"Woah. He had ghouls on speed dial. My lawyer kicks so much ass.''
An urban fantasy series by Kevin Hearne. Atticus O'Sullivan, a 21-century old Druid living in Tempe, Arizona just likes to peddle fake magic items to hippies. Unfortunately, his peaceful life keeps getting interrupted. Then he gets out his Absurdly Sharp Blade and his iron necklace and proceeds to take names, often with the assistance of his lawyers, a firm made up of a pack of werewolves and a vampire.The main series is:
Shattered (Summer 2014)
Additionally, there are several other stories available:
"Two Ravens and One Crow": A novella set between the events of Tricked and Trapped. It is available on the Kindle or included with Hunted.
"A Test of Mettle": A short story, found here, that takes place during the events of Hammered.
"Clan Rathskeller": Another short story, also on Hearne's website that takes place about ten months before the beginning of Hounded.
"Grimoire of the Lamb": A novella set four years before the start of Hounded.
"The Chapel Perilous" Set around fifteen hundred years before the events of the main series.
Played with in Trapped. Atticus traps Bacchus in an area of slow time. He's effectively trapped, but as far as he knows time is passing normally and not even a single second has passed.
A more straight example, Atticus does this to Artemis, Diana and Mercury in Hunted. He lops off their limbs and encases them in tar and has the local elemental bury their bodies. As they are immortal, they remain alive and fully aware during this.
A more positive example in Laksha. After she transferred her spirit into her ruby necklace she had nothing to do but reflect on her life and the circumstances of her death so she resolved to work on collecting as much good karma as possible if she was ever freed.
Anything That Moves: Zeus expresses interest in Hel, despite the left half of her body being a disgustingly putrescent rotting corpse.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Atticus notes that the villain in "Grimoire of the Lamb" needs to die because he's messing around with really dark magic that could kill part of the Earth, and because he has a way of undoing Druidic bindings and because he punched Atticus.
Artistic License - Biology: Elephant headed Ganesha using his trunk as a straw. As Atticus observes, he's a Physical God and they are talking in a dream, so it really doesn't matter if it shouldn't be possible.
Artistic License - Geology: This is invoked by Atticus when Coyote asks him to magically create a gold vein under some land where Coyote wants to build a mine. Atticus protests that this would be geologically impossible and will probably result in geologists all over the world questioning all they know about geology.
The Atoner: Laksha Kulasekaran, an Indian witch who made bargains with Vedic demons and learned some really nasty magic and was generally evil...until Laser-Guided Karma happened to her. After getting a new body she decided to work on cultivating good karma to make up for all the bad things she'd done in her life.
Batman Gambit: The Morrigan told Aenghus Og that she had promised not to take Atticus, knowing he would use his connections with Hell to summon the Christian Death, so that when Aenghus died the Morrigan wouldn't have to take him, just leave him for Death to take to Hell.
Berserk Button: Atticus tells Bacchus he's "a pale imitation of a better god" just to piss him off.
Big Bad: Aenghus Og in the first book is really the only antagonist that fits the trope effectively.
Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Atticus thinks he killed the last two Bigfoots during his time in the Everglades. He also says he was the figure in the Patterson Film because he was bored at the time.
Body Surf: One of Laksha's primary abilities. She'd done this several times in her backstory before finally surfing into her ruby necklace to escape a Laser-Guided Karma based death. After she was exorcized from the ruby she took up residence is Grannuaille's head and finally into the body of a comatose woman who didn't want to be revived.
Can Not Tell A Lie: Anyone caught in the effect of Fragarach, the Answerer. It forces them to speak nothing but the truth.
Chekhov's Gunman: Toward the beginning of Hunted, the Morrigan gives Atticus the address of a Time Island where someone he may want to retrieve is frozen in time. Eventually, he does have the person pulled out of there, and on the very last page we find out who it is: his old Archdruid.
Clap Your Hands If You Believe: This is partly how gods work, though to what extent is kind of vague. When Atticus asks the widow MacDonagh to pray for Mary with a very specific image and place in mind, he mentions that it's up to Mary to choose to appear in that place with that image.
Cold Iron: More specifically Meteorite Iron. It's antithetical to magic so the best imaginable protection against it. It's also outright poisonous to beings of pure magic (The Fair Folk). Makes spellcasting extremely hard, though. Atticus's mastery of Cold Iron earned him the title of the Iron Druid. However, iron of any kind pretty much cancels out magic resulting in the Iron Age bringing and end to magic in the world.
