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2571444,496 (3.78)8
Member:ReadingWithMartinis
Title:Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond (Rachel Morgan)
Authors:Kim Harrison
Info:Harper Voyager (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 528 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
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Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond (Hollows Story Collection) by Kim Harrison

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Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Wonderful collection of short stories, some action-packed adventurous fun to some dark and depressing.

The Review:

Into the Woods is a collection of old and new stories by Kim Harrison. As a huge fan of the Hollows series, I’m surprised it took me this long to read this. Although, I had read most of the Hollows stories already but I was really looking forward to reading “Million Dollar Baby” and “Grace.” I’ve reviewed each story individually, but as a whole I really loved this collection.

“The Bespelled” – 5/5 – Originally appeared in paperback editions of The Outlaw Demon Wails

This short story is an excellent look into the devious demon Al and his thought processes as he trapped Ceri as his familiar, one thousand years before Rachel was born. Al is feverishly trying to figure out how to overcome Ceri as his emotions go from panic to love to ecstatic happiness as he gets what he wants. I really enjoyed being in Al’s head and learning how he justified love and being a demon to himself.

“Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel” – 5/5 – Originally appeared in the anthology Holidays Are Hell

A deep and insightful story about Rachel at eighteen. Rachel is very much a strong willed girl and she knows what she wants to do with her life and is very much on the right path to make it happen. This is the second time reading this story for me so I really enjoyed seeing Pierce again when he was all cute and awkward with his 18th century ways. I definitely recommend reading this novella about Rachel’s early life and learning about her family and the struggles that she has gone through. The Hollows would be an entirely different place if Rachel had chosen the “safe life” that her brother was trying to talk her into.

“Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil” – 4/5 – Originally appeared in the anthology Dates From Hell

This novella focuses on Ivy, a living vampire, before she met Rachel. This Ivy is certainly not the Ivy from the beginning of the Hollows series. She drinks blood and because of that she is much more blood thirsty and temperamental (although that can be argued). My only complaint about Ivy is about how much she complains about having to fight her emotions so much. I really like Ivy but sometimes I have a hard time with her vampiric emotions. I think she comes off quite a bit self-absorbed and bitchy. Overall, I really enjoyed reading about Ivy’s time in the homicide division with the terrible vampire Art as her boss. Also, Kisten appears in this story, which is always a plus.

“Dirty Magic” – 4/5 – Originally appeared in the anthology Hotter Than Hell

Life as a banshee is not easy. After many years of loneliness Mia has finally found love but when you can soak up their life energy that love cannot last long. This is a dark and emotionally rich story fit for a banshee who lives off powerful emotions.

“The Bridges of Eden Park” – 4/5 – Originally appeared in paperback editions of For A Few Demons More

The last short story featuring Kisten before his tragic demise. The Bridges of Eden Park is an exciting but ominous side adventure that sadly foreshadows Kisten’s impending doom. Rachel even gets to learn more about Kisten and his family. This was a wonderful story, but like all things Hollows, I would have loved this to be a little longer.

“Ley Line Drifter” – 5/5 – Originally appeared in the anthology Unbound

A fun and action packed adventure featuring Jenks, the pixy, and Bis, the gargoyle. Jenks is hired to help a fellow pixy take care of a spirit that has been possessing his children, even burning one child from the inside out. This story was a fun, inquisitive look into Pixy family life and structure while still showing the dark side of the Hollows world.

“Million Dollar Baby” – 4/5

Exciting adventure with Trent and Jenks. I really loved having an inside look into Trent’s thoughts, although, I would have loved to have more insight into Trent’s thoughts on Rachel. I did think the story dragged a little during the beginning of Trent’s biking scenes, it seems to focus too much on “how he biked” than on the story, but other than that it was a wonderful story. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this story, but after reading the rest of the series, I felt there was a bigger secret hidden in this story (a secret between Trent and Jenks) but I think I missed it.

Non-Hollows Stories:

“Pet Shop Boys” – 3/5

The first of the non-Hollows stories features a boy named, Cooper, who helps run a pet shop. Cooper is very easily distracted by the pretty women around him. Pet Shop Boys is an eerie and slightly confusing story until the very end when everything is brought to light. Both main characters were a little too childish as the story played out. This story offers a strange twist to vampires and fey worlds/dimensions.

