Be Careful What You Wish For...

  • Jan 30, 2008
Rating:
+5
Pros: light and entertaining supernatural fantasy, excellent villains, brazen hero looking for action

Cons: Rachel's flightiness makes it difficult to stay focused sometimes

The Bottom Line: light and entertaining supernatural fantasy in an urban setting

When we first meet Rachel Morgan she's just an average earth witch using her wit and her literal charms to grind out an existence bringing in bounties for Inderlander Security. In this alternate future, Inderlanders (vampires, werewolves, witches, Fae, etc) have been forced to reveal themselves thanks to a deadly virus that decimated the human population. And when one of these paranormal citizens steps out of line, the I.S. brings them to justice. Rachel has been struggling for the last three years to make a good impression at work and pull in better runs. It's beginning to look like the world's worst boss may win out!

Cutting a deal with a tax-evading Leprechaun, Rachel and her friends, Ivy the living vampire and Jenks their pixie backup, leave the I.S. to begin their own agency with a whole wish a piece to help them along. The I.S. doesn't take kindly to people breaking their contracts either, even if it is someone they'd rather not keep on the payroll. The remains of the last guy who broke with the I.S. had to be scraped together into a box for his funeral. Death by turbine is not pretty.

So, Rachel soon finds herself free of the I.S. but facing bigger problems, like how to stay in one piece! Stripped of her apartment, all her possessions, her books and magical equipment, Rachel finds herself moving into an old church with the temperamental Ivy, Jenks and his enormous family. Thus the Vampiric Charms private detective agency is born!

Things don't get any easier though, and the I.S. has it in for them now. Rachel decides that maybe if she brings in a big enough bad guy and hands them over to the I.S. that they'll cancel the contract put out on her. They've been hot to pin Trent Kalamack, city councilman and successful businessman, for any of the shady dealings they suspect he's been running in Cincinnati.

Rachel thinks she may have found the lead that will finally bring Trent down. Is Trent an illegal Brimstone drug trade the biggest baddest skeleton in his closet? Can Rachel find proof, or has she bitten off more than she can chew? It just may be easier for her to sweet talk herself back into the good graces of the I.S. rather than attempt bringing the ruthless, powerful, and mysterious Kalamack to justice. Welcome to the Hollows... Better watch your back!

My Thoughts:

This first in the Kim Harrison series is a good urban fantasy involving all manner of supernatural critters. In Dead Witch Walking, we are introduced to all the major players, the stage is set and we the readers need only enjoy it as it all unfolds. Plenty of action, brimming with good humor and witty repartee, I particularly enjoyed the unique characters, interesting setting, and the fact that society has shunned the tomato in all its forms for carrying that deadly virus!

The pacing can be a bit choppy and the copy I read certainly had a Lot of typos, but ultimately these were minor drawbacks that didn't slow me down at all. Light, enjoyable, and entertaining, Harrison's characters drew me into their world, and made me feel like a friend rather than a voyeur. I love books that make me laugh out loud in public places! I was drawn to find out more, and that is what makes or breaks any first in a series. By the last page, I had to have book two waiting for me, and oh yes, dear serial readers, as of Feb. 26, 2008 there will be six in this set.

Jenks, the irrepressible pixie, quite often steals the show, and the series is well-worth reading just for him alone in my opinion. I loved getting acquainted with Jenks, his lovely Matalina, their enormous brood of winged children and through them all, Harrison's view of pixie society. Ivy's personal issues don't really come clear in this first book, but her moodiness, self-repression, and fear all become evident with time.

Ivy is our closest window into the local vampire society. Many times in reading this first book though, I felt like she was merely a foil for Rachel's more impulsive and far less introspective self; a character designed to pull Rachel back from the brink... or perhaps send her over the edge of all she's ever known.

Rachel herself, while amusing, can come off as flighty or lacking in depth, but as we watch her grow and evolve over the series the over-all impression is that of an ordinary person doing her utmost to be someone her parents can be proud of while still fulfilling her own desires. A common enough tightrope, and I must say that she does an excellent job of entertaining us while she's up there!

These three head up a great cast of characters that work well together in presenting a story that, like real life, does not begin in the here and now, but in the distant fog of the past. We are tantalized with glimpses of Rachel's odd childhood, and left to wonder just how long her family and Kalamack's are destined to intertwine... Her father's untimely death and her mother's imperfect recovery from that tragedy continue to haunt our heroine.

Nowhere do these scars show more plainly than in her love interests, her impulsive choices, and the unconscious need for adrenaline in her life. Can this witchy red-head figure out what Trent's hiding? Can this unlikely trio forge a viable team? Will she even live long enough to figure out a suitable wardrobe for all of this? Have fun finding out!

Recommended:
Yes

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More Dead Witch Walking (Rachel Mor... reviews
review by . July 02, 2008
I have to say that this book wasn't what I expected....at all. Which in many cases could be a bad thing, but with regards to "Dead Witch Walking" it is a good thing. This book is the first in Rachel Morgan saga. Oh by the way, Rachel is a witch, but a good witch. Not as good as Glenda from the Wizard of Oz, but good nevertheless. I have heard from others as well as the description on the back of this book that Rachel Morgan is a good mixture of Stephanie Plum and Anita Blake. I haven't read any …
review by . October 01, 2007
I can't remember the last time I had this much fun reading a book. Every page drips with action, humor and mix of creatures that are good, bad, some in between and also those walking on both sides of existence; dead and the undead. Kim Harrison has created a magnificent world of witches, vampires, demons, pixies, fairies, leprechauns and all sorts of shape shifters. This is the first book in the Rachel Morgan series and I'm in luck to have them all waiting for me on my shelf.     Most …
review by . January 27, 2007
When a book is slow starting, I continue to stick with it, sometimes appalling even myself at the optimism that it will get better. But I can't continue. This book has bored me from the very beginning...; character development is lacking, and there is not enough explanation regarding what's going on throughout. Rachel Morgan is a paranormal bounty hunter...and a witch to boot. After a number of bad tags made for her company, she has been relegated to pixies as backup and confined to bringing in …
About the reviewer
Quinn Blackburn ()
Ranked #16
Hello, my name is Quinn... yes, that really is my first name. :o) I also answer to Mom, and occasionally Entwife. I enjoy Beauty wherever I find it... Nature, Music, Art in all its forms... I believe … more
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About this book

Wiki

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.
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Details

ISBN-13: 978-0061567193
Author: Kim Harrison
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Eos
Date Published: May 1, 2008
First to Review
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