After all the help he got dealing with the bad guys in Hounded and Hexed, Atticus owes favors, so he sets out to get those paid off in Hammered. The theme is Norse mythology — first Atticus has to steal one of Iðunn’s golden apples from Asgard, then he must help Leif, his vampire lawyer, kill Thor. Leif must have been planning for this for a long time because he’s bringing along a bunch of other guys who want Thor dead, too.
Hammered feels much different from Hounded and Hexed. Instead of the modern Tempe, Arizona setting, most of the action in Hammered takes place in, or traveling to and from, Asgard. Oberon, who provides the comic relief, is left at home, and so is Granuaile, the wide-eyed perky apprentice. Thus, Hammered is quite a bit darker than the previous novels. The action is forestalled for a while when the characters stop to tell stories about why they want to kill Thor. This works well with Leif, who we have grown to care for, but perhaps not so well (at least for me) with the other guys, who I didn’t feel like I knew well enough to care about. It does, however, serve to explain why Thor must die.
Hammered was certainly entertaining, but I didn’t enjoy this installment as much as I enjoyed Hounded and Hexed, mostly because it focuses less on some of the elements that have made the IRON DRUID CHRONICLES so successful thus far — the bookshop in Tempe, Atticus’s neighbors and, most of all, the faithful and funny Oberon. It doesn’t help that I’m a bit weary of Norse mythology, having read quite a bit of it already this year.
I perked up at the end of Hammered when something dreadful happens and is left as a cliffhanger. I will definitely be eager to learn the resolution to this in the next novel, Tricked, and I’ll definitely be reading it on audio because Luke Daniels, the narrator, is awesome.