Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a Happy Holiday Season! Kim Harrison has certainly tried to make it better for us by posting Chapter 2 of Ever After! If you were able to hold out from downloading it with a Fistful of Charms, you can now see it on her website. Just check it out here:
It’s been four years since the events of Halfway to the Grave. Cat, has honed the skills Bones has taught her, working for a secret government agency as the head of a unit that hunts down troublesome undead. Her half-vampire heritage offers an invaluable benefit to the cause. But you don’t do what Cat does without making a few enemies. She’s now a target as someone has put a hit out on her. Her only hope is Bones, the vampire she left behind. Though he’s “dead” he’s the only one on this earth to make her feel alive, and those feelings come rushing back. But can she keep them at bay? Not if he has his way.
I am always a little concerned about ships when the characters get together off the bat because I feel they become stale. Even with the insta-love between these two, I thought the first book was exciting and fresh. But this one felt like more of the same. I liked Bones in book 1, but there wasn’t a lot of evolution here, so he came off as Gary-Stuish. And Cat, his Mary Sue. Unlike the first go ’round, I didn’t find the number of times one was jealous, insecure, or baiting vamps for slaughter to be nearly as amusing. And then Bones practically always had the answers to the problems so I just didn’t find him as intriguing and to be honest, his dialogue started to irritate me a bit with the “blokes”, “luvs”, “sods” etc. He’s over 200 so I wish he would have acquired vocabulary with more variety by now.
There was a fair bit of action and definitely some laughs, but Jeaniene Frost doesn’t include enough follow through after the build up. I feel like there’s this massive world with characters waiting to be explored, but we get less than I want to see in a read. I’m really big on supporting characters, yet I didn’t find myself attached to anyone here. Everything just kept working out a little too easily, so nothing was perilous, gripping, or gritty. I felt like it was basically all centered around when these two could get back to shagging.
And speaking of which, of course I can’t complete a review without my opinion on chapter 32. It’s pretty much the only thing I was asked about or told about, even during Book 1. To be honest, it wasn’t much to write home about for me. It wasn’t bad (none of her scenes are) but the hype surrounding it made my expectations too high, so an underwhelming result was inevitable. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly have my short list favorites in literature, but this is just not one of them. Sorry! *ducks from flying tomatoes*
Overall, it certainly wasn’t a bad read, but it just wasn’t as good as I was hoping it’d be. After the first book I thought it would practically inhale this one, reading it in no time, but that just wasn’t the case. There’s still Book 3 which I do plan to read, but that will be the final determinant of whether or not I plan to keep going with this series. Though I like to come to my own conclusions, I’ve heard that the earlier books are better so I don’t know how well that bodes for the rest.
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1) – Finally taking the world of Cat and Bones for a spin again
For the record, I probably would have started this series a long time ago. It’s just that my first exposure to Jeaniene Frost’s writing included a spin-off book from this series that left a LOT to be desired. It took a while to build up the nerve to give her stuff another shot. But thankfully, this particular book has a more of what I’m looking for in an awesome vampire read. My experiences were like night and day!
This series follows Catherine Crawfield, a half-human/half-vampire who takes it upon herself to dole out vigilante justice against vampires with the hope to meet her vampire father and put him on the business end of her stake. She runs into the wrong (or right) vampire, Bones, who shows her that she is truly no match for what she’s up against. Being a vampire bounty hunter himself, he forces her into a partnership to take down fanged big bads together. And so begins the story of the beloved Cat and Bones team.
I thought this was a really good start to the series. Cat’s character starts out pretty self-righteous and angry, but she’s left questioning everything she believes in, which is good for character progression. I can see why Bones has a lot of fans. I found him very entertaining all throughout. I’m not an insta-love fan, and I do believe they get together a little too quickly here, but knowing that the whole series involves them allows me to be a little more accepting of the dynamics. It’s at least good to know that not everything will be easy for them. I do worry that they’ll become stale for me since I usually become more attached to ships with better build up, but I am keeping an open mind.
I laughed quite a bit at the countless euphemisms and innuendo. They were effective even when I was in a bad mood and placed well enough so as to not become annoying. The end really amped up the action which I totally loved. The carnage was awesome and I enjoyed seeing Cat and Bones as genuine badasses!
I purchased a copy of the book that contained bonus material with deleted scenes. A lot of it felt really repetitive to what I’d already read and only a couple of developments added to the story. The rest is forgettable, which is why it wasn’t included in the first place.
I definitely recommend at least giving this series a try. It’s not a favorite of mine quite yet, but I definitely will be reading the next one ASAP.
