I picked up Dead Witch Walking in the wake of finishing Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris. Having perused both Wikipedia and Goodreads for a geneI picked up Dead Witch Walking in the wake of finishing Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris. Having perused both Wikipedia and Goodreads for a general synopsis of the story, I felt confident that I was going to love the series and that it would also soothe the ache of not getting another Sookie Stackhouse novel until May of this year. This was a bad idea for two reasons: 1.) Gauging the content of one set of novels, however similar, against another (especially since it was the first in a series - sometimes it takes time for author's to get their sea-legs with a new character or world), makes it impossible to do an objective reading and 2.) I was, naturally, completely disappointed.
I didn't violently hate Rachel Morgan as much as I've hated other female protagonists. Don't get me wrong. Rachel definitely had her annoying moments, namely whenever she grabbed on to someone and growled 'cookie' at them. I know that Kim Harrison was probably just try to emphasize Rachel's bad-assness or whatever, but I thought it was really annoying and stupid. If I met someone that did this in real life, I'd probably punch them in the temple. Something about Rachel that confused me was her inexplicable fear of Ivy. I get it, she's never lived with a vampire before, but as an IS runner, I have to assume that she had been in contact with all manner of dangerous creatures beforehand, which made the whole fear of Ivy thing really weird. Ivy was okay, too. I think I probably like her more than Rachel. The clear star of this whole book is Jenks, though. Jenks and Mrs. Jenks, and Jax, too. I want four hundred thousand words on the Jenks family in which they fight a fairy war and they decorate their tree stump with scrap yarn and cleaned lids of aluminum cans for mirrors!
Anyway, I think Rachel was kind of stupid. She would get injured, go out and get injured some more and go out and get injured some more. I get what she was trying to accomplish, so I don't know that I'd put her in the 'dumb heroine' category just yet, but she was really sort of moronic in places.
I didn't mind the lack of love interest so much. I can forgive a lot with a good plot. Unfortunately, lacked that, so it would have been nice to have some guy in the picture to make this book a lot less boring.
The world-building was okay. It took me a long time to get through this novel and I think it was because in places, Kim's writing was a little weird. And, for whatever reason, it bored me for about seventy-five percent of the book. I liked the witchy/spell-casting parts. I liked the general concept of a world in tatters because of a virus spread by genetically-engineered tomatoes since it's at least marginally plausible (seriously, kids, they're already selling genetically engineered fish at your local grocery store).
The biggest problem that I had with the book was the triggery content. The mink scene made me physically ill. I rescue abused animals. The dog that was formerly in my user photo was an abused dog, too. I got him from the kill-shelter on the day he was supposed to be euthanized. He had two broken legs and he was absolutely petrified of all people. He's great now. He's more than great, actually, considering he gets steak every Saturday night and we make him his own cheeseburgers whenever it's red meat day in our house. The point is, I can't stomach animal abuse, even in fiction. I'll stop watching films if animal abuse is even implied. This scene where Trent keeps Rachel locked in a cage and allows Jonathan to essentially poke, prod, and beat at this mink - even though she wasn't really a mink - disturbed me to the point of tears. Even more disturbing was the graphic violence described in the rat-fights; animal fighting is a particularly triggery thing for me since I just got two rescues that were used in dog fights. I just thought it was really unnecessary to the plot when Trent could have easily locked Rachel up as a human and tortured her. It was sick.
The second triggery thing was the shape-shifting demon, asking Rachel if she was afraid of rape. Enough said. I think it was disturbing and I think the book would have been better without it and the gratuitous violence against animals.
I'm giving this a two. Had it not been for those specific scenes, I'd give it a three and I'd be mildly interested to see what happens next in the series. That said, I sincerely doubt I'll be reading the next book in the series or anything else Kim Harrison has written....more