Witches, Weres, and Vamps: Anita Blake vs. Rachel Morgan

I’ve been trying to finish this post for over a week.  You can thank my classes and crazy weeks at work for the delay.

A big “thank you” to Barnes & Noble for introducing me to Kim Harrison’s books a few months ago when I was in line buying a birthday gift.  Kim Harrison writes supernatural fiction.  I suppose it would technically be classified as horror, but it’s lighter than a Dean Koontz or Stephen King novel.  Harrison writes a series about Rachel Morgan, a witch who lives in a former church in Cincinatti with her vampire friend and business partner as well as a pixy and his family, also a business partner.  Morgan and her friends are sort of bounty hunters/private detectives and live in a part of Cincinatti known as the Hollows which is where most of the supernatural residents live.  In addition to witches, vampires and pixies, their world includes humans, demons, fairies, werewolves, and elves.  I’ve probably missed a few.  Each book has a crime for Rachel and her friends to solve, but the real mystery is what Rachel’s deceased father was up to when he died and what Rachel is learning about her family and past that challenges what she thought she knew.  And the mysterious Trent Kalamack appears to be involved in all of it.   The first three books are as follows:

  • Dead Witch Walking Rachel Morgan quits her job as a runner with the IS.  Surprisingly, coworker Ivy Tamwood, a socially prominent living vampire, goes with her and the two start their own business along with Jenks the pixy.  However, someone wants Rachel dead.
  • The Good, Bad and the Undead  Though she’s still having problems making rent, things are looking up for Rachel.  She and Ivy are figuring out how to live together.  She has a boyfriend, and she’s figured out what Trent Kalamack is.  But someone is killing ley line witches…is Rachel next?  Is Trent Kalamack involved?  And then there’s that pesky demon that keeps showing up to try to claim her.
  • Every Which Way But Dead  Can a living vampire make a good boyfriend?  ‘Cause Rachel wants to know.  But more importantly, Rachel has literally made a deal with the devil and now must figure out how to get out of it without being forced into the Ever After forever. 

I’m really enjoying the series so far.  They are quick, fun reads.  I’m itching to get my hands on books 4-6, but that’s going to have to wait a few weeks (ARGH).  When I started the first book, I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief and get into the book.  Harrison’s books are set in a sort of alternate reality:  about 50 years ago, many humans were killed off by a virus carried by a genetically altered tomato.  The chaos that ensued led the Inderlanders, the term used to refer to those who aren’t human, revealing their true natures (because they weren’t affected by the virus) in order to maintain society.  It’s referred to as the Turn in Harrison’s series.  It took me a bit to get past that, but once I did I really liked the series.  It’s sexy, funny and mysterious.  Though supernatural, the characters are easy to relate to. 

So far, I like the series better than the Anita Blake series.  Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series started out well, but the later books have become nothing more than Anita having orgies with her many boyfriends with a dash of plot thrown in.  I think Hamilton has tried to add a darker edge to her books, but instead of dark, they have become creepy and a little skeevy.  I’m not a prude, but I like a bit of plot!

Anyway, where Anita Blake starts out rather priggish and uptight, Rachel is flawed.  She’s, well, she’s human.  As human as a witch can be!  Both series are set in the Midwest, which I thought was interesting.  Rachel consults occasionally with the FIB, just as Anita used to do work for the local police deparment.  Some of the terms and concepts are the same…Master Vampire, turf battles, weres, etc.  It makes me wonder if there is some sort of primer for those writing supernatural/horror.  I do like how Harrison has living vampires in addition to the “undead” version.  Ivy is a living vampire who was infected while her mother was pregnant with her.  Her mother is now an “undead” vampire.  Ivy is conflicted about her destiny, and it will be interesting to see how that continues to develop in the other books in the series.

All in all, a good, quick, fun read. 

Also recommended: 

  • Anita Blake series (the earlier ones.  Keep reading until you tire of the sex)
  • Stephanie Plum series (Janet Evanovich).  While this series has absolutely nothing to do with witches or vampires, Rachel reminds me a bit of Stephanie.  The later books aren’t as clever, but the first 12 books in the series are good. 

5 Responses to Witches, Weres, and Vamps: Anita Blake vs. Rachel Morgan

  1. Cliff Burns says:

    Supernatural fiction certainly seems like it’s it vogue (and one sees numerous TV series and movies on that theme about these days too). Whew! That’s a relief…since I just posted my supernatural mystery SO DARK THE NIGHT on my site (after 3+ years of work). I like superimposing the uncanny in the modern world, the juxtaposition always leads to interesting caroms and bounces.

    Thanks for this post, I found it encouraging and thoughtful…

  2. Jason Wilson says:

    Did someone say supernatural fiction? I’m in. Thanks for the heads up on this one; I’ll probably check her out in the near future. It is inspiring to see someone so dedicated to something as you are to literature. Keep it up lady!

  3. […] that I have expressed my irritation with Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series in other posts, but I find it difficult to stop reading a series after I have invested time in it.  Especially […]

  4. Hey, nice tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a bottle of beer to that person from that forum who told me to go to your blog 🙂

  5. latoya says:

    Fabric Steamer Reviews I Love this blog thank you very much so much superb information.

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