I heard this straight from the horses mouth on her blog today, but thanks to Jisha for the heads up as well! For the remainder of the holiday season, Book 4 will be offered for $1.99. Get it as a gift, or get it for yourself if you want to read the first TWO chapters of Ever After! Chapter 2 won’t be released until Christmas day, but if you just can’t wait, you can get it here.
Keep an eye out for additional excerpts here:http://harpervoyagerbooks.com/2012/12/17/excerpt-chapter-one-of-kim-harrisons-ever-after-jan-2013/
As you can see, I present definitive proof that I’ve indeed read the book! And man oh man is it fantastic! It’s my new favorite! I normally worry about using that term too loosely because it could diminish the potential quality of the series as a whole, but I genuinely think it’s the best book thus far. Kim Harrison has done it yet again and all signs point to her doing it two more times, and in epic proportions.
This time the Ever After, home of the demons, is shrinking at an alarmingly fast rate, placing the existence of magic in a pretty vulnerable position; without one there couldn’t be the other. So as if our favorite itchy witch, Rachel Morgan, didn’t have enough problems, this just sprang up to #1. If she can’t solve this one, she won’t have any others. If she can’t fix it, the demons want her head as her botched leyline creation caused this mess in the first place. And no one wants to see that happen more than her old buddy, Ku’Sox, the former day walking demon who had the misfortune to cross Rachel and lose. He even resorts to abducting her friend and goddaughter as insurance…and boy is it effective. Thankfully she’s got Trent Kalamack and Algaliarept by her side to restore balance and take him down once and for all. But the price may be too high for things to ever be the same again.
I know there was criticism about not a lot happening in A Perfect Blood, though I personally enjoyed the old-school Hollows style mystery. But for those of you who didn’t, for EVER AFTER I think a better question is what didn’t happen! There was so much going on that I genuinely can’t recall a dull moment. I think I felt and continue to feel every emotion possible, but I ultimately finished the book in pure euphoria. In case you needed a little reminding, Harrison presents really harsh realities and difficult decisions that prove she’s an author with guts. I don’t think I’ve experienced so many pulse pounding moments since For a Few Demons More (book 5). This book left me reeling like no other.
The scenes that take place in the Ever-After were some of the best of the series. The race against the clock really made this book so intense. Learning the history of the demons and the elves and the eventual degradation of their relationship was great, though I would have loved even more insight. I just can’t get enough of it.
And that brings me to Big Al, who was totally amazing. Fans will absolutely adore him in this book as we learn more about his personal back story. He’s much more prominent here than in A Perfect Blood and that’s fine by me because he literally lights up the pages and keeps things exciting in his own peculiar way.
After having read Trent’s POV in the bonus chapter of A Perfect Blood, I saw everything he did in a whole new light, and boy was it refreshing. He’s got his own personal demons to work through and it really makes you feel for the guy. He is in a rock and a hard place, accepting his actions that have led to certain consequences while still working to find the best solution possible. I loved seeing him use more magic. I feel like elves have a pretty powerful arsenal that deserve more exploration, so it was nice to see Harrison skim the surface here with the insinuation of even greater things. Magic is amped up for the elves, while more human qualities are amped up for the demons, so it was an interesting trade off.
His teamwork with Rachel was one of my favorite parts of the book. The tension was insane and placed so well all throughout. It’s seriously amazing to go back and read passages from Dead Witch Walking and then look at them now. Their progress is usually one step forward, two steps back, but the slow burn for this ship is probably what will make it my all-time #1 favorite if they end up together *fingers crossed*.
This book was just about everything I could ask for, but it wasn’t 100% flawless. With so much ever after, elf and demon action, the story manages to throw in a smidgeon of development in vampire politics. Unfortunately it felt very much like an afterthought and briefly broke the overall flow. We know vampires won’t get a lot of focus until the final book 13, so 10 or so pages of development came off a random at best and forgettable at worst.
All in all, this is an absolute MUST READ for fans of the series. Since Black Magic Sanction and Pale Demon the series has been invigorated and manages to improve as we reach the final stretch. That is a rarity for 95% of series that make it this far. I think it helps a lot that Kim Harrison has an end in sight and continues to write towards that. Many others have jumped-the-shark by this point. The Hollows is absolutely revving up for a grande finale and I cannot wait to be there.
I.S. cops Ivy Tamwood and Rachel Morgan were having a pretty good week, working their beat, busting brimstone street dealers left and right. That is until they realize someone may be gunning for them directly. That’ll put a damper on anyone’s week. Fortunately dodging risky attempts on their lives, it’s up to Ivy to figure out whose targeting them and why. Could it be Piscary? Does he want to eliminate Rachel to get Ivy back in his clutches faster? Or could it be a new big bad with something else in mind entirely?
