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Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and…

Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond (Rachel Morgan) (edition 2012)

by Kim Harrison

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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

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Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond by Kim Harrison

2013 (7) anthology (12) collection (3) demons (7) E (2) ebook (5) elves (5) fantasy (24) fiction (15) ghosts (2) Hollows (3) horror (3) Kindle (9) library (3) magic (5) paranormal (11) pixies (5) Rachel Morgan (4) read (4) read in 2012 (3) short stories (10) supernatural (7) The Hollows (9) to-read (13) urban (3) urban fantasy (18) vampires (16) werewolves (5) wishlist (3) witches (11)



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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 |
The Hollows

The first seventy percent or so of Into the Woods collects a number of stories set in Kim Harrison's Hollows world. One of them, Million Dollar Baby, the story of Trent's elf-quest told from his point of view, is new to this collection. The others are reprints, collected from other sources.

The Hollows stories gave me a deeper, better understanding of characters I thought I knew pretty well. They do exactly what you most hope an ancillary short story or novella will - enrich and enhance your understanding of the books, take nothing away, spoil nothing. I finished these stories impressed by Kim Harrison's craft.

The Bespelled: the story of how Al takes Ceridwen as his familiar, from Al's POV. Mostly interesting for the hints of honest affection Al feels towards Ceri.

Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel: Novella-length story about Rachel summoning Pierce as a teenager. I was never a Pierce fan, so I could take or leave his presence in any story. But the insight into Rachel as a teenager was really fantastic. She's in the process of applying to work at the I.S., still struggling to overcome the effects of her childhood illness, and we get a really clear picture of how her character was formed, why she became the Rachel Morgan we all know and love. Neat.

Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil: Novella-length story with Ivy as the POV character.This one started out really, really slow for me. I love Ivy, but her intense angst can be exhausting One of my favorite parts of the story comes when Ivy is interviewing the banshee Mia in her office. Ivy angsts so hard that Mia, full as if she'd gorged herself at an all-you-can-eat buffet, asks Ivy if she wants to be roomies.. The story picked up for me with the arrival of a banshee subplot and finished strong, with a great explanation of how Ivy ended up as Rachel's partner at the beginning of DEAD WITCH WALKING. I ended up really enjoying this novella.

Dirty Magic: brief story about Mia, the banshee. Fun, short, with a great twist. Especially enjoyed Harrison's intro at the beginning, where she explains how she re-imagined banshees as "apex predators".

The Bridges of Eden Park: Short interlude with Rachel and Kisten and a little action to liven things up. In her intro, Kim Harrison describes this story as a farewell to Kisten and we really see him at his best - troubled but solid, sweet but strong. It's been a long time since I missed Kisten, but this story is wonderfully bittersweet.

Ley Line Drifter: longer short story/not-quite-novella about Jenks taking a case on his own. In so many ways, Jenks is the heart and soul of all the Hollows books and reading a story from his perspective is heartwarming and heartbreaking. He's such a family man, he takes pride in such little things - teaching his children to read, for example - and seeing his happiness with Matalina, and how badly he wants her to live, might bring a tear to your eye (it did to mine). I'd love it if Kim Harrison did a whole spinoff series from a pixy's perspective - maybe one of Jenks' kids?

Million Dollar Baby: Trent's elf-quest with Jenks. Story is made of awesome because Jenks' proximity to Trent naturally results in many hilarious expletives involving Tinkerbell's privates. But, in all seriousness, this story catches Trent at a turning point in his life. If we're only going to get one peek into Trent's mind, this is the one to have.

Beyond the Hollows

Reading these stories set outside of the Hollows world reminded me a lot of the first time I started Dead Witch Walking - I hated it. In fact, I set it aside unfinished for quite a while before, in a bored moment, I picked it up again, finished the novel, and became completely enthralled &, of course, now I pre-order every new Hollows book the second Amazon throws up the button.

Something about the way that Kim Harrison starts a story just doesn't capture me. In these non-Hollows stories, I found the initial chapters off-putting...but by the time the novellas were done, I was ready to keep reading, and I was disappointed that they couldn't continue. I especially enjoyed Pet Shop Boys and Grace. Temson Estates and Spider Web didn't quite capture me.

Pet Shop Boys: shortish novella set in a world featuring a vampire/fairy hybrid species. Starts off a little slow, with a hapless guy who gets caught up in events he doesn't understand, but by the end I was wishing I had a whole novel to read instead of just a short.

Temson Estates: Another short, only a few chapters long. This one's about a young man who inherits a forest. He plans on having the trees cut to finance his graduate studies, until he discovers there are dryads in the trees. The mythology is interesting but the story itself is very rushed, the characters thinly drawn, and there's a fair bit of infodumping. Could be interesting if it were worked into a proper story, but it's not.

Spider Web: A novella about three generations of women - grandmother, mother, two young girls - who live on a property inhabited by a dangerous forest spirit. Intergenerational squabbling leaves the women vulnerable to the spirit's manipulations. The story just didn't work for me; Harrison's descriptions of the farm and woods were incredible, and while the trials and strained relationships among the characters felt real to me, the characters themselves didn't stand out as interesting or unique.

Grace: Urban fantasy novella about a special subset of the population who can "throw" electricity, for purposes as varied as blowing out lights to re-starting hearts. The throws themselves are either drafted into a government organization or "deadheaded", stripped of their abilities. The heroine, Grace, has stalled in her career because she's so good at what she does that nobody wants to promote her up the line. Her job is to collect unregistered throws; in this case, the target is older, with a fair amount of control over his ability, and absolutely does not want to be forced to tow the party line. There's a subplot involving an ex who moved up in the ranks faster than Grace, and another about her aging partner.

I received a free copy of Into the Woods from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review ( )
  MlleEhreen | Apr 3, 2013 |
A mixed bag. The Hollows stories were mostly uninspiring - I'd read a few of them already, and the ones I hadn't were dull. The novella length is just long enough to highlight Harrison's terrible pacing problems - all of the stories would have been better were they 30% shorter.

The non-Hollows stories were much more interesting, with a couple that looked like potential new series starters. If she follows up The Hollows with one of those, I might just come along for the ride. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
I'm usually not one for short stories, yet I keep requesting the collections of them. However, Into the Woods was a pleasant surprise. I really enjoyed each story, and this collection is a must-have for the millions of Kim Harrison fans out there! These stories will grab you and not let you go! There are some new and some old stories in here, and while you may have read some of them, you haven't read them all. Also, not all of these are Hollows stories, and it's nice to see Harrison branch out and create other worlds. You won't want to miss this anthology.

My favorite story was "Ley Line Drifter," mainly because I love Jenks so much. I really enjoyed getting to see Jenks and Matalina interact. It added a whole new level to the series for me. I also enjoyed "Million Dollar Baby," even though it also crushed my hopes a bit. I enjoyed seeing things from Trent's perspective, and I adored his interactions with Jenks. As far as the non-Hollows stories, I think I liked "Pet Shop Boys" the best, and not just because it reminds me of the band. I really liked learning about new vampires. These guys were extremely interesting, and I'