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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2007
Dead Witch Walking opens on a stakeout. We are introduced to our heroine who works for inderland security which is a kind of supernatural police force. The scene is set and backup whispers some intel in her ear. I was picturing something like a police radio but instead it was a 4 inch pixie called Jenks swinging of her hoop ear-rings. I found this highly amusing and its this wit and charm that really carries you through the story.

The heroine is called Rachel and she is more or less forced to leave the job as her boss is giving her all the worst jobs usually reserved for trainees. She is presented at being good at the job but a bit gung-ho and tends to leave a trail of destruction. You know the type, hates authority but gets the job done. Anyway the mysterious seductive Ivy(a living vampire) and the grumpy but funny pixie Jenks decide to come with her to start a private agency. Ivy is one of the best "runners" working for Inderland security so the boss gets mad and targets Rachel for termination sending bounty hunters after her in force!

The story is an action adventure with Rachel trying to avoid the constant threat of imminent death and come up with a way to get the old boss off her back. The scrapes she manages to get herself into are really imaginative and fun to read about.

The characters are well drawn and likable. The whole world Kim Harrison creates is really interesting. It has Witches, vampire, pixies etc co-existing in a world with humans after a plague diminished the human population considerably. It's not an easy co-existance but its well imagined.

The story leaves plenty of open threads that I'm sure will be explored in the next books but still manages to have a satisfactory ending!

I've already ordered the next two in the series! Also I love the Clint Eastwood inspired titles!
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2006
As a fan of Laurell.K.Hamilton and her Anita Blake series I`m always a little sceptical when reading new books involving vampires and other preturnatural creatures.
However, from the very start this book proved itself worthy.
The main charactor Rachel Morgan is intelligent, beautiful, sarcastic and a little reckless.
She is joined/partnered by a vampire (Ivy) and a pixie (Jenks) and slowly throughout the book a bond is formed between them that is both heartwarming and at times funny.
This book starts a little slow in chapters 1 and 2 but soon picks up pace and keeps you interested.
If you`re a fan of the Anita Blake series then this should float your boat - or at least register on radar.
It is both well written and well paced with some good humor thrown in to add to it`s charm.
My opinion is that this is potentially the start of what could become a great series and Kim Harrison an excellent writer.
Only time will tell as the series devlops so I`ll leave you to make your own minds up - but I doubt you`ll be disappointed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2010
a little slow to start off. It took a good portion of the book to grab me...but once it did I was stuck. I decided at the moment that I needed to buy the rest of this series. And I don't regret it in the least. It quickly became one of my faves.

This one is definately light on the romance...if that's what you're looking for. But It's heavy on the action and scarcasm. The Hollows is a great setting. I got caught up in the politics of it at first. But it became very believable once I caught on.

Rachel is a bit self absorbed....she's annoying to an extent. But I think that's just leaving room for personal growth throughout the reast of the series. And in my opinion, that is exactly what happened.

The heroine is credible, far from omni-competent or a Mary Sue, as befits a young woman just striking out on her own professionally. She makes mistakes, learns from them, struggles to understand her colleagues and her circumstances.

She reminds me a bit of David Weber's Honor Harrington (though *much* less Mary Sue-ish) in that her primary virtue is the engendering of loyalty - and yes, her supporting cast does outshine her. I see that as a strength, not a flaw, in series novels - but I like ensemble casts in books, TV and comics.

If you're looking to be spoon-fed a simple narrative of a rugged-individualist action hero, look elsewhere. If you want a realistically-portrayed new kid on the block, in over her head and held up by colorful, secretive allies running their own agendas, in a convincing SF/paranormal alternate present - pick this up.

And be prepared to see a sunrise or two, because you won't be able to put it down
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2007
Rachel Morgan is a young earth witch working with the Cincinnati division of the I.S., an agency that specializes in catching supernatural criminals. Still, the red-haired, temperamental witch is unhappy with her job: things haven't been going smoothly and her boss hates her. So she decides to leave the I.S. dragging with her Ivy, a 'living vampire' who was her former partner and Jenks (a male pixie), her current back-up. Trouble is... you don't leave the I.S.; it's a contract for life.

