A Fistful of Charms
Published 2006 510 pages
With her amazing ability to find trouble where ever it may be hiding, Rachel’s life is never dull. With her new ability to twist demon magic and a demon magic spell book, ‘borrowed’ from the library of the city’s master vampire, you just know things are going to get even more exciting.
After a fight (that Rachel barely won) with an alpha werewolf who wanted to take her position in David’s pack (it’s a long story covered in the previous novels but the upshot was that Rachel became David’s alpha female to get cheap insurance.) Rachel decides to try out her new demon spell to tuning herself into a werewolf which is lucky considering it isn’t long before she’s in another werewolf fight and needs to advantage that changing into a werewolf brings.
The root cause of Rachel’s troubles is her old boyfriend Nick, she received work that he was being held captive after a job that he was working on went sour. In order to rescue Nick she needs to travel to Michigan and as Ivy can’t leave Cincinnati; she uses another of her demon spells to turn Jenks the pixy into a human sized man so that he can travel with her.
It soon becomes to clear to Rachel that Nick has been using her and this time he’s done some pretty unforgivable things. Still, she is determined to save him from his own stupidity which is no mean feat because this time he is really in a jam. He has acquired a relic that all the werewolf packs want and they are prepared to work together to get it. Letting the werewolves have the relic would mean a war between the vampires and the werewolves, so Rachel needs to come up with a plan to make both the relic and Nick disappear.
Ivy, Rachel’s business partner and friend who happens to be a living vampire, travels to Michigan to help but with her desire for a deeper relationship with Rachel and a lust for Rachel’s blood it isn’t long before Rachel finds herself on the receiving end of Ivy’s bite.
This is another entertaining instalment of supernatural PI adventure from the pen of Kim Harrison. It is a fast-paced story packed full of exciting adventure as Rachel tries to outwit hungry werewolves and vampires alike.
This book looks more into relationship between Rachel and Ivy, which is complex due to Ivy being bisexual and a living vampire and Rachel being straight and not wanting to be vampire bait. Ivy is a difficult character to understand but as you find out more about her past you can find yourself sympathising with her more.
I think it was inevitable that Ivy would bite Rachel at some point and in A Fistful of Charms this finally happens. How they deal with this going forward remains to be seen because Rachel still doesn’t want a sexual relationship with Ivy and Ivy still can’t separate blood from love. The issues between Ivy and Rachel were not resolved by the end of the story, so I think this plot line will be continuing in the next book in the series.
The differences between undead and living vampires are explored further and the author has managed to create quite an original twist on the usual vampire myth.
The only downside of the book was that at 510 pages it was just too long. Whilst there was a lot of plot development to fill the pages I felt that Rachel’s constant soul searching every few pages was just too much. She has been told by her friends that she craves dangerous relationships and realising that this is true and probably the reason why her life lurches from one disaster to another she then seems to spend a huge part of the book thinking about it without actually addressing the issue.
Apart from that one gripe, I really enjoyed this book and think that the whole series has real potential. It has all the excitement of early Anita Blake books, with Rachel being as talented as Anita but more entertainingly scatter brained. Recommended reading for fans of Charlaine Harris and early Anita Blake.
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