My favorite format of The Hollows will forever be in written novel form, but I’ll take it any way I can get it. Ivy fans will enjoy this book as much as the last, Blood Work. It’s told from her POV even though Rachel maintains a consistent presence. It’s not a requirement, but it will help to have read the short story told from Ivy’s POV, Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil, because certain characters and events become relevant again.
Considering that this is a graphic novel, I’ll start with the graphic part. The cover is actually a bit disappointing. The cover of Blood Work was one of my favorite parts about the novel. The colors and badassness really made it pop. This one? Not so much. It’s dark and vaguely mysterious, but it’s not interesting. I feel like the model should be wearing a more sinister expression.
It’s no secret that I’m not particularly fond of the artwork. Even though there’s a new illustrator, they implemented the original artwork so the overall style is unchanged. After reading this one, I’m still not a fan but it is definitely improved over the first one in a few areas. For one, the coloring is more professional. It’s more vibrant and saturated, giving it an all around better look. Interestingly enough, I think Ivy looks better in this one than in Blood Work. But on the other hand, I thought Rachel looked prettier in Blood Work than she does here. Piscary looked pretty spot on to how I envisioned him in my head, and a new character, Celeste, actually had a pretty cool design. The artist definitely does better work with her own original creations.
The story itself was pretty good, if a bit short. It’s natural to feel that way when a usual Hollows entry is over 400 pages. Though I’m pleased with the direction the later books have taken, I do miss the old I.S. runner days when they had to solve mysteries and tag bad guys. This book brings a little bit of that back. I liked how it continued the plot lines from Ivy’s short story because it expands the vampire world just a bit more when it comes to their politics, connections, and the domino effect that comes with certain actions. There’s a lot of inner turmoil with Ivy, fighting her attraction to Rachel, fighting her vampiric nature, fighting Piscary’s mind games. That’s pretty much all the poor girl does! Not to mention actually physically fighting the bad guys. Piscary was pretty scary at times, especially when pulling auras. He’s certainly one you love to hate. Kisten’s role is even smaller here than in Blood Work, but we do see enough to know how strong of a bond he and Ivy shared. Rachel wasn’t quite as funny as she was in the first novel, but she still felt like Rachel, kicking butt, taking names. And seeing her cherry red splat gun in action again was pretty cool too.
All in all, I don’t think these are the best that The Hollows has to offer, but it is worth a read and fans will appreciate the story.
*Review copy provided by the publisher
But don’t worry! I will be holding a giveaway for the official release!!
Hi Hollows fans! Ms. Harrison certainly surprised us today
(or yesterday for those of us in the know) with the new Hollows short, Trouble on Reserve. The good news? IT’S NEW HOLLOWS MATERIAL!! The bad? It’s only available to iPad, iPod Touch (with the later iOS), and iPhone users who download the Sony Reader App.
While I am typing this blog from my beloved MacBook Pro, I happen to be a Droid girl with an outdated iPod touch *Le Sigh*. But knowing me, that certainly wasn’t going to get in my way. Thanks to a WONDERFUL coworker, I was able to read the story on her iPhone. It. Is. FABULOUS! Our favorite elf and demon witch team up once again with a wonderful twist. While great, I noticed a few significant spoilers from Ever After, so beware!
Book Release day! Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond – A little bit of old, a little bit of new
Just a friendly reminder to you guys that Into the Woods was released today! Below is my review that was previously posted. While the anthology was awesome and I loved Trent’s short story, Million Dollar Baby, I have to say that I liked the bonus chapter from A Perfect Blood even better.
Even being the Hollows snob that I am, I admit a couple of stories have slipped through the cracks for me over the years. That’s why I was quite pleased to hear that the stories would finally be included in an anthology! I’ll be honest and say that when I opened it I immediately skipped to “Million Dollar Baby”, the story centering on Trent and Jenks’s elf quest in Pale Demon, and it didn’t disappoint! Everything else for me was a bonus, but it was all worthwhile. Here’s a breakdown of the stories and my general feelings:
“Million Dollar Baby”– this was easily the premiere story for this publication. It was essentially priceless getting into Trent’s head and learning quite a few things that we never knew before. It makes him so much more “human” this way. Trent and Rachel fans eager for anything to support development of these two may be disappointed a smidgen (though not entirely), but I think it’s important to remember when this story took place and what it’s about. While I loved reading about Trent, I admit that I missed Rachel. I’m really attached to the itchy witch and they play off one another so well. No worries though because the bromance that blooms between Trent and Jenks is plenty entertaining. We see why pixies and elves get along so well. Overall, I thought this was a well done story and I wish we could get more stories from Trent, though I know that won’t be happening much.
