I have been a huge Kim Harrison fan for years; not only does she write the amazing Rachel Morgan/Hollows series, but she has also written a high fantasy series under the pseudonym Dawn Cook (it wasn’t until many, many years later that we found out that Dawn Cook and Kim Harrison are the same person. With that out in the open, Kim/Dawn took the #1 spot as my favorite author.) Because of my great love for all things Rachel Morgan, I did not hesitate to purchase the books in hardcover as soon as they were available. Unfortunately, that also meant missing out on Hollows short stories that were released in their paperback counterparts.
All of Kim Harrison’s Hollows short stories are bound together along with new, never-before-seen short stories set in other worlds in Into the Woods. Some of the short stories I had read due to their inclusion in various anthologies, but most were brand new to me and just the thing I needed to read while anxiously awaiting the next installment in the Rachel Morgan/Hollows series, Everafter. Each story features a short introduction from Kim Harrison about the story that follows. I loved getting a glimpse into Kim’s mind on how she felt about particular characters or books in the series at the time she wrote the short stories.
This is an interesting look at a much younger, naive Ceri as she falls under Algaliarept’s spell. The Ceri that I have come to know and love (and also slightly fear) in the later Hollows books is such a different person in this story. I also can’t help but wonder what her life would have been like if she hadn’t been captured. If she were given the choice between either life, what do you think she would have chosen?
Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel
I don’t usually purchase anthologies, but I bought Holidays are Hell because it contained stories from Kim Harrison and Vicki Pettersson, another author with a fantastic series (I have to admit I haven’t read the last book in the series–I’m truly afraid to see how things will end for Joanna Archer.) I think it’s important to read this story before White Witch, Black Curse to understand why Rachel reacts to him the way that she does, otherwise you might feel as if you’re missing something.
Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil
This is one of the stories that was brand new to me when I started reading this collection. I found Ivy’s relationship with Kisten pretty fascinating; they don’t really seem to fit together (I’m definitely a Kisten+Rachel fan!), but he kind of softens her a little bit. I also got to see another character, whose name I will never forget, in his first appearance as Ivy’s co-worker and blood tempter. This is a pretty intense story, but it wouldn’t be like Kim Harrison to leave us entirely without some humor. We also get to hear Ivy’s very first thoughts about Rachel! If like me you’ve the series, then you know how good of friends they are, so Ivy’s first impression is pretty hilarious.
This story features a character I remember from Black Magic Sanction. Mia is a banshee; Kim’s version of banshees are much less likable than the ones I’ve become most familiar with in Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series. Even so, I actually felt a bit of sympathy for Mia since she cannot have a traditional relationship with a person without bringing about his death. But Mia also has a banshee child to care for…
The Bridges of Eden Park
This was another new-to-me story; it came out in a paperback version of a book I already owned in hardcover. I think I may have actually read it while at a Barnes & Noble one day just so I wouldn’t feel as if I’d missed anything in the series. I adored Kisten in this book; he really shows off his good qualities, attempting to protect his nephew and his sister from her ex, who only wants the boy so he can use him as a political pawn.
Ley Line Drifter
I loved getting to meet another pixy family; the families’ rivalries with each other have always fascinated. In this story, Jenx lends his expertise and goodness to another family whose lives are threatened by the presence of a dryad in a stone statue in their home. I am very interested in Harrison’s version of the dryad, so I am hoping that we’ll see more of them in the Hollows, or possibly in a brand new series.
Million Dollar Baby
What happens when a pixy and an elf go on a road trip together to kidnap a child? That’s exactly what Hollows fans find out in this short story. Trent Kalamack sort of scares me; I never thought he’d be the fatherly type, but now my opinions of him have shifted a little.
Beyond the Hollows
The last four stories in Into the Woods consists of brand new characters and worlds that I hope that Kim Harrison might expand in a new series. Of the four, my favorite was “Grace”. I definitely see series potential for this story; I didn’t connect as well with the other stories, though if Kim Harrison were to create a new series based on those ideas, I would most definitely read them.