Title: Dead Witch Walking
Series: The Hollows #1
Author: Kim Harrison
Published: July 1st 2004 by HarperTorch
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
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.
I have been holding off reading this series for a long time. I am always leery about urban fantasy books with female main characters, expecting it to be paranormal romance in disguise. It’s an awful prejudice, I know, and it has kept me from reading some truly entertaining work. Like Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison.
This book was downright fun.
I love the worldbuilding and mythology surrounding all the fantasy creatures, and I found the characters to be very engaging. I especially like how magic works in this universe, how stirring a spell is a huge effort that most witches would rather avoid, and the ways in which things can backfire. I am a sucker for things going wrong.
Rachel Morgan, our main character and white garden witch, has a sucky boss. One who is all too happy to be rid of her. At least, until Rachel takes the IS’ top vampire, Ivy, with her. Then all bets are off and there is glory to be had for the person (or creature) who brings back Rachel’s head. And they do try. We’re talking werewolf chases, and full scale fairy on pixie warfare. All great fun.
I liked Rachel. She’s not perfect. She gets her ass handed to her on many an occasion, but she’s smart, she survives. Or rather, she’s resourceful and has some great friends, and that’s why she survives. The smart is debatable. I mean, really, if you get caught breaking into some bad man’s house twice, and nearly die the second time, why would you go back for a third round?
The secondary characters are pretty intriguing. You have Ivy, the vamp, who hasn’t touched a drop of blood in three years, but is always struggling against her nature. She wants to jump Rachel bad, and has to take drastic measures to control herself, including giving Rachel advice on how to be less seductive and juicy.
Then is Jenks, the 4” high comic relief. The mouthy little pixie goes everywhere Rachel does, riding on her shoulder, or swinging from her earrings. He’s afraid of nothing and no one, willing to defend his garden to the death, and equally willing to throw burning pixie curses at whomever displeases him. But when danger calls, he’s right there in the thick of it, saving Rachel’s butt any way he can.
Together Rachel, Ivy and Jenks are Vampiric Charms Inc, a sort of supernatural detective agency. They end up adopting mystery man (and I’m guessing future love interest) Nick, who is fully human by all counts, but seems to know a whole lot more than he lets on.
This book also has a very intriguing bad guy, Mr. Trent Kalamack. You have to admire a man who can survive a demon attack, scrupulously kill his employees and still admit defeat gracefully. All while cutting a pretty picture in his immaculate suit.
At this point I am waiting for the obligatory love triangle to show itself. Will it be between Nick and Trent? Or Nick and Ivy? Or is there more hot contenders coming in the *counts* 10 books I still have to go? Only one way to find out. I am pretty excited about it too.
My apologies, Ms. Harrison, for taking so long to pick up your book. Rest assured, I have definitely seen the error of my ways.
Kim Harrison, dark urban fantasy author of the New York Times bestselling The Outlaw Demon Wails, was born and raised in the upper Midwest. After gaining her bachelors in the sciences, she moved to South Carolina, where she has remained since. She is currently developing a new young adult series between working on the Hollows books, and is a member of The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. When not at her desk, she is most likely to be found chasing down good chocolate, exquisite sushi, or the ultimate dog chew.