Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

(The Hollows, Book #1)
  Urban Fantasy

The underground population of witches, vampires, werewolves - creatures of dreams and nightmares - has lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But after a genetically engineered virus wipes out a large part of humanity, many of the "Inderlanders" reveal themselves, changing everything.

Rachel Morgan, with and bounty hunter with the Inderland Runner Services, is one of the best at apprehending supernatural lawbreakers throughout Cincinnati, but when it comes to following the rules, she falls desperately short. Determined to buck the system, she quits and takes off on the run with an I.S. contract on her head and is reluctantly forced to team up with Ivy, Inderland's best runner...and a living vampire. But this witch is way out of her league, and to clear her name, Rachel must evade shape-changing assassins, outwit a powerful businessman/crime lord, and survive a vicious underground fight-to-the-death...not to mention her own roommate.

A Re-Read for the release of Ever After this year (Review here)

I'm an Urban Fantasy addict and this book hit all my fan-girl buttons.

It does have it's slower parts compared to some other books in the series, and the first part is harder to get through than the rest. I had no problem with it holding my interest as I loved the characters and the small humor scenes, but there wasn't much action-wise hitting until later, so some readers may grow slightly impatient. Hang in there and rest assured the wait is worth it!

The humor in this first book is high and causes frequent chuckles, and that's without being forced, false, or cheesy. Rachel is a fun character - intelligent and driven but also a bit awkward and prone to mistakes and misunderstandings. Sometimes her mistrust of Ivy grew tiresome and ridiculous, but overall I really dig her as a main heroine. She has reasonable fears and isn't unrealistic, and her being a witch trying to leave the IS and make her way in the world amongst so much turmoil, death threats, changes, and hangups makes an interesting read.

Great introduction for Ivy as a sensual, intriguing character, leaving you wondering what's going to happen with Rachel and Ivy in the next book and what she really holds up her sleeve. Jenks? How could you not love the pixie with his foul, unique language, honor system, humor, and grumpiness.

The villains frighten - Trent Kalamack is ruthless here, cold and cruel, luring the reader into almost liking him before turning a 180 and showing brutality. Algaliarept the demon popped in to make a grand entrance with an eerie, creepy, and almost strangely erotic section. Nick comes across a bit in this one as actually likeable and not as dull as he later will. Jonathan as Trent's main man comes across as the biggest villain of the story because of the tormenting scenes with pencils ~ bastard.

Harrison's world is complex and awesome. The vampires come in a few forms - the undead, the living vampires, and ghouls (those aspiring to become vamps one day and serve as tools for the manipulative undead.)

The undead vamps are without soul or conscience, following guidelines of other vamp stories - no churches, sunlight, and they can bespell you. They're not nice but have learned to adapt through politics and putting on a fake front/face to trick people and have an easier life for themselves. Living vampires are those not yet dead, so there soul is still there. They have less power but less vulnerabilities as well. You have weres in the book but they're not shown much in this one other than a few scenes and they are considered an Inderlander race but not much is gone into yet about their structure.

The witches are broken into sections of magic too - earth witch, ley line witch, black magic and white magic. The small bit seen with demons is awesome, creepy, and exciting.

Great introduction to the series - well-written heroine, an interesting blend of characters, small dabs of humor that's genuinely funny, an underlying dark, gritty feel and theme, unique blend of circumstances that make the book stand out. Hard to put down and I went in hunt of the rest of the series the next day, already obsessed.

After all the books had been read, this easily became my favorite series.

   Book Quotes:

“What are you?" I rasped.
It smiled. "Whatever scares you.”  

“Most of the upper management of I.S. were undead. I always thought it was because the job was easier if you didn't have a soul.” 

“Double damn. I was a harlot. I was a freaking vampire hussy.”  

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