Contemptible Cover: Has shades of this at times, particularly Tricked, whose cover art could probably be mistaken for a stereotypical romance novel at first glance. The fact that all the novels are paperbacks doesn't help.
Contrived Coincidence: By his own admission, Atticus's Soul Catcher probably shouldn't have worked. It'd require that he die while in contact with the earth, that his body would fall in such a way that his tattoos were actually touching the ground, that his binding would actually keep his soul in place at all and a whole slew of other requirements that the odds of it saving him once were wildly improbable and unlikely to happen again.
Cool Old Guy: Manannán mac Lir lets Atticus keep Fragarach because it pisses off Aenghus Og and helped Atticus get to North America long before that schmuck Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
Cool Old Lady: The widow MacDonagh is a good example. Atticus sits and drinks with her fairly often.
Crazy-Prepared: Atticus has had twenty centuries to improve his magic and craft powerful defenses against his enemies. He resides in Tempe, Arizona specifically because it is the place in North America where a Tuatha Dé Danann would be at his/her weakest and thus least likely to look for him.
Cryptic Conversation: Jesus warned Atticus about going to Asgard with the Thor Revenge Squad, citing incomprehensible forces as a consequence. When pressed, he would only say that he can't tell Atticus what would actually happen because that would be cheating.
Cultured Badass: Leif Helgarson, vampire, attorney at law, a match for Atticus in a Shakespearean quote duel, wears a tailored suit like he was born in it, and tear you, witches, or other vampires limb from blood-pumping limb.
Atticus is no slouch either, being an Omniglot scholar with a habit of killing whichever supernatural that decides to pick a fight with him.
Day Walking Vampire: Theophilus is said to be so old he can not only stay awake during the day but even walk around outside if the weather is sufficiently overcast. For reference, Leif, who is a thousand years old and has the power to match a Physical God, has great difficulty remaining awake after sunrise.
Deadpan Snarker: At the end of Tricked when the Morrigan shows up and calls Atticus Siodhachan (his real name), Grannuaile asks if that's old Irish for "Dumbass".
Deal with the Devil/Bargain with Heaven/Religion is Magic: Gods run on belief and magic runs on belief and deals. Atticus's is with Mother Nature and for lesser extent with the Tuatha Dé Danann (as he is their last true priest/believer). Witches tend to make deals for power with less savory types. Which is the very reason his apprentice chooses him.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: A lot. Lampshaded by Atticus's narration that literally describes the morality of the Tuatha Dé Danann as "Bronze Age" and his own as "Iron Age". He also creeps out his young apprentice several times with his callous disregard of modern sensibilities.
From Bad to Worse: And how! The bad: He agreed to transport an expedition to Asgard to avenge millennia of jerkassery by Thor. Standing in his way? Only most of the Norse gods. The worse: Having succeeded in killing not only Thor but the Norns, Heimdall and Freyr, he's chased down by Thor's brothers and a bunch of other thunder gods. The shit that hits the fan: With the Norns dead, their prophecies are null, meaning Ragnarok can start early. With Thor dead there's no one to fight Jormungandr. With Heimdall dead there's no one to fight Loki. Who it just so happens has broken free and is bat-shit insane. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!
Gaia's Vengeance: In the direct sense, Atticus calling on Sonora as Gaia's champion when he's attacking by a demon at his house. Less directly, this is one of the primary schticks of Druids, but since Atticus was the only one for something in the area of two thousand years, he can't take a very active role in the whole avenging business.
Genre Savvy: Atticus survived twenty-one centuries by being very savvy about the events around him and gathering any information he can about his enemies and allies. This allows him to create powerful defenses and know when it is time to move to a new location.
Gods Need Prayer Badly: Well, not really prayer. The mere fact of knowing and thinking about them is sufficient, but active worship is needed for them to manifest, and how they do so depends on how those praying view them. Jesus notably dislikes manifesting because he always ends up looking pretty horrifying.
This can also cause multiple versions of the same god. There's several Coyotes running around Arizona.
The degree to which gods are shaped and empowered by believers is kind of inconsistent. In Hammered, despite apparently having no believers, Perun remains a viable fighter compared to the Norse, who are explicitly described as being much stronger because they're still remembered thanks to the Prose and Poetic Eddas. Similarly, the Morrigan matches Freya effortlessly in Two Ravens and One Crow and outright kills Vidar in Tricked.
The Grim Reaper: Shows up on his pale horse and everything in the first book. He's a decidedly creepy person.
Half the Man He Used to Be: Challenging a death goddess to a sword fight turns out to be one of Vidar's less intelligent decisions in Tricked.
