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Book Reviews: Sideswiped and The Drafter by Kim Harrison

The Drafter by Kim Harrison

Title: The Drafter

Author: Kim Harrison

Series: The Peri Reed Chronicles #.5 & #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: Sideswiped [4.5/5 stars] The Drafter [2/5 stars]

The Overview: The Bourne Identity meets Minority Report in this first highly anticipated installment in number-one New York Times best-selling author Kim Harrison’s sexy new romantic suspense trilogy, featuring a brilliant special task agent at the top of her field and set in a futuristic Detroit.During a routine but dangerous Opti task, Peri Reed finds out her trusted partner has made her a corrupt agent. Her unique ability to jump back 40 seconds in time to correct a mistake leaves her vulnerable when her partner, who is responsible for replacing her memory of the event, gives her a false one. But Peri lives and dies on her intuition, and she begins to piece her twisted reality together as she flees her one-time secure situation at Opti and tries to find the truth with a sullen but talented psychologist named Silas who works for the very agency trying to bring the Opti corruption to light. -Goodreads

The Review:

I’d actually like to start out with an ultra-mini review of Sideswiped: It was a perfect introduction of the characters, magic system, and slightly futuristic/alternate society. I thought it was absolutely delightful, yet heart wrenching at the same time. I loved every moment and afterward was totally AMPED to pick up The Drafter. [4.5/5 stars]

Then I picked up The Drafter.

I read a few posts on Kim Harrison’s blog a few months ago where she conveyed how disappointed she was that The Drafter wasn’t being received as well as she’d hoped. She stated something along the lines of “people just aren’t getting what I’m trying to do.” After finally reading the book, I can definitely see why some readers may have had trouble with it and why someone new to Kim Harrison’s work might not have the trust needed to push through the harder patches. It wasn’t a lack of characterization, world building, or writing in general – it’s clear Kim Harrison is still a master of all these things (especially with my impressions of Sideswiped), but rather the result of some unfortunate choices she made while outlining.

Issue 1: the biggest problem I had with The Drafter was it’s repetitive use of dramatic irony.

dramatic irony: where the full significance of the character’s words or actions are clear to the reader but unknown to the character.

Using it was a risky move on Harrison’s part, and I don’t think it paid off. I was aware of the foul play from the very beginning and therefore was forced to sit patiently through 400 pages as the main character figured it out for herself. It was tedious and a little bit frustrating, but the biggest issue was that a storyline constructed entirely around dramatic irony gave me no opportunity to get emotionally invested in the plot or feel any kind of suspense. As this is supposed to be a thriller of sorts, that’s a problem.

Issue 2: I don’t think the book started at the best place. It began way too far into the story arc (which felt like a scene out of the second or third book where the framework for the world had already been established and all of the characters properly introduced). Instead, we were thrown into the middle of the controversy without any backing of the situation showing us why we should care. Betrayals of certain characters were no big deal because to me, the fact that they betrayed is literally the only thing presented thus far about them.

Where the story started also provided very little time to understand the art of drafting itself, so I was shoved at even more of an arms distance from the plot while trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I imagine had I not learned a basic understanding of it in Sideswiped, I would have been struggling even more.

Finally, it didn’t provide any time to get to know the characters, which brings me to…

Issue 3: all the characters came across very unlikable right from the beginning. In sideswiped, Peri was introduced as a spunky, ambitious, and intelligent woman who was destined to do great things. In Drafter, she immediately appeared arrogant and flippant to the point of recklessness (also as an insufferable know-it-all with no back story to substantiate it). I didn’t like her or any characters around her. Again I mentioned that if I hadn’t read Sideswiped, I might have been put off permanently then and there.


So you see, there are plethora of reasons I think The Drafter could’ve been better – all of them a result of construction choices rather than any flaw on the author’s writing ability. I think if the events and timelines of the prequel have been expanded on as the first book, Harrison would’ve had another hit on her hands (yes – it really was that good, containing the missing pieces that made The Drafter feel incomplete). Because of how much I liked Sideswiped how much I trust Kim Harrison as an author, I am cautiously optimistic to see what The Operator has in store for me next.

