Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #3
Published by Random House Publishing Group on July 5th 2011
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Length: 9 hrs 40 min
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Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.
One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.
SPOILER WARNING!! Some things to be discussed have to do with the prior novels.
As I mentioned previously, in this series everyone considers Thor a real asshat. In the prior novel, Atticus’s friend, lawyer and vampire, Leif Helgerson, extracted a promise from Atticus to help Leif get to Asgard so he can kill Thor.
Before he does that, Atticus goes to Asgard to scout it out since no one has any type of handy map of Asgard hanging around. He also needs to provide the golden apple to Laksha as her payment for taking care of the Bacchans in the last story. Once he arrives, Atticus is forced to kill the Nörn, or Norse Fates. Not what Atticus was planning in his stealth attempt to check out Asgard, but if the Fates are dead, then there would be no one to foresee Atticus bringing Leif to Asgard and warn Thor. So maybe it was a win-win.
Yet when Atticus returns to Arizona to begin his journey with Leif, he gets a visit from Jesus, looking to grab that beer that Atticus mentioned to the Virgin Mary. Jesus seems to be well aware of Atticus’s plans for Thor and tries to talk him out of it indicating it will bring a world of shit down on Atticus and this time, it doesn’t look like the Druid will survive his actions.
I loved that Jesus was part of the story and when someone comes to attack Atticus, Jesus eventually steps in. But as you might imagine, even people who know about witches, werewolves and vampires, rolls their eyes after asking “who the hell are you” and getting the response of “I am Jesus.”
No matter the warning, Atticus doesn’t feel right about breaking his oath to Leif but maybe he can convince him to give up his plans. Their trip takes them from Arizona to Tír na nÓg and to Siberia. Upon their arrival in Russia they pick up some help in the form of others who have a bone to pick with Thor. The story slows down significantly as we hear the various stories of what Thor has done to the various men and their friends or family and why they are joining in the Thor-beat-down.
Jesus isn’t the only God presence warning Atticus off this path, but he doesn’t listen, intent now on bringing all these men to Asgard to allow them to kick Thor’s ass. But things don’t go so smoothly and things are set in motion that will effect the Norse’s version of Armageddon known as Ragnarök, and does land Atticus in a world of shit. He now has to grab his apprentice and his dog and book it out of town ASAP.
As much as I enjoy the series and the storytelling, the whole travel from Arizona and the long stories of Thor-asshatery, while interesting, slowed down this story from the prior ones where death and destruction attacked Atticus relentlessly.
But just as I was giving it a “meh” in my head, it ends with an “Oh my God” moment that had me immediately downloading Book #4.
As part of the series, you need to read it. It is a pivotal story. When the action is happening, it does have plenty of excitement, you just need to be aware that this one isn’t going to be all excitement.
This scene is slightly edited and shortened.
“Hal mentioned to me earlier that you control the entire state. Congratulations.”
Leif didn’t answer, and Gunnar took the opportunity to jump in. “Yes, well, word of his injuries has spread, and some vampires have come to investigate.”
“I’ve heard,” I said. “Why don’t you serve ’em up a cease-and-desist letter? You guys are good at that.”
“That is not how I respond to vampires in my territory,” Leif said without humor.
“How do you respond, then?”
“I destroy them.”
Oberon spoke up. <Now see, you can’t just drop a line like that without a little something extra. He should get Danny Elfman to compose a chilling soundtrack especially for him, so that when he says macho stuff he can play it back on one of those personal recorders and give the moment its proper melodrama. Or at least he could give us a “Mwah-ha-ha-ha!”>
It’s difficult not to laugh when Oberon provides commentary like that, but I enjoy the challenge. It keeps me sharp. If I laughed or seemed the least bit amused, Leif would probably not take it well. And if he realized my dog was making fun of him, he’d be sure to take offense. So I carefully kept my expression neutral and said to Leif, “I see. And you’d like my help? As in tonight?”
That was precisely what I’d been afraid of. I sighed and said, “Leif, I need my sleep tonight, because I have a full day tomorrow and a long night after that getting us to Russia. I can’t afford to tax myself tonight if you want to make it to Asgard. Your territorial concerns will have to remain your concerns. I’m sorry.”
“You never get tired,” Leif pointed out. “You draw strength from the earth.”
“You’re supposed to say ‘Gotcha!’ when you catch people in verbal inconsistencies.”
“I am aware, but it sounds vulgar.”
“Perhaps it does. This is not a ‘gotcha’ moment, anyway. I’m speaking of mental exhaustion, not physical. Planewalking isn’t a physical strain. It’s a mental one. If I’m not fresh, then–“
“Say no more,” Leif interrupted. “I understand. I will simply have to kill them all myself.”
<There he goes again. I’m telling you, Danny Elfman would love to get hold of those lines.>
Not John Williams?
<If you’ve got some hopelessly overmatched heroes fighting evil and some Imperial types marching, John Williams is your guy. You need a song to make people reach for a box of Kleenex, talk to Randy Newman. But if you want creepy atmospherics and spine-shivering chords to back up your casual death threats, you gotta bring in Danny Elfman.>