Book review – ‘Dead Witch Walking’ by Kim Harrison

 

Rating: 3/5 stars

Plot:
“Rachel Morgan is a white witch and runner working for Inderland Security, in an alternate world where a bioengineered virus wiped out a great deal of the world’s human population – exposing the existence of the supernatural communities that had long lived alongside humanity.

For the last five years Rachel has been tracking down law-breaking Inderlanders in modern-day Cincinnati, but now she wants to leave and start her own agency. Her only problem is that no one quits the I.S.
Marked for death, Rachel will have to fend off fairy assassins and homicidal weres armed with an assortment of nasty curses. She’s a dead witch walking unless she can appease her former employers by exposing the city’s most prominent citizen as a drug lord. But making an enemy of the ambiguous Trent Kalamack is just as deadly as leaving the I.S.”


Review:


Three stars sounds like such a low score considering I actually enjoyed this book but I just can’t give it a higher score. That said, I did enjoy this book and I will be reading the rest of the series, or at least the next book. So basically, although I expect this review will critacise a lot of aspects of the novel, after all it’s very easy to give negative critique, give it a go because it is enjoyable.
So why three stars? I’m not sure that the author’s writing style quite ties in with my idea of a good read. The first couple of pages included so much unnecessary description of clothing that I was resigning myself for a difficult ride. After a while I got used to the over description, and it settled down, but it still noticed from time to time. Similarly, for all the world was really well developed with some great mythology, history, and cause and effect, the way this was presented felt clumsy. The narrator would explain events in great detail. Sure, they were things the reader needed to know, and the knowledge enhanced the story, but the presentation of this information felt a little odd. I mean, the narrator knew all this stuff, this stuff was, more often than not, known by almost everyone around her so why was she over explaining it all. I feel that it would have been more effective to weave this information in.
The characters all seemed to have potential. Rachel annoyed me at times with her immaturity and blindness to obvious goings on but I felt that she was a little less annoying by the end of the novel and it would be nice to see her character progress throughout the series. Other characters drifted in and out with little hints at a story but no real time to develop. Again, one presumes they get more ‘page time’ in the series, but I must admit that I found this casual introduction of characters for a short period a little frustrating. Even Trent, who has quite a large role really, seemed mysterious to the point of two dimensional although there were hints of his character coming through which could herald better things to come. I have to admit that Jenks was probably my favourite character in the end with his humorous quips and reasoned through behaviours.
All that said, I enjoyed this book. Why? The story itself was great. The main plot was quite simple Rachel leaves her job, is joined by the vampire Ivy and Pixy Jenks, and they set up their own company. Sadly, the cost of breaking her contract is her life so she spends most of her time avoiding assassins while trying to prove that a powerful and untouchable member of society is a major drug-dealer. Yeah, it sounds like a pretty futile situation when you put it like that. Indeed, it’s the fact that the odds are so obviously stacked against her that makes this book particularly interesting. There’s no clear idea that ‘good will prevail’ like in a lot of books and, throughout, you’re left wondering exactly what will happen and things do take unexpected turns. Alongside the main plot you have multiple subplots, or ideas, developing that will, presumably continue into the next books.
So, that’s why a potentially great book got three stars. Now, if the next instalment has an equally interesting plot it should be a lot better than this one, after all, the majority of major world building points have been introduced and explained and we’re, hopefully, going to be expanding upon the characters. Perhaps, the next instalment will have the good with none/less of the bad… it seems possible. Either way, I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next!
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