“There are many perks to living for twenty-one centuries, and foremost among them is bearing witness to the rare birth of genius. It invariably goes like this: Someone shrugs off the weight of his cultural traditions, ignores the baleful stares of authority, and does something his countrymen think to be completely batshit insane. Of those, Galileo was my personal favorite. Van Gogh comes in second, but he really was batshit insane.”
Man of the hour is Atticus O’Sullivan. He’s a 2000 year-old Druid masquerading as a 21 year-old occult bookstore owner/tea dealer in Phoenix, Arizona. He lives a quiet life; he passes the time chatting with the elderly Irish widow across the street or with his Irish bloodhound, Oberon (yes, the dog talks), flirting with a possessed bartender, and consorting with werewolves and vampires. Like I said, quiet life. Unfortunately, that quiet life is disrupted when his location is discovered by an old Celtic-god-made-enemy, Aengus Og. You see, he thinks Atticus has something that he needs; something that he feels rightfully belongs to him and not to a Druid: An old Fae sword known as Fragarach or the Answerer. Minor spoiler alert: he has it. And after centuries of searching, Aengus Og isn’t about to let it slip away.
There isn’t really anything I particularly disliked about this book, nor is there anything I was really over the moon about. It is one of those that I would say was really okay, and if I hadn’t been in such a book slump when I read it, it might have been more than just really okay. The characters were interesting, I laughed out loud several times, and I loved the widow and the dog. Atticus…I really liked this guy. He made for a decent, amusing narrator and did actually seem much more like a 21 year-old than a 2000 year-old Druid, which was a little awkward, but was all by design on his part:
“I have been around long enough to discount most superstitions for what they are: I was around when many of them began to take root, after all. But one superstition to which I happen to subscribe is that bad juju comes in threes. The saying in my time was, “Storm clouds are thrice cursed,” but I can’t talk like that and expect people to believe I’m a twenty-one year-old American. I have to say things like, “Shit happens, man.”
…But here I am getting off-topic again. Anyway. Here is what kept the book from being more than just really okay for me: there was no sense of urgency; no intensity. My heart didn’t pound and I wasn’t emotionally invested or compelled to turn the page. I had no stake in what was going to happen. It seemed like every few pages, someone else was showing up at Atticus’s doorstep to kill him, and neither of us had any idea who was coming or what their role in the plot was, and then they were dead. Lather, rinse, repeat. I found myself more interested in the dialogue or when the old lady was going to show up and say something funny or what prank he was going to play on his neighbor next. Oh, neighbors.
So while I wanted to love this, it just didn’t quite happen. Will I continue the series? Maybe. I’ll put book 2 on my ‘Save for a Rainy Day’ list. But it doesn’t rain much in the desert, so don’t hold your breath.