If there’s one takeaway with my experience with The Drafter, it’s that if you are planning to read the series, for the love of God – read the prequel first.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: The Turn by Kim Harrison

the-turnTitle: The Turn

Author: Kim Harrison

Series: The Hollows #0.1

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Release Date: February 7, 2017

The Overview: Kim Harrison returns to her beloved Hollows series with The Turn, the official prequel to the series that will introduce fans and readers to a whole new side of Rachel Morgan’s world as they’ve never seen it before! Can science save us when all else fails? Trisk and her hated rival, Kalamack, have the same goal: save their species from extinction. Death comes in the guise of hope when a genetically modified tomato created to feed the world combines with the government’s new tactical virus, giving it an unexpected host and a mode of transport. Plague takes the world, giving the paranormal species an uncomfortable choice to stay hidden and allow humanity to die, or to show themselves in a bid to save them. -Goodreads

The Review:

For all of you Rachel Morgan fans wondering if The Turn is worth picking up, the answer is an emphatic YES!!! Even though the story takes place at least 50 years before Dead Witch Walking, it still managed to bring all the magic that made The Hollows series so great. Trisk was an amazing main character, comparable to Rachel, herself. In fact, all of the characters in this prequel were great – don’t be surprised to see a few familiar faces along the way (after all, we are dealing with a few of the more long-lived supernatural.) It was that infusion of old and new that made The Turn seem so special. It brought me back to when we first met these characters, and I now appreciate more than ever their individual growth arcs throughout the series and marvel at how far they’ve come. Notice I haven’t mentioned specifics? The surprise is half the fun! Although I’m sure you already have some theories…

I’m so glad Harrison decided to tell this story. Dead Witch Walking felt a little like jumping aboard a series already in progress, so it’s nice to see what came before, and I’d wager she’s been hoarding tons of notes for this backstory ever since that first book. It’s such a compelling segment of this world’s history. The basic premise is telling the tale of “The Turn” where a tomato-hopping virus kills off most of humanity and, as a result, the supernatural community comes out of hiding. It set the framework for The Hollows series and I was super impressed at how many other creative ways Harrison found to tie the entire thing together. It was masterfully done, loads of fun, and everything a Hollows fan could hope for. I loved every moment!

After finishing The Turn, I feel confident that there will be more to come in this prequel saga. I, for one, cannot wait!

If you haven’t read The Hollows series, you’ll still enjoy The Turn, but that’s like taking a single bite out of a cookie and putting it back on the tray. Dead Witch Walking takes a little time to get going, but once it does, it doesn’t let up!

I’d like to thank Gallery Books, Kim Harrison, and NetGalley for the chance to read and review an early copy of The Turn.

Other books you might like:

 

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: The Turn by Kim Harrison

the-turnTitle: The Turn

Author: Kim Harrison

Series: The Hollows #0.1

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Release Date: January 26, 2017

The Overview: Kim Harrison returns to her beloved Hollows series with The Turn, the official prequel to the series that will introduce fans and readers to a whole new side of Rachel Morgan’s world as they’ve never seen it before! Can science save us when all else fails? Trisk and her hated rival, Kalamack, have the same goal: save their species from extinction. Death comes in the guise of hope when a genetically modified tomato created to feed the world combines with the government’s new tactical virus, giving it an unexpected host and a mode of transport. Plague takes the world, giving the paranormal species an uncomfortable choice to stay hidden and allow humanity to die, or to show themselves in a bid to save them.

Nik’s Notes:

I was just lamenting to a friend how sad I was that The Hollows was finished. Even though The Turn won’t center around Rachel or any of her awesome co-stars, it covers a time period before the series that I’ve always wanted to know more about (the turn, obviously). I’m so excited – this prequel feels like finding an extra present under the Christmas tree!

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison

witch with no nameTitle: The Witch With No Name

Author: Kim Harrison

Series: Rachel Morgan #13

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: Rachel Morgan’s come a long way from the clutzy runner of Dead Witch Walking. She’s faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She’s crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She’s lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has become something much more. But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price. That time is now. To save Ivy’s soul and the rest of the living vampires, to keep the demonic ever after and our own world from destruction, Rachel Morgan will risk everything. –Goodreads

The Review:

I’ve been slowly working my way through this series for ages, savoring every last moment. Now that I’ve finally reached the end, I feel a combination of sadness that it’s over, satisfaction at how it ended, and gratitude to have experienced such a great series. There are brilliant moments throughout The Hollows that I’ll remember forever. It’s definitely one of my top three all-time favorite urban fantasies.

