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172 of 180 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2005
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
Wow! I thought Dead Witch Walking was excellent, but GB&U knocked my socks off. The events of this book take place a scant few months after DWW, so there is a high degree of continuity to the story line. Several of my niggling questions left unanswered in DWW were resolved nicely. We find out who called up that nasty demon and why. And I was happy to learn that my suspicions about Trent's species were correct. The relationships and interactions between the growing cast of characters are more complex and interwoven than in the first installment, and Rachel learns that there are so many more shades of gray than she'd like to think about. The mystery is solid and intelligent. The urban fantasy elements are richly textured. Rachel is impetuous and prone to jumping to conclusions (sometimes correctly, sometimes not), but she's still young and those flaws make her character more believable. All in all, I give this book my highest recommendation, and I can't wait until the third in the series, Every Which Way But Dead, comes out this summer.
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98 of 114 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is the second in a new series written by Kim Harrison that is based in an alternate world where magic happens and a vampire can be your best friend - during the day. The premise is that a runaway virus brings about The Turn, and when it runs itself out, half the world is occult - witches, fairies, pixies, vampires, etc. And the other half is human, and scared to death of tomatoes. The premise is the same as the old Shadowrun series, but the world of Turned Cincinnati is almost as cozy and familiar as the one we live in. Well, almost.

Our heroine is Rachel Morgan, an independent runner (as in trouble shooter/maker), who almost lost her life to a demon disguised as a vampire in the previous volume. That story established Rachel as a freelance investigator, living with an almost undead vampire (Ivy), in an old church. In the garden live her trusty assistant, Jenks (a pixie), and his family. This would be almost normal if Ivy wasn't in a perpetual struggle with her desire to eat people and her obvious affection for Rachel, if Jenks wasn't a potty mouthed mischief maker, and if Rachel didn't have a knack for careening from one deadly mess to another.

This time Rachel's problems start when she accepts a contract to help with the investigation of a series of serial killings that is leaving the city's ley line witches in a bad state of disassembly. Her task is to play a college student in the local University to spy on a particular professor. Rachel, however, believes she is watching the wrong person, and that Trent Kalamack, the man who once turned her into a ferret and dropped her in a rat fight. With Rachel compulsively chasing Kalamack and Ivy trying to desperately avoid her own fate, this is a story that is in perpetual crisis.

The publisher will tell you that Rachel is a combination of Anita Blake and Stephanie Plum. But even though the telling has a dash of Anita Blake's sexual follies the story lacks the high drama of Laurell Hamilton or the perpetual slapstick of Janet Evanovich. If anything, the stories are more like Jim Butcher's work. Rachel is interesting, but she as an underlying illogic which creates crises that could be avoided that only get in the way of her real goals. Despite some momentary displays good manners she is primarily a woman who does whatever she wants regardless of consequences, which can be bad news for Ivy and Rachel's human boyfriend Nick. And for Rachel as well, who finishes this book in trouble on all planes.

If you disregard the improbabilities and the complexities of yet another version of vampire life this is an entertaining book. All this disregarding would be easier if Harrison paid just a bit of attention to the consistency of her characters. As it is, I enjoy her books until almost the end, which is where people tend to step out of character to get the plot to a proper hiatus. If you are finicky (and I'm not) this may bother you. But the story is more than adequate for entertainment.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rachel Morgan returns in the series as eager as ever to bring Trent Kalamack down while she makes small runs on the side (hey, a witch has got to eat!). When a string of witches are murdered for reasons unknown, human cop-shop calls her in as a "consultant"... as if she was ever one to stand around and give advice without doing it herself. This second book in the series is even better than the first. With the I.S. off her back, she doesn't have to worry (much) about booby-trapped charms and interlander feds out to kill her, now she can concentrate on more important things, like saving her soul from demons, keeping her blood from vampires and preventing a witch-killer from slaying anybody else. She has her work cut out for her.

