I’d have to say Tricked is probably the weakest of the Iron Druid series so far, yet it was still a great read. As the title implies, there are plenty of tricks, and at the forefront is Coyote, the trickster god. Atticus faces some of his hardest challenges yet. On top of it all, there’s a bit more sadness to the tale than usual.
Keeping in check with the previous novels, Tricked shifts to a new mythological theme: the Navajo. Readers will get glimpses of the Navajo’s belief system, their views on spirits, and more background on Coyote. The trickster god does a few favors for Atticus. Of course the question is: what will it cost him? Aside from Coyote, Atticus and Granuaile mingle with a few of the Navajo including a medicine man named Frank Chischilly. Kevin develops Frank into an interesting character that helps Atticus and Granuaile deal with the badguys of the story.
The primary villains in this story are skinwalkers. Skinwalkers are humans inhabited by dark spirits who can shape shift by wearing other skins. They are also faster and stronger than Atticus. Take into account the loss of Atticus’ magic sword, Fragarach, and you end up with an outmatched hero. Atticus gets into several close scrapes, and with the help of his friends, he manages to get bye. But skinwalkers aren’t the only foes Atticus must face.
As always, Kevin Hearne lays down some ground work that seems ripe for future plotlines. Leif manages to survive his battle against Thor, but now he needs help regaining control of Arizona from invading vampires. Even more dire is the appearance of Hel, one of Loki’s daughters. Atticus’ refusal to side with her leads to an ominous parting of ways. She’ll be back, but what will it mean for everyone else? Especially given the fact that a whole league of gods are worried enough to coerce Atticus into standing against her.
The one thing I didn’t like about Tricked was Leif. I love Leif the vampire lawyer who had a grudge against Thor. The setup there was endlessly entertaining. However, Leif and Atticus have a falling out in Tricked. I really liked Leif and it pained me to see their friendship dissolved. It’s never any fun when a story takes two characters you enjoy and puts them at odds against each other. There are a few strands left, though, and I hoping against hope that they can be mended.
All in all, I liked the Native American theme and the change in scenery in Tricked. I didn’t much care for the fallout between Atticus and Leif, which definitely hurt my enjoyment some. Nevertheless, Tricked is a good book, a little weaker than the previous three in the series, but still worth a four out of five metal bikinis.