Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ever After by Kim Harrison, my thoughts

  «There's no witch in Cincinnati tougher, sexier, or more screwed up than bounty hunter Rachel Morgan». From Every which way but dead (book 3 of the Hollow series).
  Aside from having a «tendency» (pun intended) to name the books in her Hollow series of novels after Clint Eastwood films, Kim Harrison is quite the competent writer. I have to think so, right, since I've read every book in the series so far.
  I love the quote above. It more than suggests, in spite of the flaws that there is something more than the ordinary to these books, something confirmed at least to a point when you read them.
  Kim has set up a very elaborate universe of vampires, witches, demons and elves with more than one original twist. There have been ups and downs in my reading of the series, but I do come back for more. I don’t quite understand why, but I do.
  I like the fact that Rachel was revealed to be a demon and also accepted it without too much fuss. Most other writers in the genre of urban fantasy wouldn't have dared to do that, wouldn't have dared pushing even those minor boundaries.
  Ever After is the eleventh novel in the series. And even though Rachel has fucked up again and needs to fix it, she has reached a modicum of calm at her center, isn't the neurotic wreck she was in the first books. Even Rachel’s relationship with Ivy the vampire isn't that unlikely and filled with silliness anymore. As Kim has done earlier she continues building on themes introduced in previous books. There is a progression here that is kind of effective. She is fairly good at characterization, at least with some secondary characters for some reason.
  And I do want to know what comes next, even though I see, or at least initially saw Rachel, the main protagonist as a ridiculous, implausible character.
  One thing in particular is bad about this book. A very important event happens off camera, which can never be good. I could attribute this to the I-form Harrison use to tell her stories, but the event would be easy to work into even that, so it has to be a deliberate choice of the writer and one I can’t say I like very much.
  The stories remain a fashion show of sorts, a choice I don’t care for either.
  And my foremost criticism: These books are advertised as books for adults, but I think they are much more for young adults and hardly even that. The way sex and violence and general interaction is described (or not) is almost approaching that of a children fairy tale, not really for truly mature readers at all.
  I wish writers would stop being so cautious. I guess it has something to do with the fact that the books are published by established publishers. They don’t make waves and don’t want their writers to do so either, and that makes almost all their publications potentially very, very boring.
  As I said, I keep reading these books, but they don’t excite me and certainly not like they could have, if they hadn't insulted the reader’s intelligence.
  My conclusion, I guess, is that in spite of some positive elements in the stories, the negative outmatches them. The potential is far from being actualized. The setup is great, the execution isn't.

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