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“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
― Voltaire

Hammered - Kevin Hearne A little more challenging for me than it's predecessors, Hounded and Hexed. Much darker, and more clearly part of a series; the other two worked well as stand alone books but this one picks up where the last stops and has little in the way of exposition. Character building seems a bit more uncomfortable; I'm not sure that I really like Atticus very much in this book. Officially, he is keeping both the letter of his word, to the witch Laksha and to the vampire, Leif. However, it means breaking his tenuous social obligations to his apprentice, his employees and business, and to his friend, Mrs. MacD and allies. This may be the crux of why I've started to become more uncomfortable with him as a hero. While he keeps his word nominally, frequently he does so begrudgingly, with dire consequences to those around him and at the cost of obligations to others. That forest we spoke of having an obligation to in Hounded and Hexed? Yeah, that's right--turns out he must not have given it his word. It becomes especially saddening when he is warned by both Jesus and Morrigan that this vendetta may cause the end of the world as we know it--and his death--he doesn't see the end of the world or more selfishly, his life as a reason to change his path. Sure, ancient druids were war-like. But I would have thought they would have felt an obligation to the earth and humanity. Respecting Atticus became even more challenging as he made plans to flee the valley, recognizing vampires were moving in to test Leif, Bacchus was outside of town and the religious group was coming to town. It ended up resolving acceptably, but it's a character mix that just doesn't make sense: he'll risk everything to keep his word to Leif, but then walk away from other fights and obligations? Color me confused. Although I am not at all religious, I found the Jesus section of the book to be somewhat uncomfortable. Has Hearne lost his way? The serious action moments of stealing an apple and sneaking back to town coupled with meeting Jesus for fish and chips seems a little odd--should I be laughing? Appreciating that he is equating Jesus to other immortals? I don't quite know what to think of his inclusion in the pantheon.We lost most of Oberon's humor this time, and that's a big laugh hit. Atticus does have a number of funny asides, and the bits with the frost giants are funny. I do like the storytelling device of having each member of the party look back and talk about his reasons to kill Thor. It added dimension to the characters, and made Thor seem to be almost deserving. I confess myself confused, however, as to why the Greek and Roman gods are true immortals and the Norse ones aren't. And, of course, there's the cliffhanger ending. Yes, the fight itself is resolved, but very little fallout is covered, and the book is ended on an escape scene. I personally feel as if cliffhanger endings are a cheap play towards improving sales and increasing buzz, so I tend to think less of an author who uses them. A strong character, world-building and sufficient plot will keep me coming back, especially if there is an overarching series conflict-building as there is in Atticus' world. Using a cliffhanger just seems like he's resorting to tricks instead of skill.Overall, I'll catch the next in the series, but I'm not sure it's shelf-worth--may just have to wait on the library.