My favorite part of this series is definitely Rachel’s relationships with the other characters – primarily Trent and Al (who are both written with a lot of duality – something I love). Both are complex relationships that develop slowly over the entire series. What I loved so much about them is the fact that I was never totally sure what their motives were. They had that “mysterious” factor, if you will. The discovery process of figuring out exactly where they stood and watching their relationship with Rachel grow was pure magic. I’m pretty sure Al is one of my favorite characters from any series. Ever. I will miss him the most.

Now that I’ve hinted at how much I love to the series as a whole, I have a few very minor criticisms of The Witch with No Name. With this final book in particular, I admit I expected it to have a stronger climax, being the series-ender and all. That’s not to say it wasn’t as good as the books before it, I was just hoping to feel the escalation of the story a tad more. But really, when dealing with such an amazing body of work, it’s easy to have unrealistically high expectations.

I also found one element of the plot a bit too drawn out and repetitive – that involving the vampire Cormel. Without giving too much away, let’s just say Cormel started blackmailing Rachel to get her to do something for him, but never really carried through on his threats. It went a little like, “do this thing, or else!” and Rachel was like, “Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.” to which Cormel would respond “you didn’t do the thing? Well, do the thing, or else!” Personally, I lost patience with the whole dynamic right from the start, which is probably why that whole plot point seem to go on forever. My biggest objection is that it drew the story out unnecessarily and made a once scary character seem a little comical and inconsequential. Like I said, minor. But still annoying…

Anyway, the resolution to the series was everything I hoped it would be – the perfect culmination of events. I’d recommend The Hollows to any urban fantasy fan. In fact, if you love the genre and haven’t at least tried this series yet, than I’m not sure we can be friends until you do…

As a side note, I’m very much looking forward to diving into Harrison’s new Peri Reed Chronicles even though The Drafter hasn’t gotten the highest reviews so far. The way I see it, Harrison is one of those authors who builds her stories into something amazing over the course of several books. I didn’t think Dead Witch Walking was anywhere near as good as her later novels, and I attribute all of that to the way she built the story. And it turned out amazing. Therefore, I’m definitely willing to give her new series some time…

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

Coming Soon: The Drafter by Kim Harrison

drafterTitle: The Drafter

Author: Kim Harrison

Series: The Peri Reed Chronicles #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy (?)

Release Date: September 1, 2015

The Overview: The Bourne Identity meets Minority Report in this first highly anticipated installment in #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison’s sexy new suspense trilogy, featuring a brilliant special task agent at the top of her field and set in a futuristic Detroit. 

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Waiting on Wednesday
Hosted by
Breaking the Spine

There’s always nerves present when picking up a new series by an author you adore… Will it be as good? Will I still love the writing without all my favorite characters around? What happens if I don’t like it? But I have had so many profound reading experiences with Kim Harrison that I trust her implicitly to deliver another series that’s going to knock my socks off… especially if Peri Reed is even half as badass as Rachel Morgan. :-)

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Mini Book Review: A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

Title: A Perfect Blood

Author: Kim Harrison

Series: The Hollows #10

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cinci, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the I.S. and FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: a human hate group is trying to create its own demons to destroy all Inderlanders, and to do so, it needs her blood. She’s faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more, but humanity itself might be her toughest challenge yet.

The Mini Review:

I don’t know what happened, but somewhere around book 8 this series went from great to freaking amazing. There are so many things I love about these books, and I talk about all of them in my review of Pale Demon. So for the sake of avoiding repetition, suffice to say I still love this series just as much and am genuinely sad that I’m getting close to the end (I’ve been savoring them). What I loved about this book in particular is that, even though it was kind of a tangent from the main story arc of the series, it progressed a couple of the plot points I’m most interested in. I loved the mystery of the whole thing and especially appreciated Rachel’s resourcefulness. Also, the villains in this one are just plain old humans, but somehow managed to creep me out more than any other supernatural creature to date…go figure. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it reaffirmed why The Hollows is my favorite urban fantasy series. If you haven’t read it yet, start with Dead Which Walking and be ready for it to get better and better with every book!

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes