The Hollows, to present

I’ve been zooming through books recently and haven’t had much time to update my blog, so this one might be a long one.  I left off my review of Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series with A Fistful of Charms. Following on the heels of that book comes For a Few Demons More.

In this book, Rachel Morgan still has the 5,000 year old demon made Focus in her possession and someone has found out that it is in Cincinnati. Someone is killing off werewolves in Cincinnati trying to find it and take it away from them and a serial killer seems to be on the loose, going after human women with no discernible link.  Rachel gets pulled in by the FIB and Detective Glenn to help investigate and the trail leads to Rachel’s own Alpha, David Hue.  Add master vampire Piscary and Trent Kalamack into the loop and things get really complicated, real fast.

Of course, once Rachel does get things figured out…she gets stupid.  Kim Harrison hasn’t quite gotten passed putting her main character in situations that are created entirely from her own stupidity.  And the only way for Rachel’s stupidity to be fixed is by summoning a demon, a new one by the name of Minias.  Spoiler alert: The werewolf focus gets magically sealed into Alpha David Hue.  This allows him to create werewolves by biting a humans, which hasn’t been done in thousands of years.

Next up is The Outlaw Demon Wails. With (spoiler) Kisten dead at the hands of some unknown enemy, Rachel’s life is in the midst of falling apart. Not that it was every really together.  Now, however, she’s even more determined to not do stupid things. At least, not before determining that stupid is absolutely the only way out.  Which happens to be the case in this book.  With at least one demon after Rachel and she has to figure out who is setting him on her, why and how to stop them.  Her trip will lead her into the ever after with her hated enemy Trent Kalamack on a trip that will save both her and the Elves.  But she has to survive first and to survive, she has to embrace the fact that she can spin demon magic.

White Witch, Black Curse.  Rachel is determined to figure out who murdered her vampire lover Kisten two novels ago, but ends up getting side tracked by a banshee.  Rachel’s FIB friend Detective Glenn gets injured in the line of duty and Rachel and Ivy are called in to help.  Rachel figures out that one of those involved is a banshee, who sucks the aura/emotions out of people.  Here we find out what Ivy did with the leprechaun wish she received in the first novel and how it relates to the banshee problem.

We’re also introduced to a new character, a witch by the name of Gordian Nathanial Pierce.  He starts out life as a ghost of a witch who is (conveniently) buried in the cemetery in Rachel’s backyard.  He was, in his day, one of the most powerful witches out there.  He and Rachel met when she accidentally gave him a body some dozen years ago or so. Rachel had thought him finally at rest, but such is not the case.  He ends up getting a new body by agreeing to become the demon Al’s familiar.  This also ties in with the banshee later on down the road.

Rachel causes a lot of destruction and gets a bit of bad press from the pursuit of the banshee, which probably helps lead up to the situation she finds herself in in Black Magic Sanction.  Rachel has been blacklisted by the coven of witches that guides the moral fiber of witch society. It’s something left over from when witches had to hide, but it’s still a very real thing for modern witches. While I can’t remember the term off the top of my head, it basically means that she can’t buy anything from a witch or a witch-run business in good standing.

To top it all off, this particular branch of witches want to use her as a lab rat to increase the power of witches.  They want to harvest her eggs and/or lobotomize her to get her ability to spin demon magic.  Ex-boyfriend Nick shows up again when the coven forces him to summon her.  Since she switched her summoning name with Al’s in the last adventure, the initial summoning might have been construed as a mistake.  And Nick does help summon Rachel back to Cincinnati a few hours later.

Adding to her troubles is Trent Kalamack, who is pissed by the fact that in the ever after (which he will most likely never set foot in again), he is consider Rachel’s familiar-a situation that is akin to being owned. He hates the thought of that and instead of simply asking Rachel to remove her mark on his body, he tries to force her into a contract that would legally bind her as his property in this realm.  Rachel, obviously, will have none of either and finds a way out of the situation in a suitably destructive and public manner.

