A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison

(The Hollows, Book #4)
Urban Fantasy 
Published June 2006

The evil night things that prowl Cincinnati despise witch and bounty hunter Rachel Morgan. Her new reputation for the dark arts is turning human and undead heads alike with the intent to possess, bed, and kill her—not necessarily in that order.

Now a mortal lover who abandoned Rachel has returned, haunted by his secret past. And there are those who covet what Nick possesses—savage beasts willing to destroy the Hollows and everyone in it if necessary.

Forced to keep a low profile or eternally suffer the wrath of a vengeful demon, Rachel must nevertheless act quickly. For the pack is gathering for the first time in millennia to ravage and rule. And suddenly more than Rachel's soul is at stake.

 “As the joke goes, you don’t have to be faster than the wolf chasing you, just faster than everyone else running away.”

This is the first of the series that I've rated less than five stars.

Kim Harrison has created a creatively structured world of supernaturals mingling with humanity. The magic is believable and layered, the vampire culture is twisted and unique, and the battles have raged for centuries between supe groups. A Fistful of Charms loses me a little because it focuses on a new were group when Rachel has to leave town to rescue her ex, and while some of the occurrences with this were fascinating, other times it was almost dull. There is also NO Al or Trent in this book, no demons at all, very little Kisten, and the book focuses the inner relationship between her and Ivy big time, some Nick time, and plenty of Jenks times.

First, Rachel must make some major moral decisions and delves deeper into darker magic, which intrigued me to no end. Jenks has a major change and is finally back in the books to my relief. I don't want to spoil what happens with him but he plays a major part and in a good way.

“Sure, he had a wife and fifty-four kids, but he looked like a college freshman. A yummy college freshman majoring in Oh-my-god-I-gotta-get-me-some-of-that.” 

Ivy and Rachel keep exploring their options and issues and this actually makes interesting stuff, even if at this point it starts to lag a bit - Ivy's protective side comes out even further and made me like her more. I think this was a turning point in the series for me to grow more attached to the character.

Despite the diggings into the mains, there were some slow, introspective musings and the absence of some of the exciting 'bad guys' was noticed. The were stuff just wasn't that interesting and I found the focus a bit confusing. However, the story made up with this to be good with some intriguing drama, funny grocery store and bar scenes, two nifty transformations, and a juicy portrayal. I found the last page a bit cheesy, when usually the endings for this series are brilliant.

While not quite as good as the previous three, it's still a fun addition to the Hollows library. I especially like how Rachel finally digs further into her magical bag of tricks to pull out some powerful spells.

*This Review was based off a Re-Read* 

   Book Quotes:

“My pulse slowed, and as Jenks charmed the ladies behind the counter into flustered goo, I tried to look cool and professional among the plastic toys and paper hats. It wasn’t going to happen, so I tried for dangerous. I think I managed cranky...” - Rachel

“God, how did I get to this place where my friends sell themselves to keep me alive?” - Rachel

   Other Reviews from this series: