Review: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1)Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rachel Morgan is a white witch and runner working for Inderland Security, in an alternate world where a bioengineered virus wiped out a great deal of the world’s human population – exposing the existence of the supernatural communities that had long lived alongside humanity.

For the last five years Rachel has been tracking down law-breaking Inderlanders in modern-day Cincinnati, but now she wants to leave and start her own agency. Her only problem is that no one quits the I.S.

Marked for death, Rachel will have to fend off fairy assassins and homicidal weres armed with an assortment of nasty curses. She’s a dead witch walking unless she can appease her former employers by exposing the city’s most prominent citizen as a drug lord. But making an enemy of the ambiguous Trent Kalamack is just as deadly as leaving the I.S.

Warnings: two instances of sexual assault, violence, murder, animal abuse

This is a reread so most of it is going to be me gushing about my first dystopian series, but here goes: The Hollows is a dystopic urban fantasy in an alternate universe where a plague decimates a quarter of the world’s human population, allowing the supernatural creatures to come out and declare their existence. They have been living alongside humanity in the shadows for ages, and now in this world, they live out in the light. Harrison’s imagined world has a thriving society built on this new world order, where there are witches and vampires and werewolves prowling about, and pixies and fairies finally getting to live openly and survive. But it is not just the addition of them – it is how their open existence affects human society as a whole: for instance, there are two law enforcement agencies – the Federal Inderland Bureau run by humans, and the Inderland Services run by, well, the supernatural denizens. The various factions, human or supernatural co-exist with minor clashes or political issues, but they do co-exist.

At the time this story takes place, 40 years have passed since The Turn: The Hollows Begins with Death (which is also an awesome prequel book you can read before this, but it gives away one big reveal later on in the series) and Rachel Morgan is a I.S. runner who is just having a bad go at her job. Her living (as in not yet undead) vampire boss has it out for her and when she quits (in violation of her contract) and another star runner, Ivy (who is also a living vampire), joins her she essentially puts a target on her back. Now, with the help of pixy backup Jenks, she hopes to land a big tag in exchange for getting the I.S. to leave her alone and in her sights is the Councilman Calamack, who may or may not be (he obviously is) involved in illegal drug trade.

Rachel’s adventures in being a dead witch walking, and constantly escaping assassination attempts drives the plot of the book, but there are various threads emerging that are crucial to the series. There is Ivy herself, who has feelings for Rachel, and is trying to control her blood urges. There is the pixy-fairy rivalry, and an adorable addition of Jenks’ pixy clan (who are all so awesome!). There is the question of Calamack’s own status as to what kind of Inderlander he is. There is Nick, who Rachel starts dating towards the end of the book. But obviously the biggest thread is the demon who makes an appearance in the book, and who is a major character that keeps popping up throughout the series. Basically for a Hollows fangirl, this reread had me on my toes, screaming OMG continuously in my head, but that is because I love how detailed and thought out this series is. Things that seem trivial now make sense in later books, and characters that seem secondary now are major later on. It is an entertaining series, and I hope to get to the end of it next year.


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4 thoughts on “Review: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

  1. Pingback: All About Reading Tag | YA on my Mind

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