Spoilers for the previous six books in the series.
Shattered picks up right where we left off. Atticus’s archdruid Owen has been pulled from the Time Islands, his language and mentality still stuck in the time before Jesus Christ was born. Atticus quickly has to bring him up to speed so he doesn’t get himself in trouble, all while still trying to deal with the faction in Tir Na nOg that is still trying to kill him secretly. Meanwhile, Granuaile is called to India to try and rescue her father from a raksoyuj that has possessed him after he opened an item found on a dig that had written on its label “Absolutely Do Not Open” (or something to that affect).
The book is split into three POVs: Atticus, Owen, and Granuaile. This works absurdly well. Hearne does a bang up job differentiating their voices, and the move from story to story makes the book feel shorter than it is. Mostly because of Owen, the first 2/3 or so of this book are extremely fun to read. He is just a walking culture clash, not to mention his history with Atticus, which involves some actual emotional conflict (and resolution) on their part. Granuaile’s story isn’t fun at first, per se, but it is interesting. Dealing with demonic beings called rakshasas, and then going off and meeting yeti and such, all of that was interesting, but then it all goes to hell for her, and that’s when the book started feeling less fun as well, but not in a bad way. Granuaile has serious consequences to her actions (or non-actions) and begins to reckon with the choice she made all those years ago to become a druid.
The eventual conflict, when it’s finally revealed who within the Irish pantheon has committed treason, is also exciting, but still emotionally relevant. Hearne really does a nice job making the conflict have actual weight rather than just being a bloody conflict, and I’m not talking about body count (though there is that to reckon with as well). As mentioned above, the end here hints at some troubling things to come. I’ve seen that not a lot of people appreciated the ending to Atticus’s story, so I’m a little worried about how it’s all going to turn out. I don’t think Hearne much cares what collateral damage gets in the way of the story he’s wanting to tell.
Oh, and for some more levity, now there are TWO talking Irish wolfhounds, and one of them is still learning language, so that’s a delight.