Fiction Reviews

A Fistful of Charms

Kim Harrison (2006 UK edition) Harper Voyager ,6.99, pbk, 518pp, ISBN 0-007-23613-1.

This is part of a series of books previously published in North America, featuring former bounty hunter Rachel Morgan, who inhabits a world of witches, werewolves, vampires, demons and pixies. She runs an independent runner agency with her housemate Ivy, who is a vampire, and is trying to lead a relatively normal life - but things in her life have a habit of becoming more than a little complicated at every turn. This is part of a series of books that follows on from Every Which Way but Dead.

Despite wanting to keep a low profile after gaining a reputation for being associated with the dark arts, Rachel finds herself coming to the rescue of her former boyfriend, Nick, who has stolen a were artefact and has found himself on the were most wanted list. However, she cannot do this alone and enlists the help of Ceri, an elf she previously rescued from enslavement by a demon to work some magic on her pixy friend, Jenks. This entails Jenks taking human form and dealing with walking rather than flying and getting to grips with human conventions as well as providing back up for Rachel on her rescue mission.

This was quite an engaging instalment in the Rachel Morgan series, although the conversational narration of the story made it a little difficult to understand exactly what was going on regarding the werewolf turf wars - it is also a book where all the characters seemed to have issues of one way, shape or form. As the social structures in question were hard to lose track of due to the number of characters, areas and packs, I had to re-read a number of parts of the book a couple of times to get an idea of what was happening in the background.

There are some clever twists and turns - there is a part where Rachel manages to become a werewolf herself with unexpected results - but to elaborate more would be to spoil the plot for anyone who has not read the book. In some respects, the personal agendas of the characters added a dramatic element to the book and kept the story moving along at a decent pace whilst maintaining the interest of the reader. While this book can be read by itself, it would probably be more understandable if potential readers read the previous novels to set the scene and familiarise themselves with the characters first.

Sue Griffiths

For a different take on the series see Tony's review of Dead Witch Walking.   See also Every Which Way But Dead and The Good the Bad and the Undead.

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