Home Field Advantage: Druids are very Genre Savvy about this. Atticus has some very powerful enemies looking for him so he spent at least a century setting up his defenses. He befriended all the local nature spirits, allied himself with the local vampire lord and the local werewolf pack and put multiple layers of magical and mundane protections on his home and workplace. His ultimate home field advantage comes from an arrangement he has with Morrigan, one of his pantheon's Death Gods. As long as any battle he is in takes place under the jurisdiction of that god, Atticus cannot die in it. Unfortunately Aunghus Og was just as Genre Savvy and went to extraordinary lengths to nullify all those advantages including making sure that the final battle happened where Morrigan has no jurisdiction and could not (officially) interfere.
Honor Before Reason: Atticus insist on keeping his word to take part of an assassination attempt on Thor despite being told repeatedly from reliable sources that no good will come of it no matter how things turn out and his own personal judgement agreeing with them.
Hot Witch: Nearly every witch in the series. Most of them are actually extremely old and ugly, but are magically altering their appearance.
Hurricane of Puns: Atticus really likes puns, so he uses them for names for various tea blends. There's Virus Immuni-tea, Humili-tea, Mobili-tea and Immortali-tea among others.
I Let You Win: The Morrigan allowed herself to be killed by Artemis and Diana.
Immortality: The various mythological figures cover almost every subtrope of immortality.
Immortality Begins at Twenty: Played with in Atticus' case. He was already an old man when he first came across Airmid, who taught him the recipe for his Immortali-tea, which reduced his age to how he looked in his mid-twenties. Subverted with witches, as they use magic to hide their real age.
It's Personal: Atticus didn't take well to Hel, the Norse goddess of the dead confronting him wearing the skin of the widow Macdonagh.
Before that, Aenghus Og first kidnapping Oberon and Hal, then drawing power from the Earth to open a portal to Hell, which killed the surrounding land for about twenty square miles. Both HUGE no-nos in Druidic law, and a personal blow for anyone intimately connected to the Earth (as all Druids are).
Similarly, Oberon being injured during the fight with Zdenik is what turned Atticus completely against Leif, since the latter had orchestrated the whole thing.
Jerkass Gods: A few. Thor and Aenghus Og stand out in particular. Lampshaded in the "Clan Rathskeller" short story, though in that case it was actually a subversion. Also most believe in Might Makes Right and would murder for rudeness (The Morrigan for example) if the culprit isn't on their power level.
Atticus: Gods can screw anything and anybody. For reference, see history.
Jerk Jock: Thor pretty much personifies this. He is a bully who will do as he pleases and only seems to obey Odin. He likes to play cruel practical jokes and sees nothing wrong with killing humans and supernatural beings for petty reasons.
Knight Templar: The Hammers of God, a multi-religious military organization that targets Atticus because he was present when Aenghus Og opened a portal to Hell.
Laser-Guided Karma: Aenghus Og summoned the Christian Death for his fight with Atticus, because he knew that the Morrigan wouldn't come for him. When Atticus kills him, Death takes him to Hell instead of Tir na Nog.
Laksha is Indian, so she explicitly believes in karma and works to subvert this. Having spent most of her life messing around with evil demons, she's working on collecting good karma to balance the scales.
Last of His Kind: Atticus is the last of the ancient Celtic druids. Only the Tuatha Dé Danann still follow the ancient traditions and they're gods. Atticus can train new druids but the training takes years and over the centuries none of his apprentices lived to complete the final rituals. Except Granuaille, who becomes a full druid in Trapped.
Loophole Abuse: A druid's offensive magic is based on this. Druids cannot directly harm a living being using their magic or the magic will kill the druid on the spot. However, the rules of druid magic do not prohibit indirect harm. So while you cannot just stop an enemy's heart with magic, you can have a hole appear under him to trap his legs so you can cut his head off with a sword.
Atticus's discovery of a loophole in the interaction of magic and iron resulted in his creation of a powerful amulet that lets him resist many types of magic. This makes him way more powerful than a normal druid and able to fight gods.
Magic A Is Magic A: Atticus's magic has very specific rules lined out, but most of the magic seen follows specific rules even if they aren't explicitly stated.
Averted by Jesus who's strong enough to do whatever the hell he wants with his miracles.
Magic Music: Väinämöinen is capable of it when he shows up in the third book. Also, Frank's Blessing Way in the fourth book.
Master of Your Domain: Atticus has gotten very good at this over the years. Morrigan teaches him a useful related technique in the third book.