“Temson Estates” – 4/5

Kim Harrison certainly likes her dryads. This is the 3rd story in this collection featuring these rare creatures. Will has inherited land from his grandfather. The land contains a huge forest that Will wants to sell for a lot of money. One reason he needs the money, is so he can pay for his expensive schooling. Will’s great aunt tries to talk him out of selling the forest and to prove it she needs him to spend some time in the woods. The dryads in this story are pretty cute and lend to the sweetness of the story.

“Spider Silk” – 4/5

The 4th and final story in this collection that features dryads and unlike the previous story, this one is much more dark and depressing. This novella goes between two points of view between a mother and her daughter. The mother knows some dangerous secrets and the daughter who believes her mother is crazy and should be locked up in an old folk’s home. Trust could go a long way, especially after seeing something that you never thought possible. The ending wasn’t entirely surprising but it definitely kept up the dark feel of the storyline.

“Grace” – 4/5

An action packed story about Grace, a woman with a strong sense of duty and a strange power. Grace was a different and unique story that at first I had a hard time understanding, but by the end of the story I think I had a grasp of what was going on. I really enjoyed this story and how Grace really cared for those around her and she even stood for what was right even in the face of blackmail. Out of all the stories from the second half of this collection of stories, I think this is the world I would like to see expanded upon.

FTC Advisory: Harper Voyager / Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Into the Woods. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Dec 22, 2014 |
A group of short stories, most of which accompanied books about the Hollows, or which appeared in other anthologies. But there are at least three stories I had not read before. I enjoyed re-reading the stories I'd read before, and was delighted by the new pieces. A lovely way to spend an afternoon. ( )
  EowynA | Nov 18, 2014 |
Bespelled~ I'm sorry, but I don't feel one oz. of pity for Ceri what so ever. I've hated this character since I read this story in [b:The Outlaw Demon Wails|1225621|The Outlaw Demon Wails (The Hollows, #6)|Kim Harrison|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1388785086s/1225621.jpg|1214135]. I've now made it through the series four times, and was actually startled by what happens in book 11.



Love love loved Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel!
That story still gets me I think that this is the third time I've read it and it never gets old. I can appreciate Harrison's many ways of the celebration. I wonder if I'll get to read about Jenk's kids (a day in the life of sort of thing. I mean it's 53 different personalities unexplored.)



Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil~ Though the story really is necessary for the development of Ivy's character. That doesn't mean that this is one of my favorite stories. I think that this story buttons up a good portion of the holes in the series. Again I think that if this had been published earlier I wouldn't have tried so damn hard to figure out this character.

Dirty Magic~ thoughtfully cocking my head and saying 'huh?' to this one. While I enjoyed Mia's character in Book 8, I thought the story was a little repetitive. In content and mood. This is a personal pet peeve that I don't handle very well. My poor husband and his poor tender head.

The Bridges of Eden Park~ Wow! I didn't really realize how much Kisten really brought to the series. He was an excellent comedic relief when poop gets serious. Kisten the fans miss you!

Ley Line Drifter~ YAY! I spoke to soon earlier in my review. Jenks! It's about Jenks! For some reason he just reminds me so much of Lodesh from Harrison's Truth series. More later I'm going to read now!

Million Dollar Baby- I didn't enjoy this story as much as I thought I would. Yes, you do get a breif moment where you get to know Trent better. I'm biased like Rachel though, and Jenks is what saved this story.

Pet Shop Boys- Now I really enjoyed this story, and the theory that vampires can't cross the veil except only on soltices. Most of the story stays ambiguious until about the very end. I would definately love to read a series from this!

Temson Estates- This was a nice "coming of age" type of story. It was great that there wasn't huge leaps and bounds of stretched out action. Applause Ms. Harrison not many writers are confidant in publishing stories like this, but I loved this one.

Spider Web- Nope this novella just didn't do it for me. Though I did like the thory of Penn. I felt that this would have been better as a stand alone novel. So that we could have had more back story and more encounters and sightings of Penn.

Grace-This was where I put the book down for a couple of months. Though when I finally got back to it; I mentally kicked myself. Hard. This is an interesting story. I would also love to see this turned into a series. More I want more! ( )
  wickedshizuku | May 12, 2014 |
Listening to the audiobook.

