M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy Is The Person Who Can Write Funny

At least, I hope Kevin Hearne is happy. Since they haven't bought out his contract or stopped publishing his Iron Druid Chronicles, DelRey Books seems happy enough with his sales . 

May Kevin's royalties exceed his day-time salary by more than a buck. 

Yeah this is a book review of Trapped, the 5th book about Atticus, the last druid, and friends defending themselves from the many enemies he has acquired in several pantheons. Just to give the enemies equal time: they feel justified in seeking vengeance on Atticus for actions he's previously inflicted on them. 

In Trapped, Atticus seeks to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth to double the number of druids in the world, but Bacchus and his minions, the Black Elves, the Norse gods keep interrupting him. His allies among the Tuatha De Danaan, his wise-cracking side kick, Oberon an Irish Wolfhound,and the earth's elementals help him on his quest. Oh, Granuaile kicks some ass too.

If you like action, Hearne's the guy for you. His books jump off the blocks by introducing several threads of possible conflict in the first couple of chapters. Trapped is no exception.  

While Atticus seeks a quiet place to bind Granuaile, Perun, a Slavic lighting god, appears when he flees from the destruction of the Slavic godly plane by Loki, a Norse god. That's just the first chapter. By the third chapter, Atticus is summoned to the Fae Court, and  Perun has developed a case of lust for Flidais, the Irish goddess of the hunt. In short, Hearne manages to introduce new complications and interlock them together into the previus storyline in most chapters. While the complications aren't as seamlessly woven as previous books, the book is still a fast, twisting read.

One thing that stands out to me because of my mystery bias, perhaps, is that Hearne doesn't really have villains. His complications fall more into having a different mind set rather than personal greed or urge to harm, per se. Granted there are personality faults in abundance, but his characters lack the focused self-interest of true villains. How fair is application of negative traits? Well, Atticus has quite a few of his own. .... 

But, then that's my own judgement since my value system tends to consider selfish self-interest as a negative trait.

Hearne's strong point? Humor. Few writers are as funny as he is. Whether Atticus and Oberon are discussing the merits of sausage or human mating habits, he is good for a chuckle. More chuckles come from his irreverent view of deities of whichever ilk. Hearne even manages to give an explanation about why you might think clowns evil.

Do have one complaint about an omission in the Atticus stories. While Jesus and Mary have appeared is a previous story, they haven't gotten billing worth their status in the earthly cosmos. Yeah, Il admit to sore grapes. When I think of the wonders Hearne could work with the Christian stereotypes of all ilks, I feel deprived. Guess I'll have to be satisfied with what he does with the Indian pantheon when he finally gets to it.

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Am sort of taking a little break for the holiday weeks. Not that I'm less busy, but I'm writing less and baking more. Even have bought stuff other people have made.

[A lot of it "Made in the USA". Remember the union label?]

Still progressing on Bad Luck Emma. Only a few more chapters to go and I can go onto new projects.

One discovery: "Tazan of the Apes" isn't as bad a book as I thought, even though many of the social sentiments are outdated and the writing style has a pompous, superior expository style. Didn't find the "Me Tarzan. You Jane." line. Guess the movie version had contaminated my opinion of Burroughs.

Yeah, I read it in one sitting ... 
which surprised the heck out of me. 
Under all the exposition, there's an adventure novella in there.

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