Tuesday, November 13, 2012

REVIEW: Trapped by Kevin Hearne

Trapped (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #5)Trapped by Kevin Hearne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Trapped surprised me before I even set my eyes on the first page. The book was going to take place 12 years after the events of book 4 of the Iron Druid Chronicles. Book 4 didn't wow me as I hoped so I had a spoon of skepticism for book 5, Trapped. It became two spoonfuls of skepticism when I realized the big time leap.

Trapped proved me wrong and re-positioned the series back onto my list of top Urban Fantasy.

+ the characters

Atticus remains likable and capable as ever. I thought the best scenes in Trapped were the ones where Atticus showed off his cleverness. That always thrills me because there are never enough of them for my satisfaction.

Readers who love Oberon, Atticus's sidekick talking dog, will find this blasphemous but I don’t care for him. The news gets worse: I stopped liking him in book 4. Oberon continued to irk me in book 5. His dialogue seemed like filler and his humor forced.

Granuaile, Atticus's apprentice, was bratty for the first third of the story. When she revealed the reason for her brattiness, I got infuriated fast. She couldn't have raised the issue earlier? Before she decided to become a druid, forced to fake her death, and tag along with Atticus who make enemies of gods one after another. Really? Fortunately, Gran got over herself (or things would have gotten ugly). Towards the end, she partly made up for it by actively fighting instead being on the sideline and protected as usual. I’m glad she stood up to Atticus and made her own choices. She’s finally coming out of that loved-ones-as-potential-hostages shell.

Perun the Slavic god of thunder and lightning returned as Atticus's guest sidekick. Talk about a blast of an entrance! I liked Perun and his humor way better than Oberon. Everything he said and did had me cracking up. I was disappointed that his appearances were short and tapered off in the middle of the story.

Ex-sidekick turned traitor, Leif made a brief appearance and remained despicably opportunistic. I was a little disappointed that this loose end wasn't wrapped up in Trapped.

+ the plot

The middle of the story mildly bogged but the plot compensated with a great amount of action at the beginning and ending. Compared to book 4, the pacing in Trapped was more consistent.

The plot paused for a total of three times so one of the supporting characters could narrate their personal story. I’m still not comfortable by this series’ unique way of doing exposition/flashback. The third pause, the dwarf’s story, dragged. Though to be fair, it was cautioned upon before the dwarf began. Nevertheless, I skimmed and was relieved that the dwarf’s story preluded the climax.

If the scenes showcasing Atticus’ cleverness were the best part of Trapped, then the worst part was the romance. I wished the romance between Atticus and Gran was done away with. The love was utterly contrived, the passion nonexistence. It was uncomfortable and ridiculous watching the two profess their feelings for one another. I mean, there was more chemistry between MorrĂ­gan and Atticus than Gran and Atticus. And MorrĂ­gan would likely kill Atticus during sex being that she’s the Celtic goddess of death and war and has a fetish for blood... and maybe necrophilia. Yes, the romance is that bad when Atticus is better suited for a psychopath goddess than a nice, trusted friend who will definitely not kill him during sex.

For the first time in the series, the ending was a cliffhanger. Moreover, we never found out who in the Celtic pantheon was the traitor. I don’t like cliffhangers but the one here didn't raised my ire; reading the excerpt for next book, Hunted, mollified me. Nonetheless, I hope this won’t be habitual for the series.

In Conclusion

I rate Trapped 3-stars for I liked it. I had issues with the book here and here but none that I considered major. I definitely enjoyed Trapped more than book 4. If you’re looking for another wish-fulfillment Urban Fantasy series, I recommend Imperium.

*For further reviews of the series, click here for my review of the sequel, book 6, Hunted.

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