Amy's Reviews > Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond

Into the Woods by Kim Harrison
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's review
Sep 27, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: demons, goodreads-first-reads
Read in November, 2012

Just received my copy, thanks GR and Harper!

Seven shorts from The Hollows, including the highly anticipated Million Dollar Baby that gives us hardcore Trent fans a glimpse of his innermost thoughts, and four brand spanking new non-Hollows shorts from Ms. Harrison's magic drawer.

Million Dollar Baby 4 stars
This novella is a must read for all Hollows fans whether you're for or against Rachel and Trent because so much of Trent's ruthless behavior is explained. I find myself liking him even more, if that's even possible, now that I understand him better. It also explains why Jenks's attitude towards Trent changed so much after their quest. My favorite parts were oddly enough, not the action scenes, but the inner debates he had with himself - he really is torn between wanting to do the right thing and live as he wishes, and his loyalty and obligations to his species which forces him to be his father's son.

The story: As most of you already know, Trent embarks on an ancient elf quest to "steal" his daughter from ice queen Ellasbeth. The readers who've already read A Perfect Blood know the outcome of this quest, but that really isn't the point of this story at all IMO. The main focus, to me, was Trent's inner monologue (dialogue?). This showed another side of the multibillionaire/murdering bastard/biodrug lord that we've all come to love or hate at one point or another - his vulnerable side. He knows what Rachel thinks of him, and he doesn't like himself very much either. He does what he has to in order to save an entire species from extinction. His constant struggle wih achieving his goals and juggling his responsibilities without losing his soul is tiring and frustrating but also admirable. After finishing Trent's novella, I found myself wanting to reread The Hollows now that I have a better understanding of the cookie maker.

Eta- quick review of the Non Hollow shorts..

I think I read somewhere that Kim Harrison has a background in bio-something or another. It would make sense seeing as how most of the shorts have a scientific explanation for the paranormal.

Grace 4 Stars
I really enjoyed the protag, Grace. She reminds me a bit of Rachel from Dead Witch Walking- both seemingly lonely, both have strong moral compasses, both unwilling to bend even a little bit in order to appease the powers that be. Her world is fascinating and I really hope Kim H. and her publisher decides to turn this into a series.

The story: Grace lives in a world where people throw energy. Massive amounts that can kill a person and shut down the power in an entire city. Thankfully, not everyone has that ability. Most who do are discovered while still in elementary school but some are able to hide their ability well into their late teens if they don't kill themselves and/or everyone around them first. These older energy throwers are extremely dangerous and it's Grace's job to confront, apprehend, and judge whether they're suitable for working in her organization (they can't be morally corrupt) or whether they're better off being sent to The Island for rehab (getting all the parts of their brains that produces the energy shut off).

I really can't say anymore because it'll give the story away but trust me, this one is worth reading. There's the wise father figure, the doggie best friend, the kinda-sorta-corrupt organization that pretty much controls the world, and the hot guy who turns out to be the one that got away.

Pet Shop Boys 2 Stars
Wasn't feeling this short but that might be due to the fact that the MC is a male and I'm not really a fan of those (tried Dresden Files and Kevin Hearnes' Fey series but couldn't get into them). Unique take on vampires and I loved that the MC works in a pet shop but that's about all the pros I can think of. Cons: mc is insecure and pretty much a dweeb (I like the male protags to be tough and powerful a la Jericho Barrons and Curran, not someone who gets led on by his boss for years but never makes a move and freaks out when he realizes he's in a room full of vamps). It also felt a lot like I was reading an unfinished middle grade story.

Temson Woods 3 - 3.5 Stars
Male protag again but I really liked him - he reminds me of Trent; impulsive, quiet, and unpredictable. Pretty good for a short story.

Man inherits a large piece of undeveloped land when his grandfather passes. He has a heckuva lot of student loans to pay off and is continuing his education (science related) and decides to sell at least part of the woods. At the reading/hearing he meets his grandfather's sister who tells him to meet her the next day and refuses to take no for an answer. Long story short, he discovers the existence of Dryads but seeing as he's a scientist, he doesn't believe what his senses are telling him until he comes up with a scientific explanation for them. This is where things got a little fuzzy for me. I get the whole "nature's defense mechanism" thing and vaguely recall reading/watching on tv something about forests and their super complex ecosystem and the amazing things it's capable of, but I just can't wrap my brain around the fact that trees created dryads. It's the whole "did the rotting piece of meat create the maggots" thing all over again and we learned early on, 2nd grade or so, that that isn't possible. Okay, so it's a little different from spontaneous generation seeing as how the trees are alive, but last I checked, plants couldn't create an entirely different species that's capable of reproducing sexually with humans.
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