Wednesday 6 January 2010

Every Which Way But Dead - Kim Harrison

Okaaay.... I sped from book two (which I gave an excellent rating to and thoroughly enjoyed) straight into Every Which Way But Dead - and was a little disappointed. I genuinely loved book two in the Hollows series - it had a tight plot, a spicing of sex, plenty of danger and I just could not stop turning pages.

Book 3 was a little different. Many of the good qualities of book two remained. I loved the characters - including a few new characters introduced, such as Ceri and David the Were. The action was gripping, and I loved learning more and more about the history of Harrison's alternate reality to ours. We also finally learn about Trent's links to Rachel's family, and some of the reasons why she is so important to the demon Big Al.

We are plunged straight into the action here, when Big Al comes to make good on Rachel's agreement of becoming his familiar in exchange for his testimony in the trial of Piscary. From there the events of the book take place over the course of about a week, and the encounters never let up. I have the same issue with pacing though as I did with the first book - at times Rachel is catapulted into each new incident with breathless intensity, while at other times we have some very random incidences, such as the meeting between Rachel and Takata early on (which, ultimately, doesn't add anything extra particularly to the story) and the introduction to Erica, Ivy's younger sister.

I also have the feeling that Harrison jotted down some ideas and was determined to shoehorn them into the story, no matter how tacked on they felt. All I can say here is vampire line-dancing....

I also missed Jenks. For reasons that I shall not go into for fear of spoilers, Jenks ends up leaving the story part way through and his absence leaves a big hole. The mouthy pixy is an integral part of the success of the first two books, I think, and I cannot wait to get him back!

One thing I felt relieved about - along with Rachel, no doubt! - was Ivy's decision to become a practising vampire again. We get less of the uncomfortable episodes where Rachel does something that causes Ivy to "vamp out" and attack her.

All in all, there were some wonderful moments and some very strong parts of the book - Kisten was a highlight, as were Rachel's encounters with Algaliarept. I also enjoyed the overall theme of the book - that of Rachel stretching her comfort zone and "being lured into places that I once vowed I'd never go" (in her own words). By the end of the story she has worked for Trent, used leyline magic and dated a vampire. Rachel is continually growing and changing as a character, and I still very much want to go on the journey with her.

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