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I Belong

Review: Into the Woods by Kim Harrison

Into the Woods Tales from the Hollows and BeyondTitle: Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond

Author: Kim Harrison

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: The Hollows (Book #10.1)

Publication Date: October 12, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 0061974323 (Harper Voyager)

ISBN-13: 978-0061974328 (Harper Voyager)

Reviewed by: Kristie


A true queen of urban fantasy–the New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular series featuring bounty hunter witch-turned-daywalking demon Rachel Morgan–the phenomenal Kim Harrison explores the Hollows more deeply than ever before in Into the Woods, her first collection of short stories. Rachel is here, as are Jenks the pixie, elven tycoon Trent Kalamack, and an unholy host of vampires, demons, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other assorted supernatural beings, friends and foes. Into the Woods combines original work, including a new Hollows novella, as well as all of Kim Harrison’s previously published short fiction gathered together in one volume for the very first time. No true Hollows aficionado will want to pass this up–and readers of Laurell K. Hamilton, Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, and Jim Butcher; fans of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight novels and of paranormal romance superstars Christine Feehan and Sherrilyn Kenyon, will be likewise enchanted.

Quick & Dirty: Wonderful collection of short stories, some action-packed adventurous fun to some dark and depressing.

Excerpt: Yes “Million Dollar Baby”

The Review:

Into the Woods is a collection of old and new stories by Kim Harrison. As a huge fan of the Hollows series, I’m surprised it took me this long to read this. Although, I had read most of the Hollows stories already but I was really looking forward to reading “Million Dollar Baby” and “Grace.” I’ve reviewed each story individually, but as a whole I really loved this collection.

“The Bespelled” – 5/5 – Originally appeared in paperback editions of The Outlaw Demon Wails

This short story is an excellent look into the devious demon Al and his thought processes as he trapped Ceri as his familiar, one thousand years before Rachel was born. Al is feverishly trying to figure out how to overcome Ceri as his emotions go from panic to love to ecstatic happiness as he gets what he wants. I really enjoyed being in Al’s head and learning how he justified love and being a demon to himself.

“Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel” – 5/5 – Originally appeared in the anthology Holidays Are Hell

A deep and insightful story about Rachel at eighteen. Rachel is very much a strong willed girl and she knows what she wants to do with her life and is very much on the right path to make it happen. This is the second time reading this story for me so I really enjoyed seeing Pierce again when he was all cute and awkward with his 18th century ways. I definitely recommend reading this novella about Rachel’s early life and learning about her family and the struggles that she has gone through. The Hollows would be an entirely different place if Rachel had chosen the “safe life” that her brother was trying to talk her into.

“Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil” – 4/5 – Originally appeared in the anthology Dates From Hell

This novella focuses on Ivy, a living vampire, before she met Rachel. This Ivy is certainly not the Ivy from the beginning of the Hollows series. She drinks blood and because of that she is much more blood thirsty and temperamental (although that can be argued). My only complaint about Ivy is about how much she complains about having to fight her emotions so much. I really like Ivy but sometimes I have a hard time with her vampiric emotions. I think she comes off quite a bit self-absorbed and bitchy. Overall, I really enjoyed reading about Ivy’s time in the homicide division with the terrible vampire Art as her boss. Also, Kisten appears in this story, which is always a plus.

“Dirty Magic” – 4/5 – Originally appeared in the anthology Hotter Than Hell

Life as a banshee is not easy. After many years of loneliness Mia has finally found love but when you can soak up their life energy that love cannot last long. This is a dark and emotionally rich story fit for a banshee who lives off powerful emotions.

“The Bridges of Eden Park” – 4/5 – Originally appeared in paperback editions of For A Few Demons More

The last short story featuring Kisten before his tragic demise. The Bridges of Eden Park is an exciting but ominous side adventure that sadly foreshadows Kisten’s impending doom. Rachel even gets to learn more about Kisten and his family. This was a wonderful story, but like all things Hollows, I would have loved this to be a little longer.

 “Ley Line Drifter” – 5/5 – Originally appeared in the anthology Unbound

A fun and action packed adventure featuring Jenks, the pixy, and Bis, the gargoyle. Jenks is hired to help a fellow pixy take care of a spirit that has been possessing his children, even burning one child from the inside out. This story was a fun, inquisitive look into Pixy family life and structure while still showing the dark side of the Hollows world.

 “Million Dollar Baby” – 4/5

Exciting adventure with Trent and Jenks. I really loved having an inside look into Trent’s thoughts, although, I would have loved to have more insight into Trent’s thoughts on Rachel. I did think the story dragged a little during the beginning of Trent’s biking scenes, it seems to focus too much on “how he biked” than on the story, but other than that it was a wonderful story. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this story, but after reading the rest of the series, I felt there was a bigger secret hidden in this story (a secret between Trent and Jenks) but I think I missed it.

Non-Hollows Stories:

“Pet Shop Boys” – 3/5

The first of the non-Hollows stories features a boy named, Cooper, who helps run a pet shop. Cooper is very easily distracted by the pretty women around him. Pet Shop Boys is an eerie and slightly confusing story until the very end when everything is brought to light. Both main characters were a little too childish as the story played out. This story offers a strange twist to vampires and fey worlds/dimensions.

“Temson Estates” – 4/5

Kim Harrison certainly likes her dryads. This is the 3rd story in this collection featuring these rare creatures. Will has inherited land from his grandfather. The land contains a huge forest that Will wants to sell for a lot of money. One reason he needs the money, is so he can pay for his expensive schooling. Will’s great aunt tries to talk him out of selling the forest and to prove it she needs him to spend some time in the woods. The dryads in this story are pretty cute and lend to the sweetness of the story.

“Spider Silk” – 4/5

The 4th and final story in this collection that features dryads and unlike the previous story, this one is much more dark and depressing. This novella goes between two points of view between a mother and her daughter. The mother knows some dangerous secrets and the daughter who believes her mother is crazy and should be locked up in an old folk’s home. Trust could go a long way, especially after seeing something that you never thought possible. The ending wasn’t entirely surprising but it definitely kept up the dark feel of the storyline.

“Grace” – 4/5

An action packed story about Grace, a woman with a strong sense of duty and a strange power. Grace was a different and unique story that at first I had a hard time understanding, but by the end of the story I think I had a grasp of what was going on. I really enjoyed this story and how Grace really cared for those around her and she even stood for what was right even in the face of blackmail. Out of all the stories from the second half of this collection of stories, I think this is the world I would like to see expanded upon.

FTC Advisory: Harper Voyager / Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Into the Woods. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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