"Dead Witch Walking" and "The Good, the Bad and the Undead" are a fresh read to smart-aleck bad-guy hunters. Where Hamilton takes Anita seriously and makes her scarier than she's supposed to be, Harrison has made Rachel way more accessible; a lot less perfect. Rachel Morgan is good at her job, except when she's being clumsy, or when she's jumping to conclusions, or bumbling by selling her soul to a demon... not to mention her un-hunky, geek of a boyfriend who's addicted to demon summoning. Did I mention that Rachel dresses a tad like a slut? Oh, and she wears stinky perfume to ward off her vampire partner-housemate who "vants to suck her blood" because really, as a vamp living with a witch, it's the proper thing to do. But what really sucks is when Rachel does a "run" or a job and she doesn't get paid for it. Apparently, that happens a lot with her. Hilarious, but creepy. Serious but irreverent. And unlike most bloodthirsty slayers, Rachel is sort of a monster-cop more intent on arresting them than staking them through the heart, but she does that anyway, but more out of self-defense. Honest! And by the way, she's still broke.

The plot is straightforward, realistic. Not too many twists, but the simplicity of it raises questions that keep it interesting. I didn't expect to enjoy this series so much, but wow, I'm totally tagged. I give this book five stars.
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I love the idea behind the urban fantasy craze - vampires, fairies and werewolves, all trying to live normal, everyday lives alongside humans. It is a great idea. I wish someone would get it right.

What Harrison writes is fluff fantasy, the sort of thing you read on the bus because you don't want to think too hard and will probably fall asleep anyway.

That's my excuse for having read this - I needed bus reading. I'd read the first book of this series and didn't hate it, so I picked up the second. Now that I've read two Hollows books, I know the reason I didn't like the books is because of Rachel Morgan.

Rachel Morgan is not a strong, intelligent, independent woman. She is a dumb bully. She is aggressive for the sake of being aggressive, reckless and stupid, and does the opposite of what anyone tells her just because someone tried to tell her what to do. She does this even after having the reasons explained to her. She is a teenager in an adult body. I spend my working hours around teenagers. I don't want to read about obnoxious teens on my off-hours.

Rachel's best friend (of what appear to be a whopping three - big surprise) is a vampire. In the world of the Hollows, vampires can't control their thirst for blood very well, so naturally Rachel decides it would be a good idea if the two of them lived together. Everyone is telling Rachel it's dumb to live with a vampire. Rachel refuses to leave, even when her roommate attacks her. In the end, Rachel engages in a bit of heroism on Ivy's behalf. We are supposed to feel that Rachel is dedicated, trusting and protective (like Anita Blake), but I agree with all the other characters: Rachel is dumb.

I also don't like Rachel Morgan because I suspect that she is a Mary Sue for the author. Rachel Morgan is a red-haired witch with a weird sense of fashion. Kim Harrison is also a red-haired witch with a weird sense of fashion. One of Rachel Morgan's unnecessarily aggressive moments was when someone criticized her wardrobe, and in Rachel Morgan's world witches are a different race who have extended lifespans. Wishful thinking, anyone?

Rachel's only likeable moments take place when she is around her boyfriend. She then turns into a pussycat, and chides him for being reckless and stupid. Sigh.

To sum up: I would be happier with this series if the main character was not so dumb. Since that does not appear likely to change, I will be giving the rest of this series a miss.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I seen this book in B&N, so I checked it out at the library. I didn't realize it was book #2 at the time. It didn't matter though, I was able to pick up the story with no problem. A lot of backstory was explained if the situation needed it.

The story was very slow at first. There was a ton of detail about the world in which Rachel lives, which I liked. Future books have good potential to work with here. However, as far as pacing, there was just too much detail that it made the story drag on far too long. The story really didn't get started until around chapter 13 to 15. There was another point later in the book where the story, again, was sluggish.

Someone made a review that the story would have been over quickly if just a certain one person came forward with what they knew... this I agree with. The plot was pretty cut and dry.

The biggest problem I had was that I didn't care for many of the characters. Rachel was growing on me, but by the time I got to book 3 she was getting on my nerves and I stopped reading the series. She is very klutzy and not overly intelligent or calculating. She tends to mess everything up by jumping into things blindly. It leads to some interesting situations, but the character wasn't really my cup of tea. I actually liked the demon's character most of all. The Rachel character did not seem to be one that could stand alone like Anita Blake. It was only when Ivy, Nick, Jenks, etc. were around her when the story really shined.