This novel is the first for author Kim Harrison and also the first in her 'Rachel Morgan' series (currently at five books). While it doesn't have a very complex plot (it's your standard story of the heroine running for her life), it sets the stage for future books as it introduces the major characters and the world they move in. Strangely, the central figure of the story, Rachel, is not the most developed character in this book. Ivy, the vampire roommate and Jenks, the pixy are much more complex and tri-dimensional.

The book starts out slow and is even boring for the first five or six chapters, but the pace picks up and it becomes interesting enough. The writing style contributes to this; you can see a positive evolution throughout the book.

In the end, this book is worth more as a prequel for the novels to come than for it's story. If it was a stand-alone, it wouldn't be very good, as it has no complex plot and the heroine is quite weak, as if the author merely sketched her instead of fully drawing her. Rachel Morgan comes to life in future books as does the story. Dead Witch Walking is certainly not meant to be read by itself.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2006
I actually would like to award this book four and a half stars - it's not quite up to five stars, for me, but then four is underselling it. Still, it's a really good book to while away a long afternoon.

Rachel Morgan is a white witch in a world where supernatural people mix with humans. Vampires, witches, werewolves, pixies, fairies... they are all part of the `modern' world in Cincinnati where Rachel lives. Her job in Inderland Security (Inderlander being the name for non-humans) is as a kind of police officer for the supernaturals but for some reason she's getting the worst possible jobs assigned to her. When she arrests a leprechaun she is offered a way out - the leprechaun wants her freedom and will, in return, grant three wishes. Rachel decides to take her up on this offer to gain freedom from Interland Security and a new life for herself.

On the way she has to give two of her three wishes to her companions of the moment - Jenks the pixie and Ivy the Alive Vampire. These two characters are excellent - Ivy is spooky with her vampiric nature, although as she's not yet dead she doesn't have to exist on blood; and Jenks is just brilliant as the annoying yet fun pixie with a huge family.

Ivy and Rachel find themselves living in a church and trying to settle down in some kind of domestic situation with all the difficulties of vampire and witch living together - and then Rachel realises that she's got a price on her head and is a Dead Witch Walking.

Rachel, Ivy and Jenks need to pull off a huge coup for Inderland Security to remove the death threat from Rachel so they start investigating an important local businessman who they believe is running drugs. Things get more and more complicated, they run into danger and hook up with new colleagues. But is everyone as they seem?

This book is obviously the first in a series - there are a lot of loose ends at the close of the book. They're not annoying loose ends, just hint at future explanations. There's a lot of mystery about Ivy - what did she use her wish for, for example - and about some of the other people that they meet in the course of their investigations. I certainly look forward to the next book in the series and hope that it will answer some of these questions, as well as setting more.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2004
Like the previous reviewer I found this book hard work to begin with. I had to really struggle to stay interested and didn't find the characters easy to get attached to initially. However, this did improve as I got further into the story and I will buy the next book in the series when it becomes available. I think part of the trouble was the sheer volume of information you have to absorb to get a 'feel' for this magical world and it's inhabitants and this slows down the story. Rachel Morgan is a witch who has been working as a'runner' for Inderland Security bringing in supernatural miscreants and not making a very good job of it lately. She decides to go it alone, which should have been simple but turned out to be downright dangerous and she spends most of the book fighting for her life and in the process finding out who her real friends are. I loved her pixy sidekick, Jenks and his vast family. Ivy the vamp is just plain scary not to mention hard work but I think there's more to Ivy than meets the eye. Nick the human (?) seems like a nice guy and Rachel is certainly taken with him but again there are secrets to unfold. And what about the magical old guy who lives across the road from Rachel - did I mention she lives in an old church - with Ivy - and the Jenks clan - nice touch! Add to this mix a bad guy who is really bad not to mention spooky, an ex-boss who's really got it coming (hopefully) and the odd demon and you have all the ingredients of a good new series. If you like Jim Butcher you will like this, it took me a while to get into the Harry Dresden stories although I loved Harry as a character from the start but I'm now a fan and I think this series is going to be the same. Give it a try!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2004
Some one described this book as Stefanie Plum meets Buffy and so liking both I thought I would give it a try.
It has new ideas about vampires/witches/fairies/demons etc and is set in a world that explains how they and humans are co-existing.
It is not too dark and has a good sense of humour that does not spoil the seriousness of the plot.
My favourite bit is when she is reading a book on the bus and everyone looks over her shoulder and tells her their favourtie bits.
The ending does have a nice twist and I am looking forward to the next book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2011
This is the first book in The Hollows series. I had been pre-warned by several different people that it was a slow-starter, but that the series gets better and better. Well, they weren't kidding! If it wasn't for my faith that it would, in fact, get better, I may not have got through the first 100 pages. It was such a slow start. The writing style doesn't flow, I kept stumbling back and forth and having to re-read bits. There is an inordinate amount of info-dumps--Harrison clearly has a very distinct world full of weird creatures and a society fully aware of supernaturals, and she wants to tell you about the whole thing all at once--and yet at other times she will mention something matter-of-factly, that you have absolutely no clue what she's talking about at all.

