Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
63 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Treads WaterFeb. 28 2009
MooncatX aka Bliss Crimson
- Published on Amazon.com
The best part of the reading, for those who've been with the series from the start, is of course just reacquainting yourself with the various cast. The main characters could just be visiting the local grocery and it would be fun to read along as they banter and just do slice of life stuff. Characterization is the mainstay of the series, and just keeping touch with Jenks and his family is enough for a comfortable, enjoyable (in some cases bittersweet) read.
That said, while I love the characters of Kim's books, the latest installment of the Hollows series seems to just tread water rather than advance any of the characterizations or plot lines. Yes we find out who killed Kist. Unfortunately it's a stupidly senseless death that seems just to have happened so Rachel could have an excuse to be angsty. This new book lacks a rather critical sense of, for want of better term, soul. With little rhyme or reason, Rachel is not at her best as she mopes through a majority of the book when she isn't agonizing over how long she should respect her dead boyfriend's memory before giving into her desire to knock metaphysical boots with a goodlooking guy witch whose best feature appears to be his convenient accessibility.
Rachel has always had a bit of a bewildering auto "wolf whistle, pant, pant, pant" thought mode when she encounters any and every good looking male who isn't running away from her bad reputation and isn't trying to kill her... Okay scratch that, she "notices" them in that way even if they are trying to kill her. Not that she follows up on it, always, but it grows old after the umpteenth time she notice how hawt this or that guy's tight butt happens to be. It feels artificial when it's driven home several times a book, book after book, just how hot to trot Rachel is for any good looking guy that crosses her line of vision.
Meanwhile the intriguing almost romance between Rachel and Ivy that held such promise in the first few books, now tiredly retreads the same old same old for a seventh book as Ivy grows painful to watch with her soulful torch bearing for Rachel, who alternately eggs on and then slaps down the vampire who perpetually teeters on the edge of self control. Much as I'd love Rachel and Ivy together, finally, even a femslash romantic such as myself can see this has become a sad joke that just seems to linger as hollow lipstick lesbian tease.
The mystery of the book is nonexistent for anyone whose read the short stories that reveal all the whodunnit almost at the start of the novel, or incomprehensible for those who haven't read all the prequel shorts and thus have no idea of what is going on or as one friend asked me "Who are these people?!? I don't know what half this book is about." -- The latest book is not an understandable read for anyone who hasn't read the previous books and shorts.
I'd recommend this book for long time fans of Rachel and her crowd. It's great to read more Rachel even if she isn't doing anything really meaningful. This isn't the best book in the series, but even a place marker that treads water is okay if it's just a pause between better things. I really hope things in the next few books pick up though.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Rachel is not the girl she used to beJune 16 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
This is the 7th book in the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. In a series that has consistently blown me away with its great writing quality and fast pace this book was a huge disappointment. I really feel like Kim Harrison was forced to write this book and forced to wrap up the whole Kisten mystery and didn't want to; this book just drags. Quick side note: I listened to this on audio book and the audio book quality was great.
In this book Rachel is trying to remember what happened on the night when Kisten was murdered. Ford is along to try and help her jog her memories. Ivy is still trying to solve the Kisten murder in her own way. Then they get called on a case that ends up involving a mother Banshee who may be killing to feed her child. Oh and Pierce (you know the guy in the short story done in the anthology "Holidays from Hell") pops into Rachel's life. Also like usual Rachel is having trouble with Al (her demon teacher) and is trying to keep things with Marshall on a "strictly friends" basis.
As you can tell from the above things were kind of jumbled together; Rachel didn't seem to know what she was doing most of the book. There are so many things that bothered me about this book. First and foremost is Rachel's whining. I mean you probably could have cut 50 pages out if you had eliminated some of the whining; I felt like counting the number of times Rachel said "But, I'm a White witch!" with an honest to god foot-stomping whine...the number of times this was said had to be in the double digits at least; were they trying to drive home the book title? Rachel acted pathetic throughout the book and constantly said she would change things while she constantly made the same horrible decisions over and over again. It just wasn't interesting to read about that.
Next issue is the Kisten thing. All this build up over multiple books over who Kisten's killer was...it was very anti-climatic. The conclusion to the Kisten murder was weird too (I won't give anything away) but it was very rushed and very unsatisfying and really felt forced; like someone told Harrison she had to wrap up this plot point so she grudgingly did it. My only positive reaction to this part of the story is that we finally can (hopefully) stop hearing "Who was Kisten's killer?".
Then there is the appearance of Pierce, a minor character in a short story in an anthology half of the readers of this series probably haven't read. Pierce takes a major part in this story and I thought it was odd that he suddenly plays such a big role in Rachel's life. His inclusion felt forced and unnatural. The Banshee character Mia was also unsatisfying; there was so much "we have her, we lost her, we have her, we lost her" that I just got bored with the whole story. Rachel's whole moral struggle with bringing in Mia was odd, it was like Rachel completely lost her sense of right and wrong and wandered around confused for most of the Mia investigations.
Of course, to bring even more pain into the mix Harrison had to (again) bring up Ivy and Rachel's blood balance. I had really, really hoped we were done hearing about this. In fact it seemed pretty tied up in the last book and I was disappointed to see it rear its ugly head again. Bringing this up, yet again, added to my boredom and made me roll my eyes...I mean come on let the characters move on and get on with the story. Same with Marshall, what was up with his relationship with Rachel, is it there just to take up page space?
There were a couple good pieces to the story. Pierce is actually an interesting character and I am eager to see more of him. Eddings and Glenn were great characters and added more to the story than any of the other characters. Al stole the scenes he was in too. Also Bis was awesome and I hope the gargoyle is in the story more in the future. Rynn Cormel is an intriguing master vamp and I am also eager to find out what his future actions are. In fact all of these characters were way more interesting than Rachel and Ivy; maybe Rachel's character is just getting tired. All I know is something has to change or I will be getting rid of all the books in this series and dropping it.
All in all a disappointment. This was a long, long book that felt forced and chased itself in circles a lot. There were a couple bright spots, but overall I just wanted the book to be over.
70 of 92 people found the following review helpful
White Witch Long BookMarch 19 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
OK. I'm going to write this review before reading any of the other reviews. It will be interesting to see if anyone else had the same reactions to Rachel's latest adventure.
AND I CANNOT SAY THIS ANY MORE PLAINLY *****THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*****!!!!!
I felt this was a very frustrating book. At 500 pages, it seemed to drag interminably before coming to any sort of point. Rachel goes a lot of different places, always in a bad mood, has inconclusive conversations with a lot of people, always has to have some sort of drama whenever she tries to leave, then goes some other places. I think probably at least 50 pages could have been cut with no harm to the book whatsoever. And Rachel continues to be pointless irritating on some important issues, like always wanting to be at crime scenes, but not being willing to take the time to learn evidence protection rules.
However, I had worse problems with some other aspects of the book:
1) Pierce!!?? We find out about this incredibly important person in Rachel's life who it just so happens has never been mentioned before. It smells like a retcon, and I don't buy it. I also don't like him for Rachel, at all. If not Ivy, then big Jenks is the obvious choice.
2) Shunning? I don't ever recall such a thing being mentioned before as a possibility. Shouldn't Rachel have been worrying about it pretty often? Shouldn't there have been some warnings, some due process? It seems incredibly arbitrary and political. If that's just the way it is, fine, but we should have heard about it before.
3) Mathilde(sp?) & Jenks. Jenks's wife is dying, and he's torn up about it, but I don't think we've ever heard so much as a whole paragraph of her speech. How are we supposed to care about her when she never comes on-stage? For that matter, what happened to Jenks's son that he was teaching to be his replacement (not the one that went bad, the other one)? And Jenks has money and can use the phone. Why is he so dependant on Rachel to take him shopping? If his wife needs certain herbs so badly, why can't he have them delivered. He's done deals with the outside world apart from Rachel & Ivy before.
4) Marshall. I never did like him, so good riddance, but he still was too much of a presence in this book. I guess the point is no "nice guy" can survive extreme Rachel-ness, but we got that already.
5)The banshees. Mrs. Walker was just wasted -- a good build-up with no resolution, and the whole banshee way of life was too vague for me. Do banshees normally avoid killing and Mia went bad, or do they always killl (untill Holly)? Rachel seems too OK with leaving an "apex predator" free.
6) The ending. Some guy we never heard of killed Kisten? And he's (totally) dead? And he killed this other guy we haven't seen for several books? This was really lame. It reminds me of when Skimmer killed Piscary instead of Rachel or Ivy getting to do it. I also didn't "get" what Rachel was feeling when she burned and sealed the chamber. She does her first "black" magic for why exactly? So nobody will know why Kisten died? Seems like it would have been a good way to force some changes to the vampire "mafia" operating outside the law.
This whole ghost thing coming out of left-field seems to have knocked any advancement of the Trent and studying with Al subplots off the rails too.
134 of 178 people found the following review helpful
Highly DisappointingMarch 6 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
I have enjoyed Kim Harrison's books so far, it's been a fun playground, but if this book is any indication of future work to come, this may be my last foray into The Hollows. I was going to give this book a 2, then I realized I had almost nothing good to say about it, and thought a 1 was sufficient.
***SPOILERS TO FOLLOW***
The things I liked (what little there was):
Bis is the bomb, such a protective little tyke, it was great to see more of him and get tantalizing hints of his role in things to come. I'm very, very curious to see what sort of part he'll be playing in Rachel's magical development. Obviously a unique one.
Jenks is always a ray of sunshine (or fairy dust), even if he was getting just a little repetitive here. Potentially my favorite of the good guys these days. Oh, and Ford was fun to play with, since he's possible the ONLY male in the entire series Rachel hasn't developed a sexual crush on... yet.