I started reading the Anita Blake series after I stopped book 3, I didn't even finish halfway through book 3. Maybe I'll come back and give this series a second chance, but right now Anita Blake is too good. Anita I would give 5 stars, this book I can only give a middle-of-the-road 3.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 16, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I'm about 75% through this book & don't think I'm going to finish. It's that bad.

1. Rachel - The primary reason I don't like the book. She's too unbelievable & I find nothing likable about her. She's supposed to be this tough bounty hunter, but she's always making stupid mistakes & needs to be bailed out, doesn't think anything through, doesn't listen to people who may know better, and has this air of superiority b/c she's "Inderlander" so is obnoxious to anyone she thinks beneath her. Rachel doesn't kill(we learn that in book 1) & wants to bring bad guy Trent down, yet she contantly goes behind the backs of the humans that are helping her & does things she deems appropriate even though she's told what she's doing actually damages the case against Trent. She wants him in jail, not dead, but doesn't listen to the people who actually believe her that Trent is bad and explain what needs to be done to get him arrested? Why would anyone work with someone like that? Rachel is also artifically self unaware. For example, even though she performed a spell an expert witch tells her is basically unheard of, she knows her father tried to steer her away from ley line witchcraft b/c she was so powerful even as a child he was worried, and she overhears Trent say how she's more powerful than he is, Rachel nonetheless comments that she's not a good/powerful witch. It's as believable as listening to the prom queen complain about how ugly she is. She also dangles what people want in front of them to use them for her own purposes, though she claims to hate Trent b/c he does that. She uses human law enforecement to get what she wants, then cuts them out when it's no longer to her advantage; she gives her pixy a garden, at really no cost to herself, and buys herself a loyal ally she rarely listens to but always puts in danger; and even though she thinks it's dangerous for her boyfriend Nick to call a demon, she asks him to do it anyway (she won't risk doing it herself) b/c he has a deal to get free answers from the demon...though she suspects her question is outside of the deal & Nick will likely pay what the demon wants anyway b/c he cares about her. And yet, these people all adore her.

2. The Turn - At first I thought the world was interesting, but now it's too over the top. I get the plague was monumental and scarred the humanity that survived, but to the point of turning people against basic medical advances and science? It just doesn't feel believable that a guy who ran a camp to cure terminally ill children (who were mostly only terminal b/c routine treatments were banned), or his son who is producing medicine, would be considered villians. In this book, it seems people who benefitted from such cures are upset they were "tampered with" as if it would have been better for them to just die. Not eating tomatoes and suspicious of some science, fine, but returning to the dark ages? Too artificial, and seemingly counter to human nature. And honestly, if humans are this reactionary and stupid, why did the supernatural community keep them around at all after the Turn?

Edit - finished the book. The author managed to make the last couple of chapters interesting enough to make me consider reading the next one, though the book's climax felt forced & unreal (Rachel's anti-kill stance is now bordering on suicidal). The main characters are still annoying, but she threw in more about some of the secondary characters (Trent, Quen, Kisten, Al...) that I'm curious about.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
First, these kinds of stories are not really my favorite, but I downloaded Book One (Kindle edition) because it was free. It was a brilliant marketing tool, because when I finished it I immediately paid to download the second book just to see what was going to happen. Overall I have enjoyed the books as fluff reading, but that is in spite of the main character, Rachel Morgan. I love and admire strong, independent, intelligent women, and in the first book I was looking for that type of character, but try as she might, Rachel is not that--I think she knows it and overcompensates by being aggressive, impulsive, irritating, annoying, and sometimes just outright dumb. I thought she would mature in this second book, but she just got worse.

Kim Harrison is a good storyteller, and paints a scene well, although she often slows the story down for the sake of over-describing situations. At times it is like listening to Edith Bunker telling a story--when will she get to the point?