Nick pits himself firmly in the asshole category in this book.  He sells out Rachel to Trent, unsuccessfully, but thanks to Ivy and Jenks’ well placed mistrust of him, Rachel hears all the details through a radio transmitter. It is highly unlikely that Nick will have Rachel’s help ever again. At least one would hope.  However, she might have reconciled with Trent Kalamack, who turns out to be a very old friend from when she was sick as a kid.

I keep flip-flopping on whether or not I like Kalamack.  There are times when I am truly repulsed by his behavior. But at the end of this book, I am almost rooting for Rachel and Trent to at least do the nasty if not get together. The story arc is obviously going somewhere that should be culminating in the next book (or two perhaps) and I can’t wait to see what lies in store in Pale Demon.

The Hollows, IV

Book four of Kim Harrison’s Hollows series is A Fistful of Charms. For some reason, I am continually entertained by Harrison’s titles being plays on Clint Eastwood movies.  Charms opens up with Rachel Morgan getting a visit by her partner Jenks’s wife Matalina coming for a visit to beg help from Rachael.

It turns out that Rachel’s ex-boyfriend, the human Nick Sparagamos, isn’t what Rachel thought he was.  Instead of being a human that academically dabbled in magic, Nick turns out to be a thief.  And his thieving has gotten him into big trouble around Mackinac, MI. Matalina gets involved because Nick has taken her eldest child, son Jax, with him and introduced him to the thieving lifestyle.  Jenks, being the prideful and stubborn pixie that he is, couldn’t bring himself to ask for help.

Rachel decides that she has to help free Nick from his latest trouble, if only so she can tell him where to shove it in person and to help Jenks get his son Jax back and out of trouble.  But it’s still cold out and pixies don’t do so well in the cold. If Jenks and Matalina hadn’t been inside a warm home during the winter months, they and their children would have been hibernating.  Rachel’s solution is to get the help of elf Ceri and to twist some demon magic to make Jenks human sized.

This is a pretty neat bit of magic but Rachel once again shows her stupidity with it. Or perhaps her knack for convincing herself that what she’s doing isn’t stupid.  Demon magic puts a black mark on your soul, regardless of whether or not you actually have to kill something to twist it.  The spell to make Jenks big doesn’t require any death or animal bits and pieces so Rachel convinces herself that it’s just a slightly more powerful earth magic charm.

Ceri forcefully sets her straight and I’m hoping this marks a turning point for the character of Rachel Morgan.  She’s starting to realize that she is woefully unprepared for her lifestyle.  Now that she realizes this, perhaps she’ll be a little less leaping before she looks and a little more be prepared.

At any rate, it’s a neat bit of magic that turns tiny hand sized pixie Jenks into a six foot four dreamboat right in the middle of Rachel’s kitchen.  At the same time, she also twists a demon curse that will allow her to Were (turn into a wolf) if she needs to, seeing as she had barely gotten out of an alpha challenge earlier. Both of these things come into play later.

Rachel leaves Cincinnati for Michigan with Jenks shortly after working both spells and realizes that while Jenks might look human, he still acted like a pixie.  He played with everything, lived on sugary foods and couldn’t go more than a few hours without a pit stop.

Once in Michigan, they quickly discover that Nick was kidnapped by Weres and imprisoned on a private island Were sanctuary and that Jax was MIA.  After shopping for some basic necessities, Jenks pixie habit of being overly curious pays off when he discovers a pamphlet for a butterfly house.  Sure enough, when he and Rachel break in after hours, Jax is there with his new pet kitten and he spills the whole story.

Nick had swindled not one but two groups of Weres in regards to an ancient Were artifact that would all Weres to create others through biting (a la vampires) and bring all Weres together in a sort of super pack.  Said artifact is demon created and had been, until recently, kept by the vampires in order to prevent Weres from getting their paws on it.

Long story short, Rachel finds and rescues Nick with Jenks’ considerable help and gets herself in deep trouble once more.  The Were pack that had been torturing Nick for the location of the artifact now thinks that she knows where it is.  She doesn’t…not until Ivy shows up with said artifact in Kisten’s Corvette.  Nick had sent it to Rachel just like Henry Jones Sr had sent his grail diary to Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade.  Since Nick believed Rachel to be dead (from the shenanigans in the previous book), he figured that was the safest way to get it out of Michigan.

