The Hollows #1: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

Read: 19 March, 2013

Rachel Morgan has been getting bored with all the small-fry runs she’s been sent on lately. She knows she’s a good runner, so why won’t they give her any good runs? So, on a whim, she decides to leave the I.S. and strike out on her own, despite the stories about the last person who tried to break his contract…

I did enjoy the book – really! – and I fully intend to read more of the series. But there were some issues that bugged me. For example:

Rachel really needs to get laid, or maybe just masturbate or something. Throughout the story, she is physically attracted to the point of distraction nearly every character she meets! Except, of course, the one she ends up dating. She notices his body on a few occasions, but not in the “gaga” way that she notices Ivy, Jenks, or Trent. In fact, while I’m on the subject, the whole Nick romance feels somewhat forced.

There are other plot critical points that just don’t seem to make much sense, or aren’t sufficiently explained. For example, why won’t the I.S. let her leave? If the problem is just the breech of contract, why not sue her or seize her assets instead of trying to kill her? If the problem is that she might have some “insider knowledge,” why doesn’t she seem to have any? And if the issue really is just that she’s taken Ivy with her so her old boss has a personal grudge, in what world is having someone killed an acceptable (let alone institutional) way of dealing with such things?

Or the point was just to add some tension to the story early on and give Rachel a reason to keep pursuing Trent once he proves himself to be rather more dangerous than she might be able to handle. Yet even this didn’t quite work. The idea that there was some suspicion surround Trent is raised early on, but there’s no reason to believe that the I.S. would suddenly stop trying to kill Rachel just because she brought in Trent – or anyone else. In fact,  if Trent is really as powerful as he’s made out to be, it seems that the I.S. might have more reason to want to avoid such a high profile and volatile case.

Same goes for the Ivy subplot. There’s some questions about Ivy’s motives, and Rachel distrusts her throughout the story, but she stays with her anyway. Again, it feels forced. Either the issue is a simple misunderstanding that an honest conversation could fix, in which case Rachel is blowing it way out of proportion, or Ivy really is a threat, in which case Rachel needs to stop trusting her so much. But it feels like Harrison wants to preserve the mystery while still having Rachel and Ivy be friends, so instead Rachel just bounces back and forth between trusting Ivy and being terrified of her.

We’re told on a few occasions that Rachel is a great runner, but the story doesn’t really seem to play that out. She scoffs at the idea of planning ahead and just kinda throws herself into situations completely unprepared. Again and again, she relies on luck and other people to save her.

And the size of the role that luck plays is rather disappointment. For example, when Rachel is in the fighting ring (no spoilers!) and just happens to be pitted against the one person who can help her. I kept waiting for it all to be part of Trent’s plan, but no. It was just unbelievable luck.

But, like I said, I really did enjoy the book. It was fast paced and there are some characters I really like. Jenks and his family are fantastic, and I loved the bits about fairies and pixies. I also found Nick intriguing, and I feel like there’s going to be a lot more to him later in the series.

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Other books in The Hollows series:

  1. Dead Witch Walking
  2. The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
  3. Every Which Way But Dead
  4. A Fistful of Charms
  5. For a Few Demons More
  6. The Outlaw Demon Wails
  7. White Witch, Black Curse
  8. Black Magic Sanction
  9. Pale Demon
  10. A Perfect Blood
  11. Ever After

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