Tricked by Kevin Hearne
Book Four of the Iron Druid Chronicles
Published April 24, 2012
Cross reviewed on Goodreads
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.
In the fourth installment of the Iron Druid Chronicles, we're brought back into the world of Atticus O'Sullivan, the world's last Druid. Strike that: the world's last BAD-ASS Druid. And bad-ass he is. So, as in the first three books, Atticus seemingly walks into this big problem. In all truth, the first three books could have been labeled Tricked: parts 1 through 3, and probably would have been a fitting title.
All joking aside, Tricked is full of new magic that I was not expecting. When I first read that Coyote, a returning character of Navajo decent was going to be a major player in this book, I was skeptical. Because I really didn't like Coyote. In this book, Coyote is defined as the Trickster and truly does dupe Atticus into a life-or-death match against skinwalkers.
However, these badass mofos aren't like the skinwalkers defined in, say, a series like Supernatural. Oh no! These skinwalkers come from a place called Black World, which in the Navajo religion is a realm of evil. It's where the most power spirits dwell, all children of First Man and First Woman. They have multiple forms, which also makes them different than normal shapeshifters. When it becomes clear that Atticus has no choice but to fight these skinwalkers, that's when all the awesomeness happens.
Kevin Hearne shows his brilliant storytelling yet again by delving into the Navajo magic system and religion. This is what really made Tricked a great read. The magic here is all about wards, purity, and strengthening one's body where as other magic, as most books have conditioned us to believe, is an outward force for offense or defense. It was a very nice change of pace.
The only qualm I have with Tricked is how off track it became at times. And maybe that's not even the best way to describe it. There are three storylines happening here: Atticus versus the skinwalkers, Atticus versus the vampire population in Flagstaff, AZ, and Atticus versus Hel (Loki's daughter). While in the end it all wrapped up very nicely, I wanted less perhaps. I wasn't entirely convinced the vampire bit was needed. However, as the blurb from the flap reads, "betrayal comes from an unlikely source," there's your clue that maybe this little scuttle with the vampire population will become a big deal in the fifth installment of IDC.
Overall, I still loved Tricked. Mainly for how specific all the magic usage is in the book. Atticus starts using different levels of Druidry, the Navajo magic was just a spectacular experience, and then there's just Atticus wielding Moralltach.
Before I finish here, I must share my favorite line of the book: It references A Christmas Story, which is my favorite holiday classic: "His eyes were glowing egg yolks, burning Scut Farkus eyes."
Peace and Writing Love,
Next up for review:
Insurgent by Veronica Roth