Review: The Hollows Insider by Kim Harrison

The Hollows InsiderThe Hollows Insider by Kim Harrison
Urban Fantasy
Hardback
October 25, 2011
Harper Voyager

Reviewed by Tori

In the Hollows, the supernatural Inderlanders rule, and humanity must abide by their conventions, or else.

To survive among vampires, witches, Weres, gargoyles, trolls, fairies, and banshees—to say nothing of demons—humanity needs a guide. And now, written by Kim Harrison herself, here is an insider’s look at the supernatural world of the Hollows, from an overarching new story to character profiles, maps, spell guides, charm recipes, secret correspondence from the elusive Trent Kalamack, and much more.(Goodreads)

I’ve never been a fan of companion or insider books. They are usually nothing more then an encyclopedia of recycled facts about the characters. You may learn something new but not enough to justify the often outrageous price. The Hollows Insider was a pleasant surprise. Set up more as a behind the scenes story, it sheds light on the characters and main arc. The Hollows series is told in the first person; from the protagonist’s (Rachael Morgan) point of view. Everything we see and hear is through her. In here we are able to see and hear what Rachael couldn’t.

In Dead Witch Walking, we were told that Rachael lets loose a spell on a bus while trying to apprehend a suspect. The spell goes a little haywire and hits some passengers. One passenger is Devin Crossman. Devin is a blogger/journalist who is not content to let sleeping dogs lie. After all, the spell made his hair fall out. When he tries to get more information on Rachael he is blocked at every angle, so he uses his connections at The Hollow Gazette to launch an investigation on Rachael and everything and everyone connected to her. This book is a scrapbook of his investigation.

Set up like a journal, Ms. Harrison starts from the beginning and includes everything Devin finds. IS and FBI species identification specs, ‘published’ articles about demons and lay line magic, old Hollow Gazette copies, personal ruminations about Rachael and her friends, and more are included in here as Devin struggles to figure out just what Rachael is. We are also privie to personal memos to and from Trent Kalamack when it becomes apparent that Devin has made the connection between him and Rachael and is pursuing it. The memos were my favorite as they are a look at Trent’s point of view that isn’t available in the series.

The investigation starts at Dead Witch Walking and follows through to Pale Demon. We are given some interesting tidbits that help understand the arc better. Devin’s personal views on the various people in Rachael’s life enable you to get a deeper look at her friends and enemies and I learned a couple of new things I didn’t know before. We even get copies of Rachael’s demon spells from her book of magic with margin notes from Al. Tres cool. Devin’s copies of his work expense reports is hilarious as he is firmly and repeatedly admonished to, “Stop pissing off the pixies!”

There were some aspects that slowed the book down for me. The collage textbook articles were on the dry side and I basically skipped over them. The cook book also threw me a little; I would have rather just stayed with Devin’s notes and revelations.

All in all, The Hollows Insider is a nice addition to the series over all and a must have for those who want to explore more of The Hollows and those that inhabit it.

Overall Rating: B-

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Comments

  1. says

    Great review! I’m not a big fan of companion books either, but this one sounds intriguing! Like that it’s more an investigative notebook than a boring rehash. Will take a look at it next time I’m at the bookstore!

  2. says

    O I love the series! And although I do have the Insider Guide for the BDB, and I believe, JR Ward, I have never read them. But this one sure sounds worth my while. Thanks for the review!

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