Review: Dead Witch Walking

Review: Dead Witch Walking

Dead Witch Walking
UK version
by Kim Harrison
published in the US by HarperCollins and in the UK by Voyager

Look, I don’t care if you hate vampire books.  😉  Really, this isn’t like most vampire books.

For one thing, humans are in the minority in this world (certainly, as characters).  No, they aren’t farmed for food or cowering in buildings with garlic on the windows.

This isn’t a horror novel or a romance or a young adult novel.

You know what it reminded me of the most?  Stephanie Plum.

It’s not just because the main character is a female bounty hunter…well, not exactly bounty hunter.  Oh, and she’s a witch…which are counted as non-humans here (which may not please some Wiccans, certainly).

It has a similar sensibility of fun.  I never feel like the danger is real in a Stephanie Plum (I’ve only read the last couple…I was introduced to them via Kindle, really).  While the danger here can get a bit more…dramatic, it’s still fun.

If you don’t read fantasy, are you going to be able to enjoy this?  I think so.  We do ask for a “willing suspension of disbelief” when you read fantasy/science fiction books, and that would help here.  But if you read and enjoyed Harry Potter, I think you have the necessary skills.  🙂

While the story is solid and moves quickly, what really sells this book is the characters.  Rachel Morgan is the aforementioned witch.  First a government “runner” who tags (brings in) tax-evading leprechauns and such, she ends up on her own (I’m careful about spoilers…but really, this is a case where it wouldn’t hurt to know the basics…the writing would still work).  Well, not entirely on her own.  Ivy Tamwood is a living vampire: there are important differences in this world between living vamps and dead vamps.  Their relationship is key, and there are culture clashes in these close friends that really work.  Rachel isn’t that familiar with vampires…and even though Ivy isn’t “practicing”, she still has instincts the witch doesn’t understand and unintentionally triggers at first.

Another key player is Jenks, a pixie.  Pixies are seen as inferior to fairies, although both are used as stealth experts.  When Rachel treats Jenks with respect, she forges another bond.

“Forging a bond”…that makes it sound too epic-y, and it’s not that, really.  It’s fun and silly, but not ridiculous.  The rules are clear in this world, but not pedantically spelled out.  We know why the “Inderlanders” (the supernatural creatures) now are out in the open.  Many humans fear them (not entirely without justification), but they’ll go down to “The Hollows”, a neighborhood in Cincinnati, for a thrill.

These characters have real motivations…nobody has it entirely easy.  There are good things that happen to them and bad things that happen to them.

This is the first book in a series of eight novels so far…and I’m looking forward to reading more with Rachel, Ivy, and Jenks.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

9 Responses to “Review: Dead Witch Walking”

  1. Matthew Says:

    The Hollows series is one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series in years. The characters have real depth to them. Harrison builds a complex world and characters that actually care about. Since this is one of the authors I actually collect I have all her books as DTB. Enjoy the rest of the series. There are the typical ups and downs of any series, but overall the series is fantastic.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Matthew!

      I actually have a couple of the books as DTBs (Dead Tree Books…paperbooks) myself. I got them at a library bag sale a while back. I got Dead Witch Walking free as a promotional book in the Kindle store.

      How important is it to read the books in order? Is there a through story and development?

  2. Jessica Says:

    This is a great series but really should be read in order as there are several plot lines that carry from book to book. Reading some of the newer ones first can really spoil some of the older ones (which are really worth reading)

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jessica!

      I appreciate the informed insight…I hate spoilers. 🙂 So, in order it is…

  3. Matthew Says:

    I agree with Jessica. While each is a standalone book there is are story arcs that run through the whole series that would 1) spoiled or 2) make no sense what so ever if you hadn’t read the previous ones.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks again, Matthew!

      I appreciate the corroboration…I’m usually an “in order” person, and I’ll do that here.

  4. Is Amazon readying a new RSK? | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Daily Deals is Dead Witch Walking, the first book in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series. I reviewed it close to three years ago, and did recommend it. It’s $1.99 today: do check the price before […]

  5. Monthly Kindle Deals for $3.99 or less each: February 2014 | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] wrote a review of the first book in this series (Review: Dead Witch Walking) more than three years ago. I enjoyed it (I compared it to early Stephanie Plum…but with […]

  6. On our guest Kindle | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] (Review) […]

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