The Hollows series by Kim Harrison
Welcome to the city of Cincinnati. It is 40 years after the T4-Angel virus wiped out 25% of the human population, and the Inderlanders have come out of the woodwork. Vampires, Weres, and Witches are just the tip of the iceberg. Humans have moved to the city, grouping together in fear, leaving the suburbs, known as the Hollows, open to be populated by inderlanders.
In this world post WW2 humanity did not look up, did not go to the moon. The time that for us was the space race people turned inward to genetics. Incredible discoveries were made, cures for Huntington’s and diabetes, until a genetically modified virus bonded to DNA in a GM tomato. To save the American infrastructure inderlanders came out of the closet, and held things together, the period of fear at this time known as the Turn. Four years of violence until humanity started to come to grips with their fairy tale neighbors, ending with the deaths of the bioengineers.
From book one where we meet our witch Rachel and the cast of characters that walk this world with her I fell in love with the series. Dead Witch Walking, where we meet Jenks, Ivy, Edden, and Rachel, as she tries to end the death threat put on her by her former employer. Rachel, so black and white at the beginning, trying to bring down a man she believes is evil. Jenks, seeming so young and vulgar, but the father of more than 50 young pixies. Ivy Tamwood, a living vampire, wealthy and powerful in her own ways, determined to be good as she defines it. Trent Kalamak seemingly heart less, willing to put Rachel in the city rat fights as a mink, and kill without a second thought.
Each book progressing, forcing Rachel to see that the world is not as black and white as she wants to believe. Forcing her to realize her own father is not the perfect man she thought him to be. We find out in The Good the Bad and the Undead that her father was in fact a very good friend of Trent Kalamak’s father. That because of him she survived the genetic disorder that should have killed her before her first year was over. It was also this change, we later learn, that allows her to kindle demon magic. She is in fact the first demon born in five-thousand years, since the elves magically castrated the demons.
Her many adventures force her to look around her and redefine what is truly evil, rather than just illegal. The vampires that work within the bounds of the law, mostly, but are permitted legal forms of abuse and rape. While the elves dabble in genetics, trying to salvage what is left of their species, and would be slaughtered by humanity for the sciences they use. She also is forced, very much against her will, to learn about the demons. Having always thought the demons were the epitome of evil, she learns the only demons alive are the ones capable of love. We learn of their enslavement, the cruelties enacted upon them by the elves, and how they were trapped in the Ever After.
One of the things I love in the series is the many forms of love we see in the series. It comes in things as simple as loyalty, specifically the loyalty of Jenks, or the more complicated relationship with Ivy, romantic love unrequited. There is Kistin, with his simple acceptance of who she is, and David her eventual pack leader who is almost like a big brother figure. I think though, my favorite is Ceri. A thousand year old former demon familiar she rescues. Ceri is her guide to demons, her teacher, and the woman that helps her find what she is capable of. She builds around her a colorful quilt of family that is heartwarming, a patchwork of people.
As the reader we see Trent Kalamak through the eyes of Rachel Morgan. Seeming without morals, we learn that he is in fact a man with very high standards. Not the social standards one would think of for a wealthy businessman, but personal standards. Each new book showing how he wants to be not just a good man, but one that is able to live up to the ideals of none other than our Rachel Morgan. Something of a romantic, desperate to save his people, do his duty, but lonely, he is a thoroughly endearing character before the end.
Kim Harrison has created a wonderful spectrum of humanity with her story. There are few examples of pure unadulterated evil in this series, Ku’Sox and Piscary. By and large the challenges faced by our heroine are situations created by people trying to do the right thing as they see them, trying to be happy, good, or simply survive. This is a very human tale, love and loss and fear of the unknown.
I have read the Hollows series twice now, and as with any good series found it to be better the second time around then the first. I have wondered what it could be as a TV series, with the characters brought to life, Felicia Day as Rachel Morgan.
This is definitely a story I would recommend to any fantasy reader. I, like many of the fans out there, am waiting on tenterhooks for the final books to arrive. I can’t wait to get my physical copy of the newest addition, The Undead Pool (Read my Advance Copy Review here), smelling of ink and paper and imagination. The 12th book of the Hollows series will be available February 25, 2014, from HarperCollins Publishing.
Author Kim Harrison
Published by HarperCollins Publishing
- Dead Witch Walking
- The Good the Bad and the Undead
- Every Which Way but Dead
- A Fistful of Charms
- For a Few Demons More
- The Outlaw Demon Wails
- White Witch, Black Curse
- Black Magic Sanction
- Pale Demon
- A Perfect Blood
- Ever After
- *The Undead Pool 2/25/14