As for the reprinted Hollows short stories:
“The Bespelled” – a short story focusing on Al and how he ensnared Ceri of 1,000 years ago. I always enjoyed this read. But it has Al so that makes it pretty easy…
“Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel”– a Robbie/Rachel/Pierce novella going back in time to when Rachel was 18 and struggling with her decision to join the I.S. This story was new to me. I was not the biggest fan of Pierce in the main novels, but I must admit that he is a little better here.
“Undead in The Garden of Good and Evil”– a novella focusing on Ivy in her earlier I.S. days. Another entertaining novel with excellent doses of Kisten. If you thought he and Rachel were hott together, you should read this to see vamp on vamp action. I read this some time ago, but I forgot how hott he and Ivy can be together.
“Dirty Magic”- short story about Mia, the banshee from Book 7. While not my favorite I found it interesting to read about her and her complex thought processes.
“The Bridges of Eden Park”– a Kisten and Rachel short that no doubt makes you miss him all over again.
“Ley Line Drifter” – a novella focusing on Bis and Jenks. It introduces the character Daryl who we meet again in the later Hollows novels. I will say it’s sort of weird to read A Perfect Blood and then go back to reading this. My favorite parts were the moments between Jenks and Matalina since we never get to see that first hand.
Stories beyond The Hollows:
“Pet Shop Boys” – I admit that every time I see this title I just want to sing “West End Girls”. Though I promise that the story is completely unrelated. It’s actually about vampires, but they are completely different from our Hollows vamps. I think she could have had something going, but The Hollows vamps are better and more developed, not surprisingly. They have an unfair advantage of having novel after novel of development. I would like to see this become a full novel or two to even the playing field. This was my favorite entry of the non-Hollows stories.
“Temson Estates” and “Spider Web”-a short story and novella focusing on dryads. I don’t think they are my favorite supernatural creature, but I would have liked to have seen a little more regarding the Spider Web story.
“Grace” – novella introducing new powers relating to people who hold special energy capable of destroying electronics. Their powers can be intense enough that, if left unharnessed, they can be a danger to society. This one is more borderline Urban Fantasy to me. It could be categorized as something else.
Overall, I enjoyed this book but normally I don’t enjoy anthologies very much simply because I prefer to read a whole novel as opposed to several novellas (just a personal preference). I found myself putting the book down more often for this reason, but I was definitely engaged enough to read the old stuff all over again along with the new stuff.
I follow Kim Harrison’s work more closely under the Rachel Morgan series than anything else, but the non-Hollows stories give the reader a taste of her skills as an author. It’s a good way to test yourself as a fan, determining whether you plan to follow Rachel Morgan or Kim Harrison in general. The beginnings of the stories were sometimes a little hard to get into because I didn’t always want to switch gears from story to story, especially going from Rachel Morgan to something totally different. But if you stay the course, each read is quite rewarding and interesting, even with such a short window of opportunity to tell the story. I see myself following Harrison throughout The Hollows and beyond.
“When this is over, can I fix that?”
My fingers, he realized, shivering when she brushed his palm. She’s talking about fixing my fingers. “If you like,” he said with a false calm, then pulled away, stifling a spun-sugar feeling as her hand slipped from his. It’s the adrenaline, he thought, not meeting her eyes.
Yeah, that. just. happened. Now READ!!
EDIT: I got it for my kindle, but those who already have the book and don’t want to purchase it again can read the whole thing in the browse feature on B&N. It’s free and all you have to do is click the first “Teaser Chapter” link:
Thanks to our very own VirginiaHouston for bringing this link to my attention. The Harper Browse doesn’t offer it at this time.
As you may or may not know, the mass market paperback was released this Tuesday and Kim added a special bonus which included a change of POV from a previous chapter. She decided to use Trent’s POV for the office scene where (spoiler ahead)……………Rachel takes off the demon bracelet that he put on her in Pale Demon. I just read the excerpt and well…
I’m about to go on a Goodreads quoting spree. Who wants to join me?!
It’s been a pretty good week for me. I scored front row tickets to the Madonna concert this past Sunday (I’d never been to one of her shows before), and now I read this MIND BLOWING excerpt from this book! Honestly, I’m speechless. If you want to read it yourself (and believe me, you’ll want to), you could stop by your local bookstore and read the MMP, you could buy the ebook like I did. I like having ebook and hardcovers for this series, so I purposely held out for the ebook until now. Kim NEVER goes for the jugular like that. She’s usually way more subtle. That last paragraph was just… As I said, I’m speechless right now and that NEVER happens with The Hollows.