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Review: Besieged by Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid Anthology)

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Besieged by Kevin Hearne // VBCBesieged (Iron Druid Chronicles Short Stories Collection)
Kevin Hearne
Published: July 11, 2017 (Del Rey)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Jo

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars 

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it may make references to previous books. If you have started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Hounded.

Let me preface this by saying, me and anthologies… we’re not the best of friends. I very rarely read them, and even more rarely review them. But if any pair can tempt me to open the cover of one, it’s Atticus and Oberon. The fact that I’ve given Besieged 4 stars should go a long way to telling you just how much I love these characters and this world.

Besieged contains nine stories: four told after the fourth book Tricked, during Granuaile’s training period; and five told from various characters points of view after the events of Staked, the eighth. This spilt very much divides the anthology into two parts and I have to say the first half was definitely my favorite.

Consisting of three stories told to Granuaile and Oberon around the fire and one an adventure they have in this time, these four stories had everything I love about The Iron Druid Chronicles. I felt like the vampire setting was a perfect narrative tool for us to be able to see some of the adventures Atticus has had over his long life, but still leave room for Oberon to interrupt about poodles. The Eye of Horus sees Atticus try to pull off a heist in the Great Library of Alexandra, while Goddess at the Crossroads sees him rubbing shoulders with Shakespeare. Ever wondered just what kind of trouble Atticus could get into in the Wild West? Gold Dust Druid has you covered. I loved the Doctor Who vibes, and with Atticus being older than dirt, I could have quite happily read an entire collection of more campsite stories on their own. The Demon Barker of Wheat Street, (previously published in Carniepunk, but revised and expanded for Besieged), expertly shows off some Druid butt kicking in a very creepy carnival. The last in the first “half” is actually a campfire story from Owen. Not only is it the story of how he came to know Atticus, but it also shows us a glimpse of what life was like when druids were plentiful, and how they had considerable power over their communities.

The second half if much more directly influenced by the main novels’ story arcs, and also have a sense they are setting things up for the next book. Here we have stories from Owen, Perun, Granuaile and Atticus. Some I though were fantastic: Haunted Devils shows Owen teaching the kiddy druids-in-training how to heal infected Tasmanian Devils. I absolutely loved how Kevin Hearne broke down the druidic practices shown here, I felt like I got such a better understanding how their powers work through this story. The last story, The End of Idylls, totally broke my heart. It’s an incredibly sweet and moving exchange between Atticus and Oberon about Atticus’ previous companion, how he died and why Atticus won’t allow Oberon to follow him into a similar situation. There were tears. I love how bone deep the bond is between these two.

The only two that were the weakest of this collection for me were Cuddle Dungeon (a really weird sex dungeon escapade featuring Perun and Fildas) and Blood Pudding (Granuaile fighting off vampires in Poland, which I actually really enjoyed, just not as much as the others). But hey, seven out of nine hits is a definite win in my book! If you’re a fan of Atticus & Co. Besieged is well worth the read.

Sexual Content: references to graphic sex and BDSM

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