Memetic Badass: Atticus is this in-universe. As the "iron druid" his touch is deadly to the Fae, creatures composed entirely of magic. Not only that but his mastery of Cold Iron represents a direct challenge to Brighid's authority, even if he himself has no interest in usurping her.
Moral Myopia: Atticus is part of a group that goes after Thor for his crimes against them like murdering their families, pets, making fools of them or just generally being a murderous thug who destroys innocent lives. Yet, they show no reservation at invading his home, killing his family and friends and their pets. One member, Leif, confessed that at least he himself to having killed innocents during his time as a vampire. None of them care. By the end of Hammered Atticus is a thief (stole golden apples from Idunn), murderer (killed the Norns), and liar (claims to have been sent by the dark elves and to be Bacchus risking a war between the Norse and Roman pantheons) who willingly agrees and allows the goddess Freya (who has committed no crime) to be kidnapped by Frost Giants knowing full well they are going to rape her and blames the whole mess on Thor for not fighting the group despite said group not even announcing who they are or why they are attacking (although on that point, they assumed that Thor would remember. He didn't). All Atticus feels is a little bad about the whole mess and a little sorry for Freya.
In general, this seems to pop up an awful lot in magic users. Atticus said as much to Grannuaille at the end of Hounded; the world of magic isn't exactly filled with sunshine and rainbows; it often necessitates making terrible choices and sometimes smells as awful as it is and you better be damn sure you know what you're getting into before you join up.
Mother Nature: The elemental spirit of the entire earth. Atticus communes with her every decade or so. Takes a few weeks because her concept of time is severely disproportionate to his (fondly reminisces about the time of the dinosaurs like it was just last week)
National Stereotypes: The widow MacDonagh is terrified when she sees Atticus kill a man but becomes quite accepting when Atticus tells her the man was British. She is old school Irish about such things.
Nature Spirit: The elementals that Atticus can talk to. They range from a local iron spirit to the Sonoran Desert.
Nested Story: In the third book, the participants in the raid on the Norse plane tell their stories about why they hate Thor and want him to die.
Nominal Hero: Atticus fights because It's Personal, or because his loved ones are threatened, or because of mutual interests and old deals... and occasionally to deal out Gaia's Vengeance, but he makes no claim to being a hero. He spent two thousand years running away from a confrontation with Aenghus Og, only finally deciding to after Brighid and Flidais conspired to force his hand, and even then he might not have gone through with it if Aenghus hadn't opened up a portal to Hell.
Noodle Implements: Atticus never explains how he intends to use granny panties and a bag of marshmallows to punish Coyote for his duplicity.
No Pronunciation Guide: Mercifully averted. As the series makes heavy use of Irish (and later, Old Norse) words and names which are not pronounced anything like they look to English-speakers (For instance, Atticus's original name is Siodhachan O'Suileabhain, pronounced roughly "Sheeyahan O'Sullivan.") the author provides a translation guide for most of the non-English names at the start of the book.
Pretty much every significant character has an extended lifespan. Some try to use this as a gauge for threat level (Atticus is probably X hundred years old, but I'm surely older, and therefore stronger!)
In the Thor Revenge Squad, Gunnar is the youngest, being around three hundred years, while Atticus's 2100ish is the highest confirmed age with Leif being just over a thousand. Zhang Guo Lao's age is never specified, but he should be over 4000 years and Vainamoinen (Finish culture hero) and Perun (Russian god) are probably older.
Omniscient Morality License: By and large Atticus ascribes to the position that the Earth and her servants (I.E. Druids, I.E. Him) trump most other concerns; if it's a choice between his life and the life of Bob Q Somebody, then Bob better update his will because if Bob dies no big deal in the grand scheme of things. If Atticus dies there's no one to protect the Earth and various Genius Loci from evil sorcerers and suchlike.
Physical God: All of them, but the Irish and Norse, and to a lesser extent, the Romans, play the largest roles.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Malina and her coven are on the payroll of several companies as consultants. They mention that they don't actually do anything (just like real consultants), but get paid very well for what they don't do. Justified since they're using magic to convince people to give them free stuff.
Police Are Useless: The police quickly zero in on Atticus as the suspect in the death of a park ranger but are in fact manipulated by his enemies. However, on their own they still prove to be a constant problem to Atticus who has to use his lawyers and various illusions to get them to back down. In the second book it is played straight because the police simply are not trained to handle rampaging supernatural beings that are immune to bullets.