There just aren't many people to like in these books, except for Jenks the pixy. Will Rachel and Ivy survive? I don't care. Will Eddens or Glenn? Don't care. Nick? Ditto. It's really pretty disappointing when you don't really care what happens to the people in a book. I'm still deciding whether or not to buy Book Three. If I do it will only be because I want to know where the story goes, not necessarily what happens to the people in it.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Good, the Bad, and the Undead is Kim Harrison's follow-up to Dead Witch Walking. The world of this duo is a future Cincinnati which has survived a genetically engineered tomato plague that has exposed `supernaturals' to the world. The supernaturals have staked out a community called the Hallows. To humans, the Hollows is like Vegas or New Orleans during Mardi Gras - a definite walk on the wild side and tourist trap.

Rachel is back with a vengeance along with Jenks, her pixie sidekick, and Ivy, the living vamp. The story begins about a month after the conclusion of Dead Witch Walking. Rachel is still struggling to earn her half of expenses at the church with Ivy. Rachel's new association with FIB - the Federal Inderlander Bureau, police force for humans, finally pans out. On the surface the case appears simple - Sara Jane's warlock boyfriend has disappeared. Normally IS, police force for supernaturals, would handle the case, but they have a 72 hour waiting period. Rachel jumps at the chance to be involved for the money and Sara Jane is Trent Kalamack's secretary.

As normal, nothing is as it seems. Dan, Sara Jane's boyfriend, may be one in a string of grisly murders of ley line witches. Ley line witches tap into the Ever-After using ley lines for their power. Rachel is at a disadvantage as she failed the ley line witch class she took in college. She is also very leery of the Ever-After due to the demon attack in Dead Witch Walking and the death of her father. Rachel finds many links to Trent, but is unable to find hard proof to satisfy Detective Edden of the FIB.

The Hallows is the incredible world created by Kim Harrison. The alternate world of the Ever-After with a demon city is very interesting. Rachel finally takes us to Pizza Piscary and we get to meet the master vampire Piscary himself. Kist and his motorcycle are back to torment Rachel. During the course of the novel, we finally get a much clearer picture of what Trent Kalamack is and what his motives are.

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead far exceeded my expectations after Dead Witch Walking. The storyline branches out in many directions that are unexpected and thrilling to read. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and am anxiously awaiting the third installment, Every Which Way But Dead due out in July of 2005.

Kim Harrison describes herself as born in the Midwest. She has been called a witch, among other things, but has never seen a vampire (that she knows of). She loves graveyards and midnight jazz, and wears too much black. Please be sure to visit her website at: [...]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I accidentally came across The Good, the Bad and the Undead and right away it hooked me on the series (after I read this I immediately bought Kim Harrison's first book, Dead Witch Walking). Innovative, interesting, a new twist on the paranormal -- I found it was well written (especially in terms of the originality of the story -- though it could have used some more editing), definitely superior to recent works by Laurell K. Hamilton and MaryJanice Davidson.

Harrison doesn't just write about the usual mix of werewolves and vamps -- characters in this series also include witches, demons, pixies, elves, fairies (even leprechauns) and the like. I particularly enjoyed the mix of action and witchcraft as well as the dry and witty protagonist, the witch and detective Rachel Mariana Morgan. She happens to live in the Hollows (Cincinnati's supernatural hub) in a church that she shares with a vampire, she's partners with a pixy and the familiar of a very crafty demon (the series is almost worth reading for the demon alone, talk about diabolical!). Rachel faces everyday problems (working cases, paying rent, dealing with her boyfriend) as well as the unnatural (how do you deal with a demon without getting killed?). Though some of this may sound like other vamp/supernatural books, it's actually very inventive (esp. the emphasis on witchery -- white as well as black ).

I'd have to say that I haven't truly read or enjoyed any recent work of supernatural fantasy as much as this book and its predecessor. Harrison is a unique author and I recommend this book to everyone who is interested in this genre...
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2007
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (2005) is the second Urban Fantasy novel in the Rachel Morgan series, following Dead Witch Walking. In the previous volume, Rachel finessed threats from Inderlander Security by gaining support from the Federal Inderland Bureau -- and blackmailing Trent Kalamack -- but her former IS boss was still out to get her.

