Published 2012 338 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Druid Atticus O'Sullivan hasn't stayed alive for more than two millennia without a fair bit of Celtic cunning. So when vengeful thunder gods come Norse by Southwest looking for payback, Atticus, with a little help from the Navajo trickster god Coyote, lets them think that they've chopped up his body in the Arizona desert.
But the mischievous Coyote is not above a little sleight of paw, and Atticus soon finds that he's been duped into battling bloodthirsty desert shapeshifters called skinwalkers. Just when the Druid thinks he's got a handle on all the duplicity, betrayal comes from an unlikely source. If Atticus survives this time, he vows he won't be fooled again. Famous last words.
Tricked is the fourth book in Kevin Hearne’s fabulous Iron Druid Chronicles urban fantasy series. The story starts directly after where the events in Hammered (the previous book in the series) left off. In my opinion Hammered was the best urban fantasy novel of 2011 – no small achievement given the tough competition from Jim Butcher’s Ghost Story and Ben Aaronovitch’s Midnight Riot/Rivers of London. While Tricked never quite achieves the levels of brilliance reached by Hammered, it still makes a worthy addition to the Iron Druid series. For readers unfamiliar with the Iron Druid Chronicles, take my advice and read these books in order. The first three books introduce Atticus and set up the chain of events that lead to him becoming a god-slayer.
Tricked deals with the fallout from Atticus’ raid into Asgard and the killing of Thor. Atticus, thinking ahead, knew that if he survived his trip to Asgard he would need a get away plan because the Norse gods would never stop looking for him until he was dead. He trades favours with the local Navajo trickster god Coyote – who agrees to assume Atticus’ form and let the Norse messily slay him – in return for a small favour. The opening pages of the book see Atticus meet his bloody end in the desert – the rest of the story is Atticus trying to complete his small favour for Coyote, without dying for real. The title of the book says it all really; if you are dealing with a trickster god can expect to get tricked. And Coyote gets him good.
Tricked takes a different turn to earlier series offerings, the Old Irish and Norse myths and monsters have only the smallest part to play in this story and Native American myths and monsters take centre stage to fill their place instead. The story is full of South-western flavours. Real native legends and myths are woven nicely into this fictional fantasy story and the result is an exciting fast paced fantasy plotline that leaves occasionally readers wondering how Atticus is going to beat his seemingly indestructible opponents. Then we remember that this is the Druid who can kill gods – a Native American spirit or two shouldn’t be too hard…
For all of Tricked’s action and excitement the storytelling isn’t perfect – plotting and narration wanders around in places, and occasionally seems to get lost in a host of not quite witty dialogue between Atticus and his dog, Oberon. Their favourite subject is sausage but there is only so much you can say about sausages before it starts to seem like filler – wasting words rather than using them to drive the story forward.
However, while Tricked is not quite as exciting, quite as witty or quite as well put together as Hammered, it’s still a top urban fantasy read. If Kevin Hearne isn’t already on your “must buy” list, he really should be. Miss this at your peril!
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