Book Review: The Druid Next Door, by E.J. Russell
Former Queen’s Enforcer Mal Kendrick doesn’t think his life could get any worse: he’s been exiled from Faerie with a cursed and useless right hand. When he’s not dodging random fae assassins in the Outer World, he’s going toe-to-toe with his tree-hugging neighbor. And when he discovers that the tree-hugger is really a druid, he’s certain the gods have it in for him—after all, there’s always a catch with druids. Then he’s magically shackled to the man and expected to instruct him in Supernatural 101.
All right, now things couldn’t possibly get worse.
Until a mysterious stranger offers a drunken Mal the chance to gain back all he’s lost—for a price. After Mal accepts, he discovers the real catch: an ancient secret that will change his and Bryce’s life forever.
Ah, what the hells. Odds are they won’t survive the week anyway.
First off, I felt that the book dragged in the middle. It felt like 300+ pages, which is a problem I find with long books. Either 300 pages will whiz by before you know it, because it's so great and flows brilliantly throughout, or it drags and really feels like 300 pages, because it takes so long to read. This one, unfortunately, was the latter. There was a little too much plot here, though it all came together in the end. Bit it felt more like three shorts linked together by the overall plot, because there was so much going on that each sub-plot felt like it lasted a really, really long time.
The relationship worked. That's brilliant, because I really liked Mal in the previous book. He was so mysterious and interesting and I loved that he changed in this book, not instantly but organically, because of the events that happened in book 1. I really liked Bryce, too. He was this stiff-upper-lip guy who had the fire and the attitude to fight for what he believed in, but was also a bit of a geek. I loved that mix and, together, they had some great chemistry.
I loved seeing David and Alun again, seeing how their relationship had progressed and grown since the end of book 1. I also loved seeing more of Gareth and learning more about his background, in preparation for the next book.
“I’ll go now and call Aunt Cassie. I can’t guarantee she won’t show up here later anyway, to check on Bryce’s homework, but—”