Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free it may make reference to previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Hounded.
After the events of Shattered our three Druids (and two hounds) are spread around the globe, each with their own mission. Atticus has traveled to Toronto, a place he swore never to return to, in order to retrieve a key piece of information in his war against Theophilus and the vampire clans. Granuaile, still reeling from Loki’s trickery, sets out on a quest to remove his mark. And Owen, settled with the pack and Greta, is charged with the task of training a new generation of Druids—that is until some old debts come back to haunt him.
And that’s just the start! To say Staked is packed plot-wise would be an understatement. With all three point-of-view characters not only all over the place, but also able to travel anywhere both on Earth and multiple planes, things get a little hectic. While this created a great deal of agency to the plot, it also made it some what difficult to keep track of where everyone was and what, exactly, they were trying to achieve. It moves forward very rapidly with plenty of action and tons of plot points hit, lots of badass-ery too. The other snag, however, was I found it decidedly difficult to keep up with all the different pantheons, mythology and terminology.
Atticus is determined to end this millennia-old war once and for all, and goes about it with his usual wit and intelligence. But he’s also driven by revenge, causing him to have tunnel vision, and that leads to some catastrophic and heartbreaking consequences. He’s struggling with having responsibilities to others after centuries of just taking care of himself, and makes quite a few mistakes along the way. I realized whilst reading that I miss when his world was smaller, in Tempe running his book shop, interacting with beloved characters and the crazy came to him. I hope we see him more settled in the next book.
Granuaile’s chapters I struggled with more—in fact I found them quite hard work. Other than her deep anger spurring her on in her own personal agenda, I found her a bit emotionless. Without Atticus there to bring out her more playful side, there was a lot less levity, even with Orlaith there.
Owen, on the other hand, stole the show with his Down. Right. Awesomeness. While he is still very much trying to assimilate into the modern world (seriously, at one point Oberon is giving him instructions… You can imagine how that goes), it was brilliant to see him in his element once again teaching the wonders of Gaia. His chapters felt more grounded and reminded me of Atticus’ earlier adventures. Unfortunately his past, and Atticus’ current actions, catch up with him and his peace is somewhat shattered. (He also punches a troll in the ding dong… Yep, that’s Owen for ya.)
Staked was a bit of a mixed bag for me. It had moments that I loved, and the last 40 percent, leading up to the characters reuniting for battle, whizzed by. But earlier parts were slightly heavy, or rather too packed, with characters and locations, that it was difficult to get into a rhythm—especially jumping between the POVs. It’s still an Iron Druid book though, so there was plenty of crazy god antics, lots of laughs and much talk of meat-based fare—all of which made me happy.
Sexual content: non-graphic sex