sugoll (sugoll) wrote,

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Dead Witch Walking

The recent flurry of book reviews are mainly because I felt like reviewing the three I've just read: Dead Witch Walking, The Good, the Bad and the Undead, and Any Witch Way You Can, by Kim Harrison. Looking at the covers, I thought, "Hmm, these sound suspiciously Anita Blake-inspired. Perhaps they'll be inspired by the good ones instead of the bad ones."

Things don't start well. We're in Cincinnati - never a good beginning - and we're in an AU where an apocalyptic virus has wiped out many humans so that all the mythical Witches, Vampires, Weres, etc. have stopped pretending to be mythical, and come out into the closet. There are two law-enforcement agencies: the FIB is human-based, while the IS is full of the Weirdness and investigates the non-human stuff.

Our Protagonist, Rachel "Don't call me Anita" Morgan, is a witch working for the IS as a "runner" (arrests nasties), who quits at the beginning, and consequently has to live under a death-threat from the IS.

Say what?

Apparently, no-one ever quits, because Bad Things Happen.

Rachel's not-really-a-friend living vamp Ivy also quits, as does Rachel's back-up, the pixy [sic] Jenks.

This is where things start waking up, because up to this point, I was gritting my teeth. It was very definitely full of "look how supernatural our world is" nonsense so far, clumsily and annoyingly done. However, having all three characters (yes, the pixy counts as a character) trying to set up shop while Morgan is being attacked by assassins lends the novel a certain veracity it hadn't previously displayed. It's preposterous, though, and that feeling never goes away.

There's other stuff going on: there's a local bigwig, Trent, who's supposed to be really nasty but is very debonair and understanding. Probably not that evil, then. And Ivy rather obviously swings in Morgan's direction, despite the many protestations that there'll never be anything between them. Uh, huh.

Anyway, Morgan keeps trying to get evidence on Trent, and eventually gets turned into a Mink. Things start getting actually enjoyable from here on in.

Overall: very much an Anita Blake/Buffy riff, and trying so hard to prove that witch != vampire slayer. But the writing takes a very long time to settle down. What's interesting is that at least the last third of the novel is spent laying pipe for the next one. I wonder at which point she got the sale for the second one...
Tags: books, rachel morgan
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