Series: The Hollows

May 19, 2016

Review | The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison

Review | The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim HarrisonThe Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison
Series: The Hollows, #2
Publisher: HarperTorch, January 2005
Pages: 453
Format: Ebook
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Rachel Morgan, sexy witch, independent bounty hunter, prowls the downtown Cincinnati for criminal creatures of the night. She can handle leather-clad vamps and a cunning demon or two. But a serial killer who feeds on the experts in the most dangerous kind of black magic is an ancient, implacable evil that threatens her very soul.

Rachel Morgan is finally getting used to life as an independent bounty hunter (even though The Good, the Bad, and the Undead begins with what one could charitably call an unsuccessful run) when life throws her a curveball: the case of the missing warlock. As she starts digging, a new plot comes to light, complete with a serial killer stalking witches. What’s a girl to do?

Safe to say, I had mixed reactions to the characters in The Good, the Bad, and the Undead. I loved Rachel’s development from the first book in the series. She’s finally becoming comfortable in her own skin and being on her own. Her dependencies on others (specifically Ivy) are lessening, and her somewhat snarky true nature (which I love) is shining through.

Yet I had major issues with the two characters closest to Rachel, her boyfriend and her roommate.

I WANT NICK TO GROW A BACKBONE. (Yes, it needed all caps.) He feels like such a pushover, like there’s no motivation or thought process of his own. He makes some of the most ridiculous decisions View Spoiler » that drove me bananas. Ivy, in turn, has plenty of backbone, but needs to learn how to use it in the right way. The push and pull between Rachel and her is interesting, but when Ivy’s breakdown makes her MIA for a good section of the book, it’s too much.

I can’t get a read on these two characters. They’re entirely out of my realm, and without the connection to their motives, they feel more like flotsam than supporting characters.

However, I loved every other character. Trent’s revelation kept The Good, the Bad, and the Undead moving at a fantastic pace and made him my favorite character of the series. Jenks’ personality offsets Rachel’s perfectly and he’s easy to identify with. The family dynamics between Edden and Glenn (the two cops Rachel works with) cracked me up and wove into the story well.

Despite the ups and downs with the characters, I’m intrigued to see what Harrison will pull out next. Rachel’s stories are fun, a little wacky, and make for great reads. I just hope I can find a connection with the supporting characters to keep me invested.

3 Stars

Posted May 19, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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March 14, 2016

Review | Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

Review | Dead Witch Walking by Kim HarrisonDead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
Series: The Hollows, #1
Publisher: HarperTorch, July 2004
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
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All the creatures of the night gather in "the Hollows" of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party... and to feed.

Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining - and it's Rachel Morgan's job to keep that world civilized.

A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she'll bring 'em back alive, dead... or undead.

Rachel Morgan is not having a good day.

After quitting her job at the Inderland Security, Rachel finds out her boss is out for revenge. Word spreads quickly – she finds her stuff in the hallway outside of her (newly-changed) locked apartment. She quickly finds out that isn’t the only thing that’s wrong -her boss has placed a price on her head. She makes her way with the help of Jenks (the adorably irritating pixy) to the Hollows, the magical neighborhoods on the other side of Cincinnati, to the place Ivy, her vampire coworker, rented. Unfortunately for Rachel, the trouble’s just started.

The first time I read Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking, I didn’t realize it took place in an alternate fantasy world until I was frustrated by humans’ strange fear of tomatoes. (A genetically engineered tomato was the carrier for a horrible virus that killed off a good portion of the population and brought the creatures of the night out from their hiding places.) Going into it with a new frame of mind (and a little research, thank you Google) helped me enjoy the little nuances like the mistrust between the two police service agencies, Inderland Service (magical) and Federal Inderland Bureau (human).

Rachel’s world is fascinating: a dark, slightly apocalyptic take on what would happen if magical creatures revealed themselves. I loved the little details: why bus drivers weren’t afraid to go to the Hollows, the rivalry between fairies and pixies, that Demonology as a second language may actually become useful someday…

I loved Rachel. As a character, she’s perceived as a bit of a screw-up, someone who hasn’t quite yet earned her stripes. It was something I could definitely identify with. Some of her decisions seemed odd, but Harrison built up the rationale and motive in the first person narrative to make them cohesive with the story.

I expected Dead Witch Walking to have a strong romantic element, and was a bit relieved when it didn’t. There’s so much going on in the character and plot developments that adding a fully-fledged romantic story would make Dead Witch Walking quickly feel overwhelming. There are a few hints of it, quite a few sexual references and allusions, but for the most part, Harrison’s first installment remained an adventure/mystery.

I’m glad I picked Dead Witch Walking back up. Rachel’s personality clicks with me much more now than it did a few years ago, and finally having a background into the world made me appreciate the magical twists Harrison created.

3 Stars

Posted March 14, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 1 Comment
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