So we’ve finally come to it – the book that would make or break the entire series for me! Hammered by Kevin Hearne is the third installment of The Iron Druid Chronicles and happens to be the book that answers two questions that have been bugging me since I started reading these books.
- Can Hearne successfully turn Jesus into a character within his book? (In this case, “successfully” entails not upsetting me to the point that I quit reading.)
- Can Hearne reconcile all of the lore that paints Thor as a good guy with his portrayal of Thor as a villain?
Well, the answer is “yes” on both counts – perhaps not a full-on enthusiastic “yes”, but a “yes” nonetheless.
In regards to the portrayal of Jesus, Hearne succeeded in the fact that he didn’t alienate me as a reader, but it was a rather uncomfortable segment to read. I was just waiting to be made unhappy by an ill-timed snarky quip (or just by one snarky quip too many), and it felt like Hearne was aware that he was treading on a delicate topic when he wrote the scene, because the writing was more subdued and cautious, less gleefully sarcastic. But, in the end, while it will never be one of my favorite scenes, he managed to write a sufficiently respectful take on my savior that still had a few funny moments.
So, having avoided the first pitfall, we move on to the final battle with Thor.
Hearne’s Thor makes enough sense as a villain that I won’t quibble too much. He’s not evil, he’s just brash and thoughtless, and as a god, he doesn’t care to fix those character flaws. The finishing touch is that, when confronted by the people he has hurt over the years, Hearne’s Thor has no idea what they’re talking about. That just drives home the fact that while he may not be malicious, he just doesn’t care. It works for me… at least enough that I’ll keep reading.
Anyways, this book holds up under some pretty heavy pressure (most of it based in my own personal bias, but still). Beyond resolving my worries about the series, its writing is tight as usual. It has a good balance between action and exposition and the humor well-timed for the most part. If I had to complain, I’d say that Hearne relies on stereotypes for his jokes a bit to often, so occasionally that will grate, but on the whole, I’m still enjoying the series very much.