However, it did get better. I feel like perhaps this book is the mountain which you have to climb to get to the good stuff. You have to pay the reading piper for the privilege by slogging your way through about eight incredibly tedious chapters. (In fact, there was an escape-type scene about 8 chapters in, and I couldn't help thinking she should have started the book there, and just referenced everything that happened before that in retrospect, Sort of a "it all started when I quit my job" thing). Also, I don't feel like I know much about leading lady Rachel yet. She was kind of busy in this book running for her life, granted, but I couldn't really tell you much about her.

Anyway, onto what I did like, which can almost be summed up in a word: Jenks! I love him. He's a 4-inch tall pixy and he just completely rescued this book for me. His dialogue is hilarious and I just can't wait to see more of him.

We met a villain (I think) whose motives I'm not really sure on at the moment, so I want to find out more on him. There's a potential love interest character as well, but he leaves me a bit cold to be honest. Rachel's vampire room-mate is also up to something, so I want to know more about that. And the guy that lives over the road... yeah, something fishy about him, too, I reckon.

So it seems quite a few little seeds of intrigue have been carefully planted despite my reservations, which will make me pick up the next one. Let's hope it starts a heck of a lot faster than this one did!

(Edit: Two years later... This review is now hilarious to me considering this is now one of my all-time favourite series (I'm at book 11 now). So I guess I can safely confirm it does get better! I stand by my review, however, because that's how I felt at the time).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Kim Harrison introduces us to the world of the Hollows, a district close to Cincinnati that contains witches, weres, pixys and vampires - all those creatures that humans never realised existed until the Turn. Harrison introduces an intriguing idea to underpin the reason for these supernatural creatures being amongst human beings - in her world, bio engineering went wrong and a mutated virus swept the earth, killing a quarter of humanity. The Inderlanders (all of those supernatural people) had a natural resistance to this virus, and so found themselves able to reveal their presence to human beings. This was with the exception of elves, who, according to records, died out entirely - probably thanks to interbreeding with humans.

This particular story centres around Rachel Morgan, a runner for the IS who finds herself given more and more pathetic targets to bring in. Soon enough she snaps and decides to leave the IS and branch out on her own. Leaving the IS has huge repercussions, including a death threat (hence the title 'Dead Witch Walking') and taking with her the slinky vamp Ivy and naughty pixy Jenks.

Harrison suffers from the usual problem of a first novel in a recurring series - she has a number of characters to introduce and some info dumping to perform. This creates an issue of pacing - the first hundred or so pages are a little bit of a struggle as we get to know Rachel and the world she lives in, while the rest of the book flies past once the true plot kicks in. I also found that Harrison belaboured the point a little concerning Ivy and her state of control regarding taking blood from humans.

However, most of the novel is an absolute delight! Jenks and the rest of his family are mischievous, fun, warm and witty. I absolutely love when Rachel finds herself the same size as Jenks and notices just what a hot guy he is! Another lovely theme was the book that Ivy lends Rachel about how to attract vampire lovers - so that she can avoid doing the many things that are causing Ivy to misread her intentions.

The novel has a number of laugh-out-loud moments, but there is also a warm heart to the book. The characters are people you end up caring a great deal about, and you definitely want to know more about them. I will be picking up the rest of this series!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2005
If you enjoyed the alternate realities in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the "Sooky Stackhouse" novels then you will like this book. The setting is not fanciful and the characters are "real" people with a little extra.
The author may have played a little with the accepted norms of vampire and other supernatural myths but so subtly that it just makes sense, and the main character is super.
This is not a great literary work, but it is a good fun read and left me hoping that there will be more stories of this sort soon.
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