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on 21 May 2014
I know other reviewers have panned it as not her best and not her true style and admittedly, I have only just finished it and therefore not given myself cogitating time for it to settle into my brain, but despite all that, yes I loved it. The ending made me chuckle out loud, and a few loose ends were sorted, a few new strings added, so we can wonder what will happen next. The threads running through these stories, the exact visualisation of this world that I get when I read one, the other worldly hint of danger that keeps me on edge, even though I know that, like the Lone Ranger, our Rache is not going to die before the end of the book, these are the things that keep me coming back for more. Can't wait to start the next one, but I must pace myself and read something a little more calming next. Keep them coming, though.
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on 25 March 2017
excellent book
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on 11 August 2017
fast and problem free
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on 28 April 2013
As always Kim Harrison tells an excellent story with characters that intrigue and pull you in. Never left on the hook but always left wanting the next episode.
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on 5 June 2015
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on 7 January 2016
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Rachel Morgan has a rough life -- short-lived pixies, a vampire roommate, demon marks and smut, and a permanently dead vampire lover whose murder she can't even recall.

And actually, things get even WORSE for her for a time in "White Witch Black Curse," the seventh book in Kim Harrison's Hollows series. This particular chunk of the series pits Rachel against a particularly nasty Inderlander, even as she's faced with a new slew of problems and a new source of loneliness -- now if only the subplot about Kisten had been fleshed out a bit more.

As Rachel struggles to remember who killed Kisten, she and Ivy are called in when Edden's son is nearly beaten to death by a seemingly normal suburban couple. But as they uncover odd details about the couple, Rachel realizes that the woman, Mia is a banshee -- an aura vampire -- and that neither she nor Ivy can hope to prevail against her.

As she searches Mia and her creepy banshee baby, Rachel also is forced to juggle family problems, a ghostly presence, a rotten reputation, and the haunting question of what happened the night Kisten was murdered. But a bad situation rapidly becomes worse when Rachel is unexpectedly shunned -- cut off from the witch community completely -- and an old friend is kidnapped by Al. And there's still that nasty banshee to deal with...

The dust jacket of "White Witch Black Curse" makes it sound like the hunt for Kisten's murderer is the main plot. Well, it isn't what the whole plot is about. While his death (and the emotional turbulence it causes for Rachel) hang over the story like a dying storm cloud, the story is mostly about banshee-hunting and the nasty effects of dealing with demons. Lots of smut, and possible social ostracization.

Fortunately Harrison's writing is like a strong interwoven rope of subplots, character development, action and headsplitting magical violence (some of it from little babies). She keeps the plot steady if rather slow-moving through the first parts of the book (come on, less poking around!), but kicks it up a notch in the last third of the book. The storyline winds down into some very dark, violent territory as Rachel and Ivy fight with a serial-killer and a megalomaniac banshee.

Best yet, she can wrench your emotions up by the roots -- just note the intense creep-out factor of the dead vampires and the little sushi party, or the hauntingly bittersweet memories of the night Kisten died. That last is powerful enough to overshadow the entire last half of the book. Fortunately all this grim stuff is leavened by the humorous dialogue ("We have a randy ghost?") and quirky situations (tomato-eating party!), although it's somewhat less humorous than in books past.

The big flaw? Well, the the tragic, romantic flashback of the night Kisten died is a heartbreaker, but the actual confrontation with the murderer -- and his long-forgotten identity -- seem like they were tacked on. I just sort of expected more.

Rachel gets put through the grinder here -- people think she's a black witch (which she isn't, demon smut aside), she becomes a social outcast, and she's still struggling to overcome the pain at Kisten's loss. But she does start to grow beyond it -- and we have a new potential love interest in the mysterious Pierce. We also get plenty of feisty, quirky Jenks and his obscene Christmas carols, and a new chapter in Ivy's continuing struggle with her vampire side. Not to mention an adorable scene where she visits kids at the hospital.

"White Witch Black Curse" finally deals with the question of who murdered Kisten, and pits Rachel against one of her nastiest enemies yet. Not the best of Harrison's work, but still an enjoyable book.
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on 3 May 2009
If you're reading 'White Witch, Black Curse', chances are you're already a confirmed fan of Kim Harrison's 'Hollows' series, featuring witch and professional bounty hunter, Rachel Morgan. If you're not, and have just come across the book by chance, I'd advise you to put it aside until you've read the preceding six volumes, as the book contains so many references to previous events that you'll find it quite hard going without knowing the back story.

For Rachel fans, all the familiar faces are back: Ivy, still struggling with her vampiric nature; Jenks, four inches of potty-mouthed heroism; Al, always out to exploit the slightest weakness; and Trent, although he's restricted to a single, minor appearance. Added to them, there's able support from more minor characters like Glen, no longer such a secret tomato addict; Skimmer, not surprisingly full of hate and rage; and Rachel's mother, finally moving on.

