Hounded - Kevin Hearne A new book by a new author, I picked this one up because it just seemed like everywhere I looked, the consensus is the same: "Recommended for fans of the Dresden Files."

I can see why -- both are narrated by a male protagonist in the first person with a modern, "hip" voice. Both are humorous and full of pop culture references. Harry Dresden has a talking skull named Bob, Atticus O'Sullivan has an Irish wolfhound he talks to named Oberon. They both keep paranormal company like werewolves, witches and vampires. And always, there's some bad guy trying to kill them, and action ensues. It's inevitable that comparisons will be drawn between these two series.

Atticus, however, is a 2,100 year old druid, and despite taking place in modern day Tempe, Arizona, "Hounded" is steeped in Celtic mythology and culture.

I had a lot of fun reading this book. I would say it is better than the average debut novel, but it is not without its problems. At times, Atticus can be a bit too smug for my taste, and some of the dialogue and references feel forced. It's almost like the author is overcompensating in trying to make the readers buy that the protagonist is 2,100 years old successfully disguising himself by sounding like a 21-year-old college frat boy.

I am also curious as to how this series will progress. Atticus comes off as a Mary Sue sometimes -- he's got "faults" but not real faults, and also because he's just so damn powerful. One thing I'm really liking about the Dresden Files series so far is the character growth we see in Harry with each subsequent novel. He is a flawed protagonist with limits to his power, and he is often surrounded by foes more dangerous and more skilled than he is. We get to see Harry grow as a character, as well as his skill and power increase as the series progresses.

On the other hand, I don't know if we'll see a lot of that in the Iron Druid Chronicles. Atticus already seems to have a magical solution for every problem, or friends that do. There were plot gaps and situations that lacked resolution, conveniently explained away by the many "I'll-just-wave-my-magic-wand" or "It'll-be-taken-care-of-later" moments.

I'm interested in seeing how things will turn out though. Like I said, it was a fun read, and it's always refreshing to read a new urban fantasy novel that doesn't suck. I will definitely be picking up the second book as well as the third.