Book Review: Staked, by Kevin Hearne

When a druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he’s bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It’s time to make a stand.

As always, Atticus wouldn’t mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it’s not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki’s mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.

As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won’t come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.” — GoodReads


Staked by Kevin Hearne
Staked is book #8/9 in Kevin Hearne’s The Iron Druid Chronicles. I have to admit, it’s not the best book in the series, and I was let down by certain aspects. The concept is still interesting, and I enjoyed the overall story itself, but there were a few issues I feel should be addressed:
  1. The book opens with a warning from the author that unless you’ve read A Prelude to War, you might be a little lost. For anyone who didn’t read the Author’s Note in Staked, they were even more lost than those of us who did. There have been very few book series I’ve read, where a short story between the primary books in a series contributes to the main storyline that heavily. Even then, the authors did a much better job at starting a novel that didn’t leave their readers feeling lost in the sauce. A Prelude to War is important to the primary storyline–gotcha. That doesn’t mean you just dump us off like we got a copy of a book missing the first few chapters. It’s obnoxious, and smacks of; “Give me more money!” I’m not saying that is Mr. Hearne’s intent, at all. However, for those of us who spend money on the hardback, only to be told we need to spend more money, it can be a little frustrating. Add to that the fact it’s only available on eReaders…well, needless to say it has upset quite a few people.
  2. I’m probably in the minority here, but too much emphasis is being placed on Oberon’s interactions. KH did a great job of making him an entertaining SIDE character in the other books, without making him overbearing. This book he didn’t stick with that. It seems to have gotten out of control, much in the way Minions have gotten out of control with Despicable Me. 
  3. I love first-person narration. I love writing in first-person narration. I really did not like having three different first-person narrators in the book, with only the chapter number art as the indicator as to who I was reading from. It was overly confusing, and slowed the reading and story up. It would have been a better story, and easier to read, if he’d switched to third-person. As it stands, it seems as though he started the series in first-person, realized he wanted to do the story from other perspectives, and rolled with the first person for everyone. It didn’t turn out as well as I’m sure he would have hoped. 
  4. Speaking of the narrators…Owen and Granuaile also miss the mark in this book for me. Owen is kind of put on the back burner, relegated to twiddling his thumbs, and I would have enjoyed more from him in the primary story, (rather than all the time put into Oberon, who needed no further development). Granuaile comes off as whiny, and fell flat as a character. Her daddy issues are superficial and yawn-worthy. Atticus has almost lost the spark that made people fall in love with his character. I’m left with the image of a chicken running around like its head has been cut off, for how the characters behaved in this book. That’s to say, a whole lot of nothing with a messy finish.
  5. Along with the Oberon issue, it feels as though KH is putting so much time into unnecessary things, (those Twitter things between Owen and Oberon, and Oberon’s book, or whatever it is), as well as other projects. It’s easy to see how the series has suffered as a result. 

Overall, I’m giving it 3/5 stars:



The only thing that kept it from being two, was essentially the high the series is riding from the other books. The third star is my hope that the final book of the series brings back the aspects of the story, and characters, that made us fall in love with the series in the first place. As a stand-alone? The book would get two stars. 

I’ll be purchasing Scourged (#9, final book) when it comes out, but that’s only because I have to know how it ends. If I was told to expect more of what this book gave me, I’d rather live with not knowing than waste my time. 

I’ll have to see how the last book ends before I recommend the series to anyone. I know I’d be pissed at me if I started with something so awesome, then got around to the last couple books. 

Author: lotwordsmiths

Hello, there! I'm Toni, and I've been writing and reading primarily fantasy stories most of my life. What really set me on the path to be a writer was my 6th grade English teacher, Mrs. Thomas, who told me she could see me as an author some day. I made Legends of the Wordsmiths to share my stories, and hopefully, (someday), the stories of others, too.!

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