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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Review: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

Title: Dead Witch Walking
Author: Kim Harrison
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 04/27/04
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The underground population of witches, vampires, werewolves -- creatures of dreams and nightmares -- has lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But after a genetically engineered virus wipes out a large part of humanity, many of the "Inderlanders" reveal themselves, changing everything.

Rachel Morgan, witch and bounty hunter with the Inderland Runner Services, is one of the best at apprehending supernatural lawbreakers throughout Cincinnati, but when it comes to following the rules, she falls desperately short. Determined to buck the system, she quits and takes off on the run with an I.S. contract on her head and is reluctantly forced to team up with Ivy, Inderland's best runner... and a living vampire. But this witch is way out of her league, and to clear her name, Rachel must evade shape-changing assassins, outwit a powerful businessman/crime lord, and survive a vicious underground fight-to-the-death... not to mention her own roommate.

Plot: 3 Stars
Being very late in starting this series (book one has been on my TBR shelf for around two years), I had high expectations after all of the praise and love I've seen online. It almost pains me to say that I found this book to be a bit disappointing. There was a lot of potential, but also room for improvement. This novel included a number of things that I really enjoyed: an interesting way that the paranormal came out of hiding, paranormal creatures that aren't as widely used in UF (such as leprechauns and pixies), and unique details about the spells that Rachel Morgan puts together. But there were also things that I didn't enjoy as much. A number of aspects to the story seemed repetitious. There are only so many times Rachel can be afraid of Ivy, and she seemed to use the same basic plan numerous times. Plus, it was a bit confusing as to why the I.S. would take a contract out on Rachel. It's explained that it has happened, but I never quite understood their reasoning. All in all, despite these flaws, I will give book two a chance to see if the series improves.

Pace: 2.5 Stars
I feel like about one hundred pages could've been stripped from this novel and it would've read much smoother and more concise. There just seemed to be so much detail about every little thing. There were also a few points that I refer to as info-dumping, in which Rachel bombards the reader so much information about the world. This was a very slow read. It took a bit longer than average to get into this novel, and it also had a couple moments where my attention waned for a bit before being drawn back in. The repetition seemed to play a part in the slow pace as well.

Characters: 3 Stars
Rachel was an interesting character, although she seemed a bit jumpy. I liked the details included about the spells she crafted, but I felt like a bit of her history was missing. It seemed like there wasn't enough information about her past to allow the reader to truly understand her motivations. Hopefully, future novels will give a better glimpse. Ivy was even more mysterious than Rachel. I feel as if I didn't learn anything about her or her motivations. At some points, it seemed like she was there solely to keep Rachel slightly frightened at all times. Jenks was by far my favorite character. I don't think I've even read a book with pixies before, and after reading this book, I think there should definitely be more pixies in Urban Fantasy. He had spunk, he had attitude, he had a sense of humor. Plus, his loyalty to Rachel and Ivy was very strong.

Cover: 3 Stars
Although the outfit Rachel is wearing on the cover is accurate, she wears in on a job in the very beginning of the novel, it doesn't fit her personality or what she wears for the majority of the novel. I liked the detail put into the handcuffs on her belt. The charms on the handcuffs catch the eye, and are also described within the novel. The mansion in the background looks a bit scarier than the feel of the actual mansion within the novel. The only thing about the cover that I do not like is the brushstrokes that stand out, that tell you it is a painting. Normally, something artistic like this would be a positive thing, but since the rest of the novel include photographs of a cover model instead of paintings, it leaves this novel to stand out and not match the rest.

Overall: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I received this novel as a gift.


  1. Keep Reading! This is one of my favorite series, but like a lot of my most loved series (Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld; Carrie Vaughn's Killy Norville; and Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin), it starts out a bit slow in the beginning. But it gets so much better, so don't stop!

  2. I can only agree with Dharma! This morning I finished the third book, and there is real progress in the novels. Because of some plot choices I didn't like it as much as the first two, but it still was a great read.
    With every book it seems, you get to know a bit more about the past of Rachel as well as Ivy's plus the issues you mentioned get solved. So yes, do keep reading :)

    I totally adore Jenks too, he's da bomb. Well, he and his whole family are just adorable.

  3. I finished this book a couple weeks ago, and pretty much agree. It was really slow, hardly anything got me really engaged. But I'll read some of the later books. Oh, and if you like pixies, try Need and the subsequent books!


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