Review: ‘White Witch, Black Curse’ by Kim Harrison (audio)

Book #7 of Kim Harrison’s popular Hollows series is White Witch, Black Curse and independent runner and witch Rachel Morgan is back, juggling a job that hits too close to home with a couple of men from her past, one alive and one dead.



Some wounds take time to heal . . . and some scars never fade. Rachel Morgan, kick-ass witch and bounty hunter, has taken her fair share of hits, and has broken lines she swore she would never cross.

But when her lover was murdered, it left a deeper wound than Rachel ever imagined, and now she won’t rest until his death is solved . . . and avenged. Whatever the cost.

Yet the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and when a new predator moves to the apex of the Inderlander food chain, Rachel’s past comes back to haunt her. Literally.

This seventh installment of the series was published in February of 2009, just over four years after the release of book #1 but in Harrison’s version of Cincinnati, only about a year and a half has passed since Rachel Morgan quit the I.S. in Dead Witch Walking and struck ‘on her own’ to start an independent runner firm with living vampire Ivy Tamwood and Jenks, the bad-ass pixy with the colorful wit.

At this point in the series, I think anyone picking up this book at random would be seriously confused. Harrison does spend a bit of time ‘catching up’ with the characters and the happenings from previous books but her allusions to past events are more of a refresher for those who have already read this far into the series. Not that I mind this, of course, as I’d rather move on with the plot of the book and indeed, of the entire series than sit through a ton of info dumps designed to bring people up to speed on the story. I’m a firm believer in reading the series from the beginning!

Rachel is once again a busy little itchy witch as the New Year approaches and she finds herself smack dab in the middle of a whole lot of crap. One of the things I really enjoy about these books is that they’re so fast paced and full of stuff. Rachel has to whip up some charms while fighting off a demon, placating her family, keeping Ivy sane and tagging the bad guy to save the day! It’s no wonder she’s always thinking about coffee. Her life would wear a girl out!

One thing I was dreading about this book was the sob-fest during chapter 31. Fans of the series will know how poignant the events of that particular chapter are just by knowing it involved Rachel recalling the events on Kisten’s boat in book #5, For A Few Demons More. I knew that I’d be affected by Marguerite Gavin’s reading of the chapter as I recalled from the last time I listened to this book how much emotion she instills into the characters but wow… it really got me. And my eyes are still red and puffy hours later from listening to that chapter, as well as tidbits here and there throughout the rest of the book that allude to the events of that chapter and the aftermath of Rachel’s recollection. Powerful writing, powerful reading.

Have I mentioned how happy I am to have Gavin back for this book? The other reader just was NOT as good and this scene would NOT have been as good had I been forced to either listen to her read it or read it in the book. Don’t get me wrong, I cry when reading emotional scenes, too (I’m just a crybaby like that, don’tcha know?) but hearing them read by a reader who actually makes their voice break, who makes you hear the pain, the loss, the fear, the terror, the anger… it impresses the hell out of me and makes the the story… no, it makes the experience much more vivid. So  yeah, awesome job, Marguerite.

Favorite quotes include this one from Ivy, upon learning about Pierce: “We have a randy ghost?”; Rachel’s mom when Rache gets called away from a family dinner by Captain Edden: “Go kick some bad guy ass!”; Jenks, wanting to get out of a vamp lair: “I’m okay, you’re okay, Ivy’s freakin’ okay, we’re all okay, can we get the hell out of here?” and educating Pierce on the proper way to curse: “The correct vernacular is ‘holy shit!'”; Al, ordering for Pierce at the coffee shop: “The runt will have a juice box. It will make you big and strong, won’t it, little fella?”; even the bad ‘guy’ Mia had a funny line: “Remus, quit playing with that dead man and hold the witch down.”; and another from Ivy that made me laugh out loud at the end: “Why did Pierce pop into the car and tell me to pick up a grande latte double espresso Italian blend, light on the froth, heavy on the cinnamon with a shot of raspberry?”

Hmmm, a lot of the funnies revolved around Pierce. Yeah, I like Pierce. No mention of Rachel funnies this go-round. Not to say there weren’t any, there were just too many others to mention. Though we do have the next book in the series to look forward to, don’t we? Time for Black Magic Sanction!

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