Daily Archives: November 24, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison (review)

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
Kim Harrison

Review by Carolyn Hill

In The Good, the Bad, and the Undead, the second book in the Hallows series, Kim Harrison raises the stakes for Rachel Morgan and her vampire roommate, Ivy.

Someone is murdering ley line witches, and Rachel Morgan, talented witch and bounty-hunter, suspects the mysterious Trent Kalamack. She returns to college to gather evidence from a professor of ley line magic, but in the process she comes face-to-face with disturbing secrets not only about Kalamack’s past, but also about her own.

As her assumptions about herself and her world are tested, Rachel develops greater skill as a witch, coming ever closer to the line that separates black magic from white. Unfortunately, her desire to stay on the good side of that line isn’t shared by her human boyfriend, Nick, who pursues arcane knowledge by making deals with the evil demon Algaliarept—deals into which Rachel is inevitably drawn, at risk of her soul.

Meanwhile, Ivy walks a fine line of her own as her past makes demands she refuses to meet. Her ancient relative Piscary, one of Cincinnati’s master vampires, orders Ivy to bite Rachel and bind her as a pet. Ivy’s refusal has horrifying consequences, and we see the strength of the friendship between Rachel and Ivy and how far the two friends will go for one another as they fight the ugly realities of vampirism.

Although the murder mystery is central to the plot and Rachel actively employs both fists and magic in solving that mystery, this second book in the series is more overtly sexual than the first, as the effects of the demonic vampire bite Rachel suffered in the first book become clear. Relationships rather than action drive this novel. And those relationships pack a wallop. Readers who enjoy sexual tension and admire strong yet vulnerable characters who sacrifice themselves for their friends will find much to enjoy in The Good, the Bad, and the Undead.