3.5 stars

I've read all the Hollows stories before, but I loved revisiting many of them. Especially, Jenks and Trent's story to get Lucy. I also liked seeing Kisten with Rachel and his sister. I'm still not a fan of Kisten and Ivy's story. It shows a different side to both of them. They are not the confident vamps that we are used to seeing. I didn't like it. I wish there had been at least one new Hollows story.

For the new stories from "Beyond the Hollows", they were okay. I really liked the Pet Shop Boys story. It had a solid ending, but you could see that there is room to keep the story alive, if she chose to do so. Temson Estates was okay. I didn't love it, didn't hate it. I didn't like Spider Silk. It felt extremely unfinished. I wanted to know more about how everything worked out. Grace had the most solid ending of all the stories.

Overall I enjoyed the book. It will tide me over until the next Hollows book comes out. I hear it has a lot of Trent, Al and Jenks. Less Ivy. That sounds like a great book. ( )
  mlsimmons | Sep 20, 2013 |
The first half of this book contains a series of short stories set in the Hollows world. And I think they do some excellent jobs as short stories – filling in the gaps of the character’s development. They tell the story of things we know happened in their past that we’ve heard about, that has often been mentioned, but which we haven’t actually seen. Because we’ve read the Hollow’s series we know that they are pivotal moments in the character’s past and really add to what makes them the characters they are and what motivates them.

So we see Rachel when she first summoned Pierce. Her struggle in still recovering from her illness and the constant battles against fatigue which, in turn, drive her to prove she is as strong and physically capable of those around her. Her resistance to a quiet “academic” life as, in some way, giving in to that weakness. It also really characterises and adds depth to her relationship with her brother.

We see Ivy first framing Arthur, her supervisor which certainly becomes a major element in later books as well as her interviewing Mia the Banshee for the first time. I think this story is excellent not just for showing us two iconic events in the Hollows series, but also for displaying vampire culture at its most blatant. I don’t think we learn over much about Ivy, certainly not beyond what we already do – the broken, damaged person that Piscary abused and the problems that left her with – but it did really show how much such abuse fits into the vampire world and how it is an expected part of vampire politics and, through that, the IS. The expectation that a rising living vampire has an obligation to give up their blood and their bodies, and how harmful this exploitation and abuse can be to their psyches.

The stories I thought were most revealing were both looking through Jenks’s eyes – just seeing things from the point of view of the Pixie, their culture, their size, their power and seeing through Trent’s eyes as he claims his daughter back. After so long with him being the cold hard manipulator, the almost antagonist, it’s such a change to actually see who he is, his motivations, his beliefs, his worries – and through them to gain an insight into Elven culture, perhaps the Inderlander species we’ve seen the least of. The same applies to seeing Ceri first becoming Al’s familiar – these were the 3 stories that shed more light into corners of Inderland we hadn’t seen very much.

At the same time, if you have read the Hollow’s series, this book won’t add anything. Everything in these books has been referred to or inferred to some degree in the main plot line. The extra information added does nicely flesh things out and let us see their pasts rather than merely hear it reported or remembered; but it adds nothing new, nor, particularly, does it develop the characters since we know this about them. It is still nice to see these moments we know defined their lives, nice to hear it from their own mindsets and especially nice to step outside of Rachel’s POV and see what the characters around her think – gaining gems like Ivy’s respect for witch magic or Rachel’s determination to overcome her physical weakness and definitely Jenk’s pixy-eye view.

It’s also worth noting for people who have bought anthologies that these short stories appear in different anthologies Kim Harrison has contributed to. Double check if you don’t want to buy the same story twice.


As these stories did occur in anthologies for readers unfamiliar with the series, there are moments when the lore has to be explained. Unlike some, I think this is really well done in most of the stories with minimal unnecessary exposition or clumsy info dumping. But Ivy’s story is still full of not just a lot of personal angst, but also a fair amount of info-dump to fill in the world.

This book also contains a section “Beyond the Hollows” which are stories not set in the Hollows universe. And I, honestly, didn’t enjoy them very much.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Sep 20, 2013 |
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Starring bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan, this collection of short works, published together in one volume for the first time, sheds new light on the Hollows saga.

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