Rynn Cormel. I was interested to see what was going to be done with this character and I wasn't disappointed. I had hoped Harrison wouldn't confine Rynn to happy-go-lucky, good-guy vampire tricks, and she doesn't. He's not quite a bad boy, but he's a very real and dynamic character, made even more interesting by being what he is: lacking a soul and still somehow thriving, if an undead vampire can be said to thrive.
Glimpses of Al and Trent (as they are by far the most interesting mysteries still floating around in this series) were of course, very welcome, and very interesting.
The reasons this is the worst book of this series:
The number one reason: Pierce. I mean, come on now, not only is he a character who ONLY got introduced in a short story, and is spoken about in this book as though he's been there all along, but his importance to Rachel is so contrived that it's laughable. I mean, seriously, we are only now (in book 7!) finding out that ALL ALONG, Rachel has been hedging all her bets against this man, and THAT is the main reason she can't land herself a decent relationship? Oh. Please. I was so disgusted reading about how 'all this time she's been measuring all the other wanna-be's up against him' that I just about had to stop reading. On that note, if you're going to introduce a main character in a short story and then go on like everyone knows who he is, the least you could do is include the short in this book somewhere...
The number two reason, and I never thought I would say this: Rachel. Is it just me or is she getting less and less interesting the longer this series goes on? If she does the 'woe-is-me' routine, or talks about how her life sucks, or it's all her fault people are A) treating her badly or B) leaving her, one more time... I try to be sympathetic, but let's be honest, she gets herself into these situations more often than not. There's a fine balance in writing angst, and this one tipped way too far into the depressing side. And I begin to wonder if Rachel really will ever learn, because one minute she'll be talking about how she's going to change, and then the next minute she's back to doing something stupid (like chasing Banshee's down dark alleys solo when a few pages previous she was talking about how witches are no match for them). I'm beginning to see some stagnation in Rachel as a character.
And btw, I thought she and Ivy had come to an understanding, if not resolved the (possible) romantic issues? Then why is it being rehashed for the billionth time here? A direction really needs to be chosen and stuck with between those two. It's getting seriously annoying, and how sad is it when the two main characters of a series are the most irritating parts of it?
The Banshee story. This book's main B-plot involves a brand new species being introduced into the Hollows. Frankly, I was unimpressed. From the eye-catching title, I had expected far more work with Al (who really only shows up at the end), or at least SOME continuation of the previous remaining loose ends. Aside from Kisten, there was almost none of that here. I realize the author is trying to take the series in a new direction, but so many species and mini-character have already been introduced in the Hollows that, frankly, reading about an unsympathetic Banshee who (like many others) is trying to kill Rachel, was just uninteresting. Glenn and Eddings were fun though.
Marshal. I never cared for his character much in the first place, but I have to admit his exit from the series felt especially strange. If I didn't know better (ahem), I'd say he got shoved out to make room for another love interest. But there wasn't one in this book, right? Oh, wait!
Kisten. Um. Really? The mystery that's been stretched out over maybe three books now? An entire novel dedicated to answering it (and dealing with Banshees... who have to be the most unsympathetic characters that Rachel somehow manages to be sympathetic too. And on that note, you couldn't care less about Banshees killing a family for sustenance, but you'll hate Trent until the day you die for safekeeping his entire race? Alright then...) So the mystery of Kisten.. is no mystery at all. In fact, it's a fact that probably could have been discovered and explained on a side-note, and avoided all the build-up that eventually lead... nowhere. Hey, not everyone can die in a blaze of glory, but I figure a huge opportunity gets missed when you decide to blow it up this big and then crash it with no interesting resolution what-so-ever.
There are many more things, but it would be crying a bit too much to name all the minor details behind my disappointment with WWBC. In summary, definitely the worst book in the series, and thank goodness I didn't actually spend money on it. Hopefully not a sign of things to come.
39 of 50 people found the following review helpful
A very weak installmentMarch 7 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
This seventh volume in the series didn't do it for me.
What I thought was going to be the main storyline, the hunt for Kirsten's killer that started up in the last book, began the story well but was then dropped until the last 50 pages, where it was wrapped up in a wham-bam fashion almost as an afterthought.
In between, we have a mish-mash of things falling into one of two categories. There is tiresome formula. Rachel has troubles with yet another boyfriend. Anyone surprised?...no. Al jerks Rachel around? Anyone surprised?...no. Rachel and Ivy have trouble defining their relationship. Anyone surprised?...well, only in the sense that I thought they finally put this one to rest in the last volume.
The other category is things that seem to come out of left field. Without giving too much away in spoilers...Rachel suffers some serious public relations problems. This is not particularly surprising given what she's had to do over the stories. What is a "huh?!?" moment is that she takes this lying down, almost like she's bought into the "demon marks = black witch" concept. That's so out of character it's just jarring to the reader.
The second "where did this come from?" thing is the whole Pierce subplot. Did I miss a book; is this really #8? (no) It's dropped in like we've known about it for six volumes already.
I hope that the next volume in this series gets back on track. Otherwise, this series won't hold my attention very long--we've seen similar series implode.