Thursday, July 27, 2017

Besieged: By Kevin Hearne



The ancient gods are alive and well in the modern world in this hilarious, action-packed collection of original short stories featuring Atticus O’Sullivan, the two-thousand-year-old Irishman from Kevin Hearne’s New York Times bestselling Iron Druid Chronicles.

• In ancient Egypt, Atticus agrees to raid a secret chamber underneath the library of Alexandria, dodging deadly traps, only to learn that on-site security includes two members of the Egyptian pantheon.
• At a Kansas carnival, fun and games turns to murder and mayhem, thanks to soul-snatching demons and flesh-craving ghouls luring visitors into an all-too-real house of horrors.
• Verily, in olde England, striking up a friendship with William Shakespeare lands both Atticus and the Bard in boiling hot water with a trio of infamous witches.
• During the Gold Rush, the avatar of greed himself turns the streets of San Francisco red with blood and upsets the elemental Sequoia. Atticus may have to fight fire with fire if he’s going to restore balance.

More, you say? Indeed there is—including bogeymen, vampire hordes, wrathful wraiths, and even a journey to the realm of the dead. Prepare to be besieged with nine tantalizing tales—not to be missed, never to be forgotten.


Here are the reasons I tend to enjoy short story collections:

· They can introduce me to new authors;

· They often involve a fun theme, such as different takes on villains, or dragons, or roller derby, pretty much the imagination is the limit; and

· They are quick and easy to read, like a sampler of chocolates.

Unfortunately, when authors come out with short story collections of their OWN works it usually doesn’t achieve any of these goals. Reader’s are often reading the short story collection only because they already know and like the author, and in fact it usually is a terrible place to get to know the authors work if you are a new reader because they tend to jump around between books in the series, thus leaving new readers confused and jumbled. As for the theme, you could say the theme is the series itself, yet often short story collections such as this one are filled with previously published stories, so those that follow the author’s works get little to nothing new to read. On top of all of that the publishing of a short story collection of works in an author’s universe usually means the author is trying to fill time to keep fans satiated between books, which unfortunately often does not work, since it usually contains very few new stories in a series and often does not advance the plot or development of the characters the readers of the series love to read about.

So, after reading all of that should you buy Besieged?

100% yes!

Why, go through all of that negativity then if I’m just going to say to buy the book? Well, I wanted to truly outline how Besieged really is different than most I read.

First, very few of the stories published in Besieged have been published before, which gives actual material for readers to enjoy. Second, much of the new material takes place between the last book in the series, Staked, and the forthcoming book, Scourged (which also so happens to be the last book in the series!). On top of this, most of these are novellas as opposed to short stories. Why is this important? Not only do these novellas give Hearne more room to explore stories and stretch his creative legs, they also serve as a kind of bridge if you will between the books, because of the length of the novellas, readers are truly able to sink their teeth into the world of Atticus and the Druids (including Owen and Granuaile). Not only that, but readers are given a glimpse into the rationale behind Atticus’ motivations through Owen’s eyes. As for the novellas other stories, readers will be treated Granuaile going on a vampire raid, a new vampire threat who is even older than Leif!, Atticus’ previous animal partner, and my personal favorite stories of Owen and the new apprentices.

Ok so, you like the novellas, what else is good about Besieged? How about some of the other fun and exciting short stories. These include stories Atticus vs. the Egyptian gods, Atticus inspiring Hamlet, and even a story from Owen’s perspective on how he originally met and took Atticus on as an apprentice. All of these are awesome and entertaining stories that fans of the series will surely love.

All in all, think of Besieged as less as less of a short story collection and more of book 8.5 of the series. It is entertaining, full of likable characters and helps prepare readers for the events of the Scourged. Because of that alone, it’s a must buy for any fan of Kevin Hearne.


Del Rey

Published: July 11, 2017

Price: $27.00

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