Shattered is a fun, well-written installment in the Iron Druid Chronicles. And, thankfully, Granuaile is starting to grow on me. It helped that she wasn’t over-objectified for her physical attributes; instead her intelligence and resourcefulness were showcased.
My only complaint with Shattered is that the story is a little fragmented. The chapters are written in alternating points of view – Atticus, Granuaile and Owen (Atticus’ archdruid’s modernized name). Each of them were focused on different things. Atticus is investigating to find out why nine gods are helping him and trying to determine their ultimate goal. Granuaile is contacted by an old friend who has discovered that G’s father has been possessed and they need to free him. Owen is trying to figure out a new life for himself and is also asked, by Atticus, to help find out who has been trying to kill them. (Owen has a few secrets of his own that were VERY interesting.)
For most of the novel, it felt like I was reading three different novellas – all good and important to the overall series story-arc but not a cohesive plot for this full novel. Hearne tied them together here and there but Atticus and G were hardly on the pages together at all until the very end.
What keeps Shattered at the 4-star level are the characters, the writing and the ending. The final 20% or so of the book is exceptional. Which leads me to my next thought…
Shattered was the first book in this series to get the hardback treatment. That’s a big deal for an author. Instead of going straight to $7.99 paperbacks, the publisher is willing to bet that enough readers will pay hardback prices. I am an avid reader and spend a lot of my discretionary budget on books. However, because I read so many books I buy most at used bookstores or wait for paperbacks. I can count on one hand the authors that get hardback pre-orders from me (Stephen King, Ilona Andrews, Diana Gabaldon and a rare one-off). I did find my copy of Shattered in hardback at the used bookstore (score) so now I am left with a quandary. Staked (book 8) is being released January 26 in hardback. Now what am I supposed to do? The ending of Shattered has left me with many questions. It isn’t a cliffhanger but there are things that need to be dealt with – and we are reminded that Jesus told Atticus that he has a lot of pain still to come his way. Physical pain? Emotional pain? AGGGHHHHH…do I add Hearne to my pre-order list, wait for the paperback or stalk all the used bookstores until I can get a hardback of Staked for a reasonable price?
The struggle is real my friends.