Thursday, January 10, 2013

Trapped, like rats!

     Much like the Crab that is my astrological sign, I am a defensive creature by nature.  I don't go out looking for fights; I try to avoid them as much as possible.  I'll get into a defensive scuffle when necessary, but by and large, I avoid conflict.  This has it's own share of problems, and they are ones I think Atticus O'Sullivan can relate to.  As the Iron Druid, and the last of his kind, Atticus has done his fair share of hiding and avoiding conflict.  He's had to pretend, to live an illusion of who he is, for millenia.  However, once he decided to face down Aenghus Og, the Celtic god of love (Hounded, book 1), he has put himself out there in a way that cannot be taken back.

     In Trapped, book 5 of the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne, Atticus is finally recognizing the consequences of his actions, both positive and negative.  On the positive side, he has finally finished training his apprentice, Granuaile, and she is ready to become a full-fledged Druid (and thereby doubling the number of Druids in existence).  However, the negative column is much fuller.  After facing and defeating Aenghus Og, Atticus figured he could go back to his quiet life of hiding, sidestepping conflicts and avoiding lasting entanglements.  Sadly, as the only Druid in the world, and now having his presence back on the map, Atticus is a solitary man of unusual talents.  Some deisre those talents, and some fear them.  In addition to these talents, his own archaic sense of honor has also played a role in bringing him trouble.  Promises made become promises kept, despite the cost to himself and others around him. In truth, by this book, Atticus has learned some measure of the humility as a result of those consequences; some promises might be better left broken.

     Trapped finds Atticus desperately trying to bind his apprentice to the earth.  The only place open to him at the moment is in the land at the base of Mt. Olympus.  This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for Bacchus having sworn to literally tear him limb from limb.  Though Atticus's own pantheon was a little upset to find him still after twelve years after his supposed death, they did what they could to help render aid to the cause.  Plots within plots, Atticus finds himself and his apprentice the target of attacks by Roman gods, vampires, dark elves, and faerie creations.  Each group has their own vendetta against him and his apprentice, or they have been paid to stop them from completing the Druidic rituals.  Karma has come to Atticus's doorstep, and it isn't pretty.

     In the realm of (minor) plot spoilers, all I can say is- Hallelujah, they finally did it!  The tension between Granuaile and Atticus has been present since book 1 and has only become more blatant in the last book and novella.  Admittedly, this is an entirely PG show, with little of the gratuitous gratification one might find in other books of the same genre.  All the same, I for one cheered when they finally succumbed to their desire.

     The continued violence and fallout from books 2&3 is amazing.  Defeating Aenghus Og in book 1 was personal, a vendetta finally cleared.  For that, I think the pantheons of the world were willing to let Atticus slide for killing a god.  However, the battle against the Norse and destruction of half their pantheon put Atticus at number one on the wanted lists for gods and goddesses everywhere.  Not only that, but the death toll for that is still mounting, two books later.  It is the karmic equivalent of Fukushima.  The author is very strongly making the point that your actions, your choices every day, always have consequences.  You can't anticipate them all, and the bigger the choice, the more deeply felt the repercussion will be.  And though Atticus himself might say he had little chance to deviate from the path he is now on, I don't think that was the case.  We always have alternatives, but we may not always be willing to change our ways.  In choosing to remain uncompromising in his sense of honor and duty, to one person, he has condemned many others to death and destruction, at his own hand or that of another.

     The book has neatly wrapped up a few plot lines that have been running for awhile now.  As usual, the wit and humor were riveting, though it got a little annoying to keep bouncing between foes.  The action, at times, was almost too constant, without enough in-between time for analysis or introspection.  Overall, a great start to the new year for me; I am eagerly awaiting the next book, Hunted, which is due out this summer.  The next one appears to be more consequences and repercussions for "it seemed like a good idea at the time", and of course, the wit that is Atticus and Oberon!  Brilliant!

     "'You must be thinking of stories from other cultures.  Irish women tend to kick ass and do whatever they want.  For exhibits A, B, and C, I give you the Morrigan, Brighid, and Flidais.'"

No comments:

Post a Comment