Fantasy/SF Book Reviews

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A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison

HarperTorch, July, 2006
Paperback, 528 pages
ISBN: 0060788194
Ordering information:

A Fistful of Charms
 by Kim Harrison Cincinnati witch and bounty hunter Rachel Morgan is depressed because of her rift with her long-time pixie partner, Jenks. Jenks is angry because Rachel kept a secret from him. But when Jenks' beloved son Jax goes off on a dangerous adventure with Rachel's loser ex-boyfriend, Rachel talks Jenks into teaming up once again to track down the errant pair who have stolen a valuable Were artifact which could unite all of the werewolf clans under one leader and threaten the current balance of power between vampires, weres and humans. Rachel dabbles in some black magic to make Jenks human-sized, then she and Jenks head off to a creepy were island to retrieve the artifact and the worthless ex, Nick. Rachel's living vampire roommate Ivy also joins them as they go on the run from a multitude of people and creatures who want that artifact back.

All the characters in Kim Harrison's books have some major issues to deal with: Rachel knows that certain types of magic leave a stain on her soul which over time turns her aura a nasty shade of black. But in order to help her friends, she's willing to risk it. The irrepressible Jenks -- as usual -- manages to steal every scene he's in, and Ivy will have you feeling sympathy for her one minute, and thinking she needs a nice stake through the heart the next. Life in the Hollows is like that: fast-paced, dangerous and fascinating to read about.

Kitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn

Warner Books, July, 2006
Paperback, 342 pages
ISBN: 0446616427
Ordering information:

Kitty Goes to Washington
by Carrie Vaughn Late night talk show host and werewolf Kitty Norville finally left her old pack and its obnoxious Alpha and is traveling around the country doing her radio show from different cities. She gets an invitation to testify in front of a Senate committee hearing about the supernaturals that most humans are just now finding out live in their midst. Kitty reluctantly heads to Washington, D.C., but before she can even get checked into her hotel, she's waylaid by the local vampire queen who sets Kitty straight about supernatural etiquette in our nation's capitol. Kitty agrees to be a houseguest at vampire central, but sneaks out at night to sample the were nightlife. She meets a handsome were-jaguar from Brazil and some interesting new friends, but the trip isn't all fun. Kitty is determined to investigate the strange revival tent preacher that claimes to be able to "cure" vampires. And at the hearings Kitty faces a fanatic senator who wants to put Kitty and everyone like her in a medical facility and do experiments on her. He says Kitty and the weres are monsters carrying a virus and are a deadly threat to society. Now Kitty and her new friends must find a way to sway public opinion their way before the supernaturals find themselves facing a very unpleasant future indeed.

With less angst than Laurell K. Hamilton's books, the new Kitty Norville series has a different, lighter take on the lycanthropy mythos. Kitty is a feisty, funny and brave heroine who has a silver tongue and a propensity for getting into trouble. This is a fast-paced and entertaining series that has really hit its stride.

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