The required class book for this week was Hounded, the first book in author Kevin Hearne's series, the Iron Druid Chronicles. While I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if I were browsing for a new book to read myself based on the cover art or book description, I found myself quite enjoying it. It has a lot of Irish folklore blended in with the usual fantastical creatures like werewolves and vampires, though not in the traditional sense. There's also some really tremendous humor in the book – particularly from the mouth of a snarky Irish wolfhound named Oberon, who can communicate with his druidic owner and the series main character, Atticus O'Sullivan. While I would read the next book in the series, I won’t be going out of my way to see what happens next. Considering all of the other great books out there I don’t feel obligated or particularly excited read the next one (at least not anytime soon).
My selected fantasy title for the week was the tremendous Neil Gaiman's, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, published in 2013 and reviewed below.
I give this book:
When a middle-aged man returns home for a funeral, he somehow finds himself at a farmhouse down the road from where he grew up. Trying to piece together why he was drawn there, this unnamed man’s mind is suddenly awash with details of forgotten memories involving Lettie Hempstock, the remarkable little girl who once lived there, and maybe still does.
Forty years earlier, the nameless man was just a nameless boy with a passion for reading and an affinity for his pet kitten. One day a peculiar man steals the family’s car and commits suicide down the road near the Hempstock farm. After the 7-year-old boy and his father go to retrieve the car, the boy’s life quickly turns into something out of one of his storybooks – sometimes fantastical, other times terrifying. Luckily for the boy, his new friend Lettie has sworn to protect him … no matter what.
A book that started out as a short story, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is an incredible work of fiction. An enchanting story about sacrifice and true friendship, this title has received a variety of awards and nominations, including winning the 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards for Fantasy. A book that Gaiman wrote “for anyone who has ever been seven years old," The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one not to be missed.