This novella (novelette?) reminded me of everything I loved about the Downside Ghosts series, especially the first three books and the character of TeThis novella (novelette?) reminded me of everything I loved about the Downside Ghosts series, especially the first three books and the character of Terrible. To paraphrase a line from the story, he's bad enough to enjoy the bad things he does, but his noble streak is miles wide. He's a brutal hero, and Stacia Kane does a great job of portraying that....more
Fun, high-quality urban fantasy novels are pretty hard to find, and Hounded manages to have a natural balance of solid storytelling, fun characters, aFun, high-quality urban fantasy novels are pretty hard to find, and Hounded manages to have a natural balance of solid storytelling, fun characters, and good writing.
Now that I've had time to think about the novel (and sleep!), I think what made it work for me was that sense of balance, of not allowing things to swing too far into cliches or ridiculousness. Atticus himself, a two-thousand-year-old Druid, is probably a prime example of that element. He's a mixture of modern-day attitude and ancient ideas, and Hearne makes it work. Atticus can throw out a phrase like "pwned" one moment, and in the next paragraph, his speech can sound very proper and old-style, but it makes sense given how long he's lived and what he's had to do to blend in.
Some areas where the balance sort of flounders a bit is in Oberon and the widow. Talking animals in general don't really work well with me, especially when they're meant to be animals and not some sort of magical beings. I inevitably always find their speech/thoughts to be too much like a human's. In general, Oberon had enough of the true nature of a happy canine to balance out his occasionally too-human comments and speech. (Or, has being linked to Atticus affected his way of thinking? Did I miss that somewhere in the novel?) The widow was, for the most part, amusing, but she allowed Atticus to do something that kind of made me go "really? just like that?" But I really just accept her as one of those slightly-over-the-top characters and go with it; Hearne's writing and storytelling are mature enough that it doesn't get truly ridiculous.
As far as the plot goes, I thought the storyline was fun. Lots of action, lots of stuff going on. I'm not too big of a fan of the "gods as characters" things, but Hearne makes it work. There's some of the inevitable first-book-in-UF-series tour of all the boogeymonsters in the main character's life, but it feels natural in this case. I like the pantheon of gods that Atticus deals with; it's different from the usual Summer and Winter Courts of Faerie. The action scenes were well-written, and I like that Atticus is full of tales from his very long past.
In conclusion, I thought this was a fun urban fantasy novel with good overall balance. Hearne managed to take two themes that I'm not fond of and make them actually palatable for me. It's a good first book to a series, and I'm looking forward to continuing with the future novels....more
There were so many things about this book--the full set of three books, really--that I enjoyed. Certainly not least among them is the fact that Chess,There were so many things about this book--the full set of three books, really--that I enjoyed. Certainly not least among them is the fact that Chess, our drug-addicted heroine, makes mistakes. Huge ones. And she has to pay the price for them. I feel like you don't see that very often in urban fantasy heroines, and that alone makes this series such a stand-out for me.
The second thing that impressed me about this series is probably going to sound a bit odd, but Stacia Kane, through Chess's eyes, made me feel more attracted to the scarred, muscular, often-seen-as-ugly Terrible than to charming, handsome Lex. (I almost always go for the Lex-types in series.) Descriptions of dozens of muscular, studmuffin types in countless urban fantasy and paranormal romance series didn't do nearly as much for me as Kane's portrayal of Terrible in her Downside Ghosts series. She made Terrible appear damn attractive, made me connect really well with Chess's feelings, which I think is a testament to her skill as a writer.
So, apparently the quickest way to get me, not a huge short story anthology fan, to love a set of short stories is to maRelease date: October 26, 2010
So, apparently the quickest way to get me, not a huge short story anthology fan, to love a set of short stories is to make them all by the same author and all about a character I quite love at times. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected, from the cheesebomb of a first story to the final story that made my heart ache. Jim Butcher, thank you for bringing Harry Dresden into the literature world....more
**spoiler alert** In the eighth installment of the Rachel Morgan/Hollows series, we see Rachel having to deal with being shunned, called a black witch**spoiler alert** In the eighth installment of the Rachel Morgan/Hollows series, we see Rachel having to deal with being shunned, called a black witch, and now the governing body in the witches' world has found out she can kindle demon magic, and they'll stop at nothing to bring her in. Add to that a power struggle with Trent Kalamack, a changing relationship with Al, a struggling romance with Pierce, tragedy on the home front, and the return of Nick Sparagmos the Neighborhood Friendly Douche Bag, and you have Rachel's newest adventure.