With such a cast of characters, and a weight of previous events, perhaps it's not surprising that Rachel's kept as busy as ever: this time around, she has to contend with hunting down a Banshee - an aura and soul-sucking killer in the Hollows' universe; continuing to try and recover her memory and find the murderer of her vampire lover, Kisten; and dealing with demon Al, who's abducted Pierce, a ghost and former acquaintance of Rachel's from her teenage years. All of these threads are neatly resolved by the end of the book - in some cases perhaps a little too neatly: a Banshee attack conveniently prevents Rachel from pursuing Al into the Ever-After, after Pierce's abduction, and the final showdown, again conveniently, takes place somewhere that triggers her recollections of Kisten's murder. One gets the feeling that, after the exceptional revelations of 'The Outlaw Demon Wails', Harrison wants to take a breath, so to speak, and clear up remaining loose ends, all the better to move the overall Hollows arc forward. And, there are certainly enough new elements introduced to rouse readers' curiosity: ranging from Pierce - a devious character who enjoys playing with demons, but who seems to push all Rachel's buttons; intriguing hints in the quest for Ivy to keep her soul after becoming undead; and Trent's mysterious gift - a set up for the next book, if ever there was one.

So, is 'White Witch, Black Curse' worth the wait and the read? There's certainly plenty to enjoy: the dialogue is as snappy as ever, the action is well-described, and we do finally get to find out who killed Kisten. If Trent hardly figures, and Al is less of a presence than he was in the last book, well, they can't dominate every one of Rachel's adventures. I certainly found it difficult to put down, and will be keeping it on my shelf to re-read while waiting for the next one. My main gripes would be that, as I said above, some events seemed a little too convenient, and we didn't discover anything new about the nature of the Ever-After, and how Rachel's lessons as Al's student are going. I can only hope that's something lined up for the future. As Rachel says at the end of the book, `I love my life,' and all I can say, is that I love reading about it, and will continue to do so.
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on 31 July 2011
I will start this review by saying that I love Kim Harrison's series The Hollows. They were the first true Urban Fantasy series I collected, and it has been my recommendation to many a person wanting to try out this genre.

However, and as much of a Fangirl I am to this author and her work (and the main character of the Graphic Novel, Ivy Tamwood), I have to outright admit there are some really serious issues with this Graphic Novel adaptation of the world of the Hollows. The author at least was gracious enough to not just wanting to transcribe her already written work into comic book form (Anita Blake and Harry Dresden, I'm looking at you!), something that seldom works right. Instead, she gifted us with a trip into the mind of Ivy (rather than the books' narrator, Rachel) and tells us just how the main duo of the series came to work together and know each other.

Storywise, this might have worked rather well for a novel, or a noveletta -- but in comic form, the most interesting aspects of the tale were subdued or understated. Ivy's feelings (read love) for Rachel happened incredibly abruptly, and even though Rachel here wasn't as incredibly annoying as Mercy Thompson in the "Homecoming" graphic novel (awful awful AWFUL!), she came across as random, whimsical, and annoyingly moralist. And somehow, Ivy seems to be amazingly grateful to have Rachel's abuse. I love the two characters and I adore Rachel, but I really didn't like her in this GN - in the books she's sassy, self assured and a little bit cheeky. Here? She's got mood swings that take her from cutesy to "RANTING BITCH IN YOUR FACE!".

Again, this tiny history behind the GN would be much more interesting if more properly developed but it just didn't work -- there was no emotional development, and the secondary plot (the murdered werewolf) seems crammed in to give the girls something to do that wasn't Ivy moping over Rachel and her relationship to Piscary. The secondary characters felt awkward -- crowbared even -- almost forced to be there, as if they had been contractually obligated to make an appearance to please the fans.

I can't really understand the goal of this Graphic Novel:

- If it was to give the fans a little treat, to show them a vignette of how their main duo came together, it fails because it lacks most of the elements that make the Hollows Series so much fun -- and the author's talented writing. Everything given here is a weak rehash of what we already knew from reading the books.
- If it was to actually complete a missing gap in The Hollows lore, and the author meant it as something actually useful, it, again fails, because she chose the wrong medium: she's clearly out of her depth, and the story itself would either need to be told in a bigger book, or by a more competent storyteller in this means, because -- really? I didn't learn anything interesting about the two that I didn't know already.
- If it was to draw in new people, give them a taste of the books and maybe get them to buy the series, it also fails, because there is very little information about the setting (the little there is is crammed into a few squares) -- and when you waste 3 whole pages just to describe Cincinnati, and then carry on the rest of the book as assuming that the reader already knows the setting fully well, then you really can't expect the new readers to be engaged, because they will have no reason to care about the characters. And with the story itself not being particularly good or memorable -- it becomes even harder to recommend this as a "stepping stone" for someone to get interested in the series.

