The Hollows Insider by Kim Harrison


(The Hollows - Series Guide)
Urban Fantasy
Published October 2011

New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison has won legions of fans with her sexy supernatural novels featuring bounty-hunting witch Rachel Morgan. And now comes a unique look inside her beloved Hollows series that no fan should miss. . . .

The Hollows Insider

In the Hollows, the supernatural Inderlanders rule, and humanity must abide by their conventions, or else.

To survive among vampires, witches, Weres, gargoyles, trolls, fairies, and banshees - to say nothing of demons - humanity needs a guide. And now, written by Kim Harrison herself, here is an insider's look at the supernatural world of the Hollows, from an overarching new story to character profiles, maps, spell guides, charm recipes, secret correspondence from the elusive Trent Kalamack, and much more.


Enter the world of the Hollows like never before!

One misfired spell is all it took to sent investigative reporter Devin Crossman on a mission to uncover all the secrets of bounty-hunting witch Rachel Morgan and expose them to the world.

Herewith are all of Devin's notebook entries, a treasure trove of evidence including maps, speces profiles, magic spells, documents from Inderland Security, Takata's song lyrics, Betty Bob's recipes, ley line charms, entries from the Were Registry, articles from the Hollows Gazette, Rynn Cormel's Vampire Dating Guide, demonic spells, and many more entries that cast light into regions of the Hollows that have never been revealed.

But Crossman's one-man war against Rachel Morgan has not gone unnoticed....

This is the first guidebook I've actively sought out for purchase. But, as a massive Hollows fan, when I heard this was to be released last October, I was excited for months and has this one pre-ordered. My rating fluctuates between four and five stars for various reasons, which will be explained below.

First, the book is told mainly through the investigative research and slander of a Hollows Gazette writer who was on the bus when Rachel's spell to catch a were backfired, causing everyone on the bus to lose their hair. This is explained after the fact in the first chapter of the first book, Dead Witch Walking. It's later found out that Devon as her superior has been causing her spells to backfire, eager to get rid of her from her position at the I.S., which is why the spell really went wrong.

First the reporter, Devin Crossman, is concerned about them not dealing with her potential danger properly, but then intrigued by her connections and ties with Kalamack, Piscary, and starts investigating Ivy, Jenks, her church, and her spell books. He digs out some Interlander Species guides from the I.S. and FIB, which are presented in the book.

The other bulk of the book is inter-office memos from Trent to Quen, to Jon, and to Maria, the editor of the Hollows Gazette. These letters are extremely short and to the point.

While it's a cool method to draw it altogether, I found these sections less interesting than the other goodies. 

My favorites of the extras (NOT IN ORDER) are:

  • A few pages from 'Betty Bob's Everyday Recipes for the Stovetop Idiot' - shows Kim's recipe for Maple Candy, Trent's Waffles, and Brimstone Cookies. Some of these are already available on her website.
  • Spells - With faux book covers for each, 'Noncontact Extensions Using Ley Lines' explains how to make certain spells such as Allergy Relief, Summoning a Demon, and Calling a Familiar; '101 Earth Charms for Home and Office' are mainly white Earth magic spells such as charms to straighten hair; 'EARTH CHARMS: Practical Applications', a cool bonus being explaining with drawings the different pentagrams referenced in the book - Summoning dead from purgatory, etc; 'HERITAGE LOST' - which is one spell to find unmarked graves, as used in the second Hollows book; 'LYRICS BY TAKATA' - Presented like it's the cover of a notebook, here are the covers for his celebrated song Footprints of the Ghost, The Long Breath, Shattered Spirit, and Pierce's Lullaby (which isn't by Takata so weird it's here, but I always liked the lyrics); and Demon Spells, my favorite part because the papers look old and have notes made by Al, such as the scrying mirror.
  • There's also a mini Witch Weekly with a cute cover and three pages, of which my favorite section was '10 Signs your roommate is into the black arts.' I was interested too in the mini interview with Ryn Cormel on why he wrote the Vampire dating guide. And of course delighted with the two drinks provided "Dead Man's Float" served on Saladin's boat and Demon Coffee/Tea submitted by our favorite coffee barista Mark. Honestly the recipe isn't quite right from when they were in the coffee shop with Minias and later with Al, so confused about that unless Mark got it wrong? :)

I also liked Rachel's short sheet that Devin took a picture of listing all the Latin incantations and what they mean, and also his observation of some of Jenk's common "Tink curses."

Why not a full five stars then? All these goodies made this book invaluable, but I feel Devin's notebook and articles, along with the Kalamack Inner Office Memos, make up too much of the book. I would have liked to see something a bit more personal and in-depth on some of the other characters. There are guide sheets on all the species - which is in-depth and intriguing, Rachel's articles submitted to the FIB about Undead Vampires and the differences between Pixies and Fairies. I wish we could have had a breakdown list of Jenk's wings too and all the colors from it.

I also think the ending with what happens with Devin is a bit unrealistic and trying to steer the reader's sympathies a little forcefully toward Trent (trying to follow where the ending books are leading a little obviously).

Overall this book is incredible, and what's also amazing is the cover. IT GLOWS IN THE DARK! The moon glows well, too. I'm a big moon person and the large moon which dominates the color sheds off it's own light when the switched is turned off. How cool is that?

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