In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't do a re-read of the series before diving into this book. As a result, my grasp of the continuity of some of the character development arcs and past plot events is not the best, so I may have missed some things that avid readers (and re-readers) of the series probably caught.
As always, Kim Harrison writes a fun adventure full of colorful characters, lots of action, and a bit of romance. What I liked best was the progression of the three relationships that I felt got highlighted the most--Trent/Rachel, Al/Rachel, and Pierce/Rachel. I'd been waiting for development on the Trent front since The Outlaw Demon Wails, and I'm glad that they both seem to have moved beyond the constant animosity. I'm looking forward to seeing where Harrison takes them in the future, now that Trent sees Rachel as a business partner and not just a pain in his shapely rear end. I have to admit I was a bit surprised by the progression of Al and Rachel's relationship, which has now acquired some sexual overtones, and Rachel is beginning to not exactly sympathize with him, but she makes attempts to establish something resembling trust between them. I'm also curious to see where that will go, as I think a demon would be the pinnacle of the "Rachel Morgan is attracted to deadly men" pyramid. I wasn't sold on Pierce until the very end, but I thought his character arc was executed fairly well. I was just never particularly keen on any of Rachel's men, to be honest, so we'll see if her relationship with Pierce goes anywhere except right down the pooper in future books.
On the negative side of things, Rachel aggravated me in this book pretty badly. I felt like the first two-thirds or so was just a ride on the "poor Rachel" train. Granted, Rachel gets dumped on by pretty much everyone, but it just got a little tiresome to see Rachel get victimized, act righteously indignant, shout for so-and-so to stop fighting, and talk repeatedly about how she was sure to get blamed for whatever nasty thing was happening at the moment. Her major conflict seemed to be her struggle to not become a black witch in truth, in spite of her twisting curses and working with demons and so forth. I think we'll probably see a continuation of this development arc in the future, seeing as her relationship with Al is changing. I liked that it was mentioned several times that she needed to grow up, because she does. I've always found Rachel's character to be a bit childish, which has kept me from connecting with her, but hopefully we'll see that change in the future.
As for Nick, I was surprised to see him appear again, but in a way, it also doesn't surprise me. The door was never firmly shut behind him. At times I didn't see the point of him being there except to prove, yet again, his level of douchiness. But I can definitely see him returning in future books, especially since he's dealing with a currently-unknown demon and is learning info on Rachel. I still don't get what he's on about, but I guess I'll just have to stay tuned and see.
Overall, not the greatest book in the series, but I'm still hanging in there for future books....more
I didn't find this book to be as good as the previous two, but it's still a solid story. The central issues Rac(Read via the CDs, unabridged version.)
I didn't find this book to be as good as the previous two, but it's still a solid story. The central issues Rachel deals with in this novel include (but are certainly not limited to) finding a certain someone's murderer, dealing with more of the usual tension with Ivy, a changing relationship with Marshall, the reappearance of an old (old, old) love interest, and tracking down a pair of serial killers. Just a normal week in the life of Rachel Morgan!
(I guess I should also note here that I believe this particular novel has tie-ins with some short stories that Harrison wrote, which I haven't read, but I don't think it interfered with my reading of the story.)
Quite a bit of the conflicts in the novel tie back to a central issue: Rachel is being berated and judged for being a black witch, even though she insists she's a white witch. Hence, the title of the novel. (But I have to obnoxiously point out that Rachel also insisted for a long time that she was an earth witch and not a ley line witch, despite the fact that she tapped a ley line almost every time she got into a tight spot.) I did enjoy there sort of being a central conflict, but I still felt like this novel was a whole bunch of smaller storylines following their own individual courses, although several of them certainly intermingled.
Still, Harrison tells a good story, and I did like seeing Rachel working through the issues in her life while the stage is set for her to deal with a whole bunch of new ones. I thought I'd do a whole series review, but I think my readings of the books were too spaced out for me to give accurate feedback. But one issue I did have with the series was that some aspects of it--namely vampire society and Ivy's character--felt a little heavy-handed and overworked to the point where I just gave up trying to understand. Granted, this may be because I are the dumb, but I love a complex character, and it took Ivy a lot of books to grow on me. But she finally did, and I guess that's what matters. I find her relationship with Rachel to be something that I haven't yet seen, which is always refreshing.
So, at this point, I can say that Rachel Morgan/The Hollows is a good adult paranormal romance/urban fantasy series that can entertain as well as touch your heart. I'm looking forward to what Harrison has planned for Rachel and friends. (More Trent, please!)...more