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Review: Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison

Rachel Morgan lives in a world populated by vampires, witches, werewolves, pixies, demons, and fairies.  Forty years ago the supernatural creatures were exposed after a genetically engineered virus, hiding in an innocent tomato, killed half the world’s population of humans.  Now they exist in an often uneasy truce.  Rachel, a witch, is a runner with the Inderland Runner Services, policing supernatural crime throughout Cincinnati.  Unfortunately, the calibre of Rachel’s assignments has vastly decreased recently, and she is fed up.  She decides to break her contract with the I.S. and start her own runner agency, scoffing at the rumors of consequences.  That’s until she discovers that she has been marked for death and she must find a way to save herself before it’s too late.

In case you haven’t noticed by the reviews which are popping up around here, the end of my dissertation was accompanied by some serious light reading.  Urban fantasy is an awesome variant, and this book in particular was a pleasant surprise.

First of all, it’s fairly long and it has an excellent plot, at least I thought so.  Once Rachel quits the I.S., it gets going and I really wanted to find out what would happen next.  Since she’s in constant danger of her life, she’s often on the run and dealing with difficult situations.  She only makes things worse for herself later on by entangling herself in another dangerous plot.  It’s a little zany, but it works!

Rachel herself is a character I liked almost immediately.  She’s stubborn and doesn’t back down, even when she should, but I felt her reasoning was good and her fears were very human.  The secondary characters were also fairly well-rounded.  Ivy is a dangerous vampire but with a strangely compassionate side.  We never really figure out why she’s so interested in Rachel and determined to back her up, but that must be a story for one of the next installments.  Jenks the pixie is a hilarious sidekick and adds just that much more to the book.  The third character, who pops up around the middle, is also a welcome addition to this series.

It was also refreshing to find that there isn’t much romance in this installment.  I can feel it coming, but I’m getting a little tired of romance at the moment and I’m looking for something else in my fantasy.  This book fit the bill perfectly.

If you like urban fantasy, Dead Witch Walking would be a great addition to your library.  I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

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