This is the kind of book I'm always hoping for when I go into the bookstore. It's light without being shallow, fun without being stupid, and fast-paced without being frenetic.
Atticus O'Sullivan looks 21, but that's off by about two thousand years. He's a druid who's managed to stay alive, and a step ahead of a Celtic god who wants him dead, for a very long time thanks to his magic, an enchanted sword, and a healthy dollop of paranoia. Currently he's living in Tempe, Arizona with his wolfhound Oberon, running an occult bookstore and keeping quiet. Arizona's a good place to hide: not too many Fae around and not too many local gods or goddesses. But he's stayed in one place for too long and his old enemy has found him--and Atticus is tired of running.
The plot isn't especially clever, although it works perfectly well and was entertaining. The setting is interesting (how many fantasies--heck, how many books--are set in Arizona? Poor Arizona) and the characters are likable, especially Atticus and his dog. Mostly what I enjoyed about this book, though, was the sense that the author was having as much fun writing it as I was reading it. There's a lot of humor in the book, sure, but it's more a feeling that runs through the whole thing, like someone walking with a bounce in their step because it's such a nice day. Hounded made me feel like smiling at strangers.
I think it's mostly to do with the writing, which is fluid and sure. Or maybe it's the worldbuilding. Hearne obviously had a blast throwing everything into the mix--this is a lot more than a Celtic fantasy. All the gods and goddesses are real in this world, as are vampires and werewolves and witches and other things like that. But it's not a wacky-zany kind of book, either. The stakes are high, as is the body count. It's also a very fast read and hard to put down; I read the first chapter to see if I liked it, and the next thing I knew, I'd finished the book.
The next two books in the series, Hexed and Hammered, are going to be released in the next two months. You can count on reading my reviews here.