In this novel, Rachel is looking for a stolen tropical fish. She locates an extra fish in the tank outside the office of Mr. Ray, a Were Alpha known for his fish collection, and gets it out of the building. Yet the Were pack searches the area and spots her. Rachel only gets away by coopting a FIB car and its driver.

Unfortunately, Detective Glenn has been looking for Rachel. Now Glenn won't let her out of the car. She is on her way to the FIB building for a meeting with Captain Edden regardless of her feelings on the matter.

Luckily, Edden likes her and only wants help interrogating a warlock. Sara Jane is the secretary of Trent Kalamack -- Rachel's bete noire -- and has reported the disappearance of her boy friend. Dan Smather is also a warlock and has been missing since Sunday. Sara Jane is convinced that his absence is associated with the witch hunter murders.

The witch hunter has been killing witches experienced in ley line magic. Edden not only wants Rachel to assist in the interrogation, but also to start checking out the ley line aspect. He has enrolled her in the same course that Smather was taking.

In this story, Edden assigns Detective Glenn to work with Rachel. Jenks disparages the whole idea; he doesn't like Glenn and has already pixed him once. Rachel also objects, but is trumped by Edden admitting that Glenn is all that they say, but is still his son. Glenn joins the team, at least temporarily.

After Glenn takes them home, Rachel calls the Howlers to report her success in recovering the fish. Despite some confusion -- caused by the name of their firm -- Rachel passes on the message and is told that the fish was not really missing. She has risked her life and they say they are sorry, but them are the breaks. Apparently the Howlers are not going to pay her fee.

While they are waiting for Sara Jane to get off work and then show them Smather's apartment, Rachel invites Detective Glenn to stay for supper. When Ivy comes home, she is surprised to see Glenn, but he is really upset to see a vampire. He says a few things out of fear that are better left unsaid and Ivy's eyes go black. Rachel talks Ivy out of her mood, but Glenn freaks out to the point of drawing his pistol. Finally Rachel gets him unwound and Ivy back to normal.

As thing are settling down, Ivy asks about the presence of Glenn in the church and Rachel eventually tells her of Sara Jane. Ivy seems to accept this news calmly, but is adamant that Rachel is not going to take the case. Like Jenks, she thinks that it is all a setup by Trent. After learning that Rachel plans to interview Piscary, however, Ivy immediately switches to violent mode. Glenn draws his pistol again and everything goes to pieces until Jenks returns and gets Glenn out of the kitchen.

Later, at the University, Rachel is feeling the usual awkwardness of a newcomer in a tight group of students. Outside the classroom, she encounters Denon -- her former boss -- and receives the usual threats. Then she meets Dr. Anders . . . again. Naturally, Dr. Anders remembers her and informs her, in a definite tone of voice, that she will be flunked out (again) if she doesn't get a familiar.

This story involves Rachel in some convoluted magic. She finds an old grimoire in the church that contains a spell for producing a familiar. She faithfully follows the directions and the spell works, but not quite in the way she expects.

The Vampiric Charms crew introduces Glenn to tomato products. Ever since the great dying, humans have been terrified of tomatoes. At first, Glenn is too horrified to eat anything with tomatoes in it. Eventually, he is coaxed into a first bite and he likes it. Now Rachel is buying him tomato products on the sly.

As you may have noticed, Rachel Morgan has a definite problem with planning. Most of the time she just goes with the flow and improvises, but sometimes she tries to plan ahead. Yet she only takes favorable circumstances into account; she seldom considers that something might go wrong. When something usually does, she is forced to wing it.

Rachel assumes too much and seems to have never learned about the term "assume". No wonder older characters try to take her under their wing and explain the facts of life! Even Jenks -- the eighteen year old pixie -- has more common sense than she does! Still, her flaws are very familiar to anyone with a twenty-something daughter.

Highly recommended for Harrison fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of high magic, mysterious deaths and contorted relationships.

-Arthur W. Jordin
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