As always….SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Hollows series by Kim Harrison (pseudonym for Dawn Cook) is a stress relieving read that is all about girl power. Well, for me at least.
I have read the complete series, over a span of several years, and am now rereading them (in the span of a month, probably, since that’s apparently where I am at now). Here I will give you an overall idea of what I thought of the series.
Read this whenever for a quick pick me up
Really lovely escape. There are some interesting political issues played out in the books, mainly addressing the power imbalance between humans and supernaturals after supernaturals “came out of the closet” right after humanity was nearly wiped out because of a biologically engineered tomato. I absolutely award bonus points for the absurdity of that. The “humans afraid of tomatoes” is a running gag throughout the series and I love the little details like the prevalence of Alfredo pizzas.
It’s all about power baby (and family, of course)
The supernaturals in the series are totally warped by their immense power, as evidenced by the law enforcement institutions. The IS (supernatural run) is corrupt, morally bankrupt, and horribly effective. The FIB (human run) is a huge data collecting machine, without much actual knowhow about dealing with supernaturals. This makes them very ineffective. I would compare the two to respectively a gun and a restraining order to keep an abusive stalker at bay.
A lot of the series is about creating families as well. The company Rachel starts with Ivy and Jenks becomes a family, with a home base in a church and a pretty kick-ass kitchen. (Some Goodreads reviews I saw mention that they thought the descriptions of the kitchen were a bit… superfluous). Absolutely true, but I loved it. The church getting destroyed in the last book was heartbreaking. It signalled so strongly that Rachel’s carefully maintained little family was beyond busted. The new, more traditional families that came into place (Rachel, Trent and the kids + Ivy and her girlfriend) seemed to be the endgame of the books, which was a shame since I thought the family she built, though dysfunctional, was working (and no one tell me otherwise 😉
Love the strong female lead
Rachel starts out really strong(headed). She is decisive, has a moral system that is slowly breached, and loves deeply. All the loving she has for the guys in the series is much appreciated, obviously. I love her character and when I am reading I find myself wanting to be her (not so much when I reflect back on what I read though). She is so confident in her abilities and has worked hard to become who she is that I can’t help but admire that in the character and seek to mesh her attitude into my own daily life (within limits, obv.)
She keeps this up throughout the series. What was very interesting to begin with, though, namely Rachel the demon who brings interspecies relations to the fore, slowly gets lost as the series progresses. Instead, we get a very nice progression of the Rachel-Trent relationship. Obviously I was rooting for them, because yay romance, but Rachel’s world seems to become smaller rather than larger as the series continues. The series becomes about protecting Trent and his family, rather than Rachel kicking ass in her fight for justice for all species.
The background of the Hollows series
The humans are all sort of the runt of the litter by default, there just to offset the strenth of supernaturals. The supernatural species are all lovingly portrayed, with Harrison really bringing the magic, nice little details, and consequences of magic use.
The pixies are my favorites. The descriptions of Jenks (a tiny hottie) and his family are the best: my mind stays filled with glittery pixy dust and the feeling that everything is possible after descriptions of their daily lives (minus the swearing maybe).
The werewolves are never terribly well fleshed out, Harrison mainly seemed to put them in there to counterbalance the vampires. I liked Rachel’s alpha, but I didn’t think the plotline involving the werewolves seemed to add much to the dynamics of the novel; it felt more like a set-up for an interspecies war to come.
The witches seem like humans but better. They grow up just like humans, and then they get an additional hundred years to overcome their stupid decisions. They are descendants from demons (right?) and their magic comes from ley lines which were again created by demons (this was a bit fuzzy for me). The original magic then came from a deity who sounded like a computer system gone haywire.
This deity brought magic for both demons and elves. The demons are, of course, amazing in their wayward evilness. Every book adds a layer of understanding for them which makes them to the most interesting characters in the series.
The elves are strong with pointy ears and “wild magic.” They are also insanely pretty. (No complaints here). Even though Trent, one of the main characters, is an elf the species isn’t well fleshed out though. There are hints to ancestry and habits (like Ceri’s calling on demons) but overall I didn’t get much more than a general feeling of greenery whenever elves were mentioned in the books.
The polar opposite? The vampires. Through Ivy their habits and power structure is explained. They are ultimately hungry for souls (which means accaptance, love, and blood in this book) but in their ruthlessness they have managed to become major political players.
Some questions I had after the series ended
- Can you imagine anyone behaving as Rachel does throughout the series and still function in any type of professional environment? I love the series and the strong stance she takes but when I think about this in a real world setting I think Rachel wouldn’t stand a chance at being accepted anywhere. Do you agree?
- Shouldn’t Rachel be more concerned with her crazy mom in the first books? And isn’t it weird that her mom’s sanity is saved by a man?
- Appearance counts for a lot, and obviously you would put pretty people in the book, but in the Hollows series a nice appearance seemed to be conflated with having good morals. Scrawny Nick is stupid and sort of thoughtlessly evil, for instance. It may be the case that I am misreading, and that this is because we see everything through Rachel and her perception is colored by what she feels. When I like people I think they’re prettier than when I dislike them, for instance. Is it the same for you? What do you think?
Was there anything I absolutely missed in this review? Did you love the series too or did you think Rachel was a whiny bitch and Trent really lacked some backbone? Tell me in the comments or connect with me on Twitter or Goodreads. Or you can go the old-fashioned way and email me 😉 I love to read your thoughts!