Rachel cooks up an extravagant plan involving doppelganger charms, a living vampire named Peter and a car wreck to convince the Weres that Nick is dead and the artifact destroyed.  But she also realized that Nick, being a thief, is no longer trustworthy and may in fact try to steal the artifact from her during this whole thing.  Without telling him, she switches the artifact with something else and entrusts it to Jenks only.

Her original plan goes awry with Nick’s backstabbing, but the general effect works out to be the same. The Weres think that Nick is dead and the artifact destroyed, while neither is true.  Nick is very much alive, despite plunging into Lake Huron in a two thousand pound tow truck and he thinks he has the real artifact.  Jenks’ son Jax, unfortunately, chooses to go with Nick instead of going home to learn how to be a runner from his dad.

This book brings to light some very important points that probably could have been mentioned earlier. 1) Almost all of Rachel’s bad decisions are apparently because she’s an adrenaline junkie. She needs that thrill of fear to get off in her relationships, hence why she is living with one vampire and dating another. 2) Ivy is a basket-case of a living vampire due to Piscary. 3) Ivy loves Rachel in a sexual way, but Rachael doesn’t return those feelings. Can we say awkward? 4) Ivy apparently can’t last two days without Rachel because of said abuse from Piscary.

It will be interesting to see how Ivy and Rachel and Kisten make out in the following books (not literally). I’m also hoping to see more of Trent Kalamack in the following books. He may be the bad guy, but I rather like his character. He’s the only one who started off with a complicated, multidimensional character.

All in all, I think this is a solid A book and I really need to get the next one.

The Hollows, Book I

I just finished up Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. I liked it well enough that I’m contemplating picking up the next one, The Good, The Bad and the Undead. Apparently Ms. Harrison is something of a Clint Eastwood fan. Rockin’.

Anyway, Dead Witch Walking features witch Rachel Morgan.  It starts out introducing to Rachel’s dead-end job hunting down supernatural creatures who break the law, in this case a leprechaun who was busted for tax evasion.  Turns out that Rachel’s really struggled in her job for some time now, no fault of her own we later find out.  She decides to quit, a risky proposition that could mean her death, and form a detective/bounty-hunting type business of her own.

Rachel successfully quits from the Federal Inderland Bureau (FIB)-the federal agency responsible for catching supernatural troublemakers-but brings her incredibly successful friend/roomie Ivy Tamwood (living vampire) with her.  Because of this, she starts getting attacked left, right and center from everything from faeries to demons, all of whom are being paid to hunt her down and dispose of her by her former living vampire boss.

Rachel survives by a combo of sheer luck and her friends Ivy and a pixie named Jenks.  Determined to get the death threat removed, she goes after a big bad guy by the name Trent, a city councilman.  Trent is his first name and because I don’t have the book up on my Kindle, I don’t have his last name. Read the book to find out! 😉 At any rate, Trent is into everything from smuggling Biodrugs (huuuuuuuuuuuuuugely taboo in this culture) to regular type drugs (called Brimstone). If she can bring him to the attention of the FIB’s rival bureau (the entirely human run IS), she can get them to pay the bounty money to lift the death threat.

I particularly enjoy the pixie character of Jenks.  He’s funny, brave and snarky.  I’m not to sure on Ivy yet, she seems a little spoiled to me.  Rachel Morgan is an acceptable enough female lead, but she is stubborn to the point of stupidity at times.  The nice thing is, she starts to recognize that at the end and attempts to change that.  It doesn’t take right away, making her a character to relate to.  She’s not perfect, she’s not gorgeous.

This could be a female Dresden Files, but with a little less (so far) the-world-actually-is-against-me angst. I rate this a solid B book, but with the caveat that I think it’s sort of like a chick flick only a novel.  Chi-novel?  While I can see my husband enjoying the Dresden Files (if he ever gave them a chance), I  don’t think he’d enjoy this as much, even with the Clint Eastwood theme names. Boys beware!