The Outlaw Demon Wails: Rachel Morgan #6

June 13, 2008

The Outlaw Demon Wails is Kim Harrison’s 6th and most recent book in the Rachel Morgan series.  I’m caught up!  In book 6, Rachel is still reeling from Kisten’s death, and she and Ivy are feverishly trying to solve his murder.  She also discovers even more secrets about her family, including revelations about her father.  In order to help elves Ceri and Quen, Rachel agrees to a dangerous mission to the ever-after to retrieve an important sample from the demons for Trent Kalamack.  Oh, and did I mention that a certain demon is actively trying to kill her?  Rachel manages to muddle through, but what she learns about herself and the origin of some of her abilities will cause her to reassess everything.

I liked this book a lot and think it may be the best on in the series so far.  There’s a lot going on in it as usual, but it moved quickly.  I loved the development of Rachel’s mother’s character.  She is a great character, and I hope future books have more of her.  I still wish that Rachel wasn’t quite so unforgiving of Trent.  It’s a little bizarre that she has managed to come to terms and accept her growing use of demon magic and realizing that things aren’t black and white, but she stubbornly sees him as evil.  Because I’ve never been a big fan of the Ivy/Rachel…relationship?, I was glad to see it somewhat resolved 


For a Few Demons More: Rachel Morgan Book 5

May 27, 2008

For a Few Demons More is Kim Harrison’s 5th installment in her Rachel Morgan/the Hollows series, and it is probably the best book in the series I have read so far.  Rachel awakes one night to find a demon trying to possess her, looking for…something.  At the same time, Were women in the Hollows are dying, and they all have a similar build and coloring.  Does any of this have anything to do with the Focus, the artifact from book 4?  Old “friends” reappear to cause trouble:  Trent Kalamack, Al the demon, and Piscary as well as the Weres Rachel irritated in previous books. 

This book marks a turning point for the series because a lot of loose ends are tied up and relationships destroyed.  A forest fire can make way for new growth, and I have the impression that’s what Harrison’s intention was in this book.  Things have changed dramatically for Rachel, Ivy and Jenks by the end of the book, and I am intrigued to see what happens in the next installment.  This book was long, though, and I question whether it needed to be so long.  It seems like it took a long time to get to the main action.  I’m not sure if any scenes needed to be cut, but I wonder if they could have been tightened.    I still am unsure whether I like what’s going on with Rachel and Ivy.  It seems couterintuitive that a vampire would be so needy, and it annoys me that everyone keeps pushing Rachel to do everything Ivy’s way.  Maybe Ivy should find a therapist.  I do like how introspective Rachel is.  That seems rather novel for most fictional characters, and I am enjoying watching her character develop throughout the series.

A little Trent/Rachel action wouldn’t be unappreciated, however 😉

A Fistful of Charms: Rachel Morgan #4

May 20, 2008

A Fistful of Charms is Kim Harrison’s 4th book in the Hollows/Rachel Morgan series.  Rachel and Jinx reconcile in order to locate Jinx’s son Jax who has taken off with Nick, Rachel’s ex, for Michigan.  In order for Jinx to accompany her to the chilly Michigan (pixies cannot handle cold), Rachel must make him human size (much hilarity and ogling ensue).  Ivy later joins them in Michigan, and her relationship with Rachel is altered forever.  Oh, and in the middle of everything else, throw in a lot of werewolves and an ancient statue that could change the power structure in Inderlander society forever if it gets into the wrong hands.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first 3 in the series.  I’m not sure if I understand or even like the turn that Rachel and Ivy’s relationship appears to be taking.  Ivy is my least favorite character.  I believe that Harrison is trying to have us see the complexity involved in being Ivy and feeling conflicted by your desires and destiny, but sometimes (a lot of the time), I just want Ivy to lighten up.  It appears that Nick is out of the picture for good this time, and good riddance I say.  I think I missed the specter of Trent Kalamack in this book 4.  He was nowhere to be found, and I really like what his character brings to the books.  Hopefully book 5 will have lots of Trent.  

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

April 11, 2008

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.