also a big, lovable goofball like Oberon. It just makes me want to take this book and shove it into the hands of all my dog-lover friends, because I know they will appreciate the beauty of the human-dog bond that Hearne captures here so well.

And like I said, the story is also entertaining and funny as hell. Knowing what I do about its doggy protagonist, I went into The Purloined Poodle expecting a few chuckles, but Oberon really brought down the house with this one. I was impressed that an entire story told from his perspective would work so well, figuring that being inside his head would start to get on my nerves or his narrative get stale after the first twenty minutes. Not so, though. The novella format was well-suited for a story like this—just long enough to be satisfying, but also short and sweet enough that it doesn’t wear out its welcome.

Dog lovers, urban fantasy enthusiasts, and Iron Druid fans take note: if you are one or any combination of the above, I would highly recommend reading The Purloined Poodle. It won’t take long and it’s the perfect escape; a great way to spend a rainy afternoon or a quiet evening in, curled up on the couch with your special fur baby and this wonderful little novella.

4-5stars

Mogsy 2

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30 Comments on “Novella Review: The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne

  1. Oooh nice! I too am behind in this series. It’s been wayyyyy too long since I’ve read “my” last one and I know a refresher is going to be necessary. But my love for Oberon remains clear! He was a riot and I was always laughing at doggy wisdom! Glad to hear this was entertaining and one you don’t need to be fully caught up on in the series to truly enjoy! Nice review!

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  2. I admit I have not started this series. Well, that’s not quite true. I did pick up the first book but I felt guilty reading it because I needed to get back to review books, so I put it down. Or maybe I was just too distracted and couldn’t get into it. But I’d love to try again. I’m a huge dog lover and I love any book with dog protagonists.

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  3. I’ve thought about picking up this series a few times, but have never quite gotten around to it. I usually find it a bit cringey when American authors make use of Irish mythology *cough*CharlaineHarris*cough*, but I suspect that that might just because I’ve not managed to read the good stuff. I’ve seen so many positive reviews for these that I might just have to give them a go!

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    • Not to scare you off, but I think I’ve heard similar complaints about this series and Hearne’s use of Irish mythology – but the good news about The Purloined Poodle is that it hardly touches upon the lore at all and goes full out light, fun mystery 🙂

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  4. Fun fact: I saw only the partial title of your post in my email alert – it stopped at “purloined”, so when I clicked the link and saw that it was no letter, or anything else that could be purloined, but a POODLE, I started laughing hysterically 😀
    So I guess that reading the actual story will be even more fun…

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  5. I was giggling me head off throughout this entire novella! I’ve only read the 1st two Iron Druid Chronicles books, so I’m way behind too. I lent this novella to my friend who has never read an IDC book, and she said she could tell she was missing some details but overall she really enjoyed the novella.

    I like that Hearne has put out a few IDC short stories and novellas, they are good entry points for someone who doesn’t have time or interest to commit to one of the novels.

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    • Oh yes, there were giggles aplenty! I think I’m right where you are actually, with only two Iron Druid books under my belt (or was it three? I can’t remember, but I’m pretty far behind too) and I still really enjoyed it. Glad for the confirmation that folks who are completely new to IDC can love this too!

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  6. So glad I saw your review. I really want to read this series and read another short story that was in the Carnival collection a few years back. However, I desperately want to read this one and am now glad to know that I can jump right into it and not have to worry about being lost. I still plan on reading the rest of the series sometime, but you know me and my love for pooches, I didn’t want to have to wait on this one!

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  7. I love the title! I’ve probably read 4 or 5 of these and need to catch up as I do enjoy them – especially in terms of having something fun to read in between bigger, chunkier heavy thinkers!
    Lynn 😀

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  8. I think I may pick this one up! I read the first three books in this series and liked but struggled with them a bit but one thing I unequivocally loved was Oberon. So this immediately gets my attention and it’s nice to know that I don’t have to read the umpteen bajillion books in between the last book I read and this!

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    • I know what you mean. After the first couple books, despite enjoying them a lot, I felt like I needed a break from Atticus and his ultra-modern druid persona, but I also unequivocally loved Oberon. This novella is absolutely for you then! 🙂

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  9. I don’t know this series, I should try it one day! I love an original POV, I’m more used to dragons POV these days but one from a dog must be super fun!! So intrigued x)

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  10. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

  11. I love Oberon and will be reading this at some point, when I’m fully caught up with the Iron Druid series. I’m going to be finishing book #5 Trapped tonight. Hope to get the others finished by the end of the month. Sorry if you get multiple versions of this post-since I closed my account at WordPress they have always tried to stop me commenting on WordPress blogs!

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  12. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Novellas | The BiblioSanctum

  13. Pingback: Novella Review: The Squirrel on the Train by Kevin Hearne | The BiblioSanctum

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