Post-Modern Magik: Ghouls with refrigerated trucks, car chases with chariot riding gods, werewolf attorneys, handgun wielding Nazi witches and military weapon sporting Draugr.
Psychopomp: Several show up, but the main one is the Morrigan who made a deal with Atticus that she will never choose him and take his soul beyond.
It's important to note that he only has protection from her and not other psychopomps. She's the default person to bring him to his afterlife, but it won't stop any other death god from taking him if he dies in a situation that falls under their purview.
Public Domain Artifact: "The Chapel Perilous" focuses on the "true" story behind the search for the Holy Grail, which is actually Dagda's Cauldron.
Rage Against the Mentor / Heavens: Grannuaille gets angry at Atticus after she meets the Tuatha de Dannan because they're mostly assholes that don't meet her ideal of a god, and she believed that being a Druid would require her to worship them. Atticus is quick to assure her that just because he worships them doesn't mean she has to; the only extra-human entity she is beholden to is the Earth itself.
Squee: We are treated to a somewhat extended discussion of this in Hexed when Atticus finds out that Leif is famous in the Vampire community. Atticus asks Leif if other vampires squee when they see him, and confesses that he has squeed over meeting "Neil Fucking Gaiman".
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Druid magic cannot be used to kill or harm directly. It is okay to give yourself super-strength and do it with a sword.
Time Dissonance: The spirit of the Earth fondly reminisces about the time of the dinosaurs as if it were just last week.
Too Stupid To Live: Vidar, big time. Challenged the Morrigan, a goddess who can choose who dies in battle, to a sword fight. You can imagine how well that went.
Gods in general are plagued by this. Brigid tries to kill Atticus with magic despite knowing Atticus has an amulet that makes him immune to magic (well, she thought she was strong enough to overcome it, but still) and a sword that can cut through anything. Odin is apparently tricked by a lie Atticus came up with on the fly. According to Perun, Thor tricked virtually every other thunder god, and by extension nearly every other god on the planet, to not have their stories written down causing them to be largely forgotten in modern day compared to the gods whose stories were written down like the Greek and Norse. Thor himself is repeatedly stated to be a brutish thug and moron.
Atticus' horse in the Chapel Perilous has this opinion of Atticus.
Apple Jack: I don't understand why you're in charge when you are incapable of making decisions in your own self-interest. "Oh, look!" you say. "A slain human! Instead of running away from this obviously perilous chapel, I think I'll stick my neck in and see if it gets chopped off!"
Trickster Archetype: Coyote plays shows up frequently and Loki is mentioned, and is a major antagonist starting in Tricked.
Trickster Mentor: Atticus's old Archdruid was prone to smacking him with his staff when he wasn't paying attention or concealed something from him, and is mentioned to have thrown a pissed off rooster at Atticus. Nevertheless his tutelage allowed Atticus to survive for the last two thousand years, and it's implied that he himself may still be alive as well, as Atticus mentions never having seen him in Tir na Nog. At the very end of Hunted, it's revealed that he is alive because the Morrigan preserved him on a Time Island and gave Atticus its location at the beginning of said book.
All Druids have a different set of animals they can turn into: A hoofed animal for speed, a clawed predator for fighting, a bird to fly around as and an aquatic animal for swimming.
Atticus can assume the form of a stag, a hound, an owl or an otter at will.
Granuaille can turn into a horse, a panther, a falcon and a sea lion.
The Morrigan turns into a "battlecrow".
Manannán mac Lir can turn into a killer whale or a great shearwater.
Aenghus Og is mentioned to be able to turn into a swan.
Werewolves are werewolves.
Coyote is Coyote.
Skinwalkers can change into different animals as long as they wear cloaks woven from that animal's skin. They take on the abilities of that animal, which is the main reason that Coyote doesn't want to risk dealing with them himself.
Weirdness Censor: Attitus is very careful not too attract to much attention to himself so people are more likely to dismiss anything strange going on around him. It is a constant source of frustration that his neighbours are too inquisitive.
Leif, a thousand year old vampire, is very confident that people will dismiss the events at the stadium as just gang warfare. Considering that Leif killed over sixty rival vampires during one night and left all of their bodies for the police to find, Atticus is not so sure but does not have time to worry about it too much.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Druids like Atticus or the Tuatha Dé Danann can handle immortality fairly well due to their training and bond with nature. When Atticus tried to share his immortality potion with some of his children, after a few lifetimes they started going insane.
Year Outside, Hour Inside: The Time Islands in Tir na Nog. People trapped in there experience time normally, but relative to the rest of the world it takes several millennia for them to so much as blink.