One thing is painfully obvious -- Ms. Harrison is a delicious writer, but she can't write comics to save her life. As I said above, the first three pages are dedicated to Cincinnati alone -- something that would work fine in a novel, but not in a comic book. Then, suddenly, the GN rushes forward, and I kept getting the feeling I was running behind it, filling in bits here and there with my own knowledge of the Books. There is no pacing, no interest, no use of the medium itself to convey the story -- it seems as if Kim Harrison just wrote a story, and then told someone to write pictures for it. Unfortunately, with comics seen often as a "lesser medium", a lot of people believe that if you can write novels, you can write comics. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth and it takes a special training (and talent) to be able to pull off a good Graphic Novel.

Blood Works doesn't work neither as a comic or a novel, thus failing in both precepts of being a "Graphic Novel."

Now, the art.

Many people complained that the art was ghastly, subpar, didn't make the original characters any justice. I think it just shows that the artist is not very experienced -- and I can understand that for all her popularity, Ms. Harrison couldn't really afford to hire one of the real good and great comic book artists in the market (Ivy drawn by Adam Hughes.... le sigh!). I didn't like the art, but if the story had been good, I wouldn't have minded it. Curiously, one of the things that annoyed me most about the art wound up being the author's fault -- Ivy's excessive Asian looks irritated the hell out of me, because it went against the "hint of Asian" that claimed that Ivy had in the books. It was far too much -- and I blamed the artist, all the way through the GN, until I reached the "extras" section, where Kim Harrison shows her notes asking for the artist to redo Ivy, because she show the "hint of Asian" -- and listing Lucy Liu as a good reference.

Now, Lucy Liu is a beautiful woman. But she is VERY CLEARLY Asian. And Ivy is not supposed to be (at least judging from the books), and instead, she should just have an exotic look, topped off with a hint of Asian. It's small wonder quite a few complained about this unexpected feature of Ivy in the GN. Part of me wonders if it wasn't just to make Rachel look better by comparison, because she was quite prettily drawn.

I didn't really like the hairdo in Ivy (Ivy is highly sophisticated, and that ponytail didn't work well), but those are minor grievances.

Unfortunately, I'm forced to give this book a very low mark: the story is forgettable and unoriginal, the art is passable at best and mediocre at worst, and it seems, in the end, just a waste of paper and space for either fans or nenwcommers. This comes across more as a work of vanity (to have one's urban fantasy books turned into comics seems a recent trend as of late), and not to really achieve anything truly meaningful.
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on 16 June 2010
The seventh instalment in the Hollows series about witch Rachel Morgan and her companions Ivy (vampire) and Jenks (pixy).

I enjoyed this book, but felt that there were certain elements of the plot that dragged on a little bit. The whole banshee story felt tacked on. I thought they were a cool addition to the Inderlanders that inhabit the series, but, since there has been no mention of banshees in any of the other books, this was definitely something that Harrison decided on only recently. I did find as well that the sucking of emotion was much like the sucking of blood from vampires, which means having two such predators in the books. I'm not sure how much mileage Harrison will get out of banshees in future books, but I'm sure we'll be seeing characters such as Holly and the Walker again.

I also didn't like the resolution of the Marshall character. Sure, Rachel is shunned but this guy is talked up as being Rachel's white knight and wanting to save her, so why does he bail? Probably because Pierce is now on the scene... Harrison does like to tidy up the previous chap before Rachel moves onto someone new.

Despite this, there were some lovely moments. Everything to do with the demon Al fascinates me and he is fast becoming one of my favourite literary bad guys. He has a fabulously childish, arrogant, mischievous character that lends itself to some brilliant dialogue and action scenes between him and Rachel. There was also a really spine-tingling moment where Rachel catches sight of him in the back of her car, and remembers that he IS a demon, no matter how he plays up his laissez faire English gentleman.

Jenks is another highlight. I just adore the way that Harrison has continued to bring him on as a character - bolshy, quick-witted, so fiercely loyal, and with such a smutty mouth! All of the Tinkerbell curses are both adorable and a mite disgusting!

Harrison has built the world of the Hollows extremely strongly, so that the reader now knows what the scent of burnt amber means, and understands the signals that can turn a vampire on.

I missed the Weres in this book and hope we will see them again in the next book to some extent - after all, Rachel still has a tattoo that needs doing!

Thumbs up from me overall, though - another solid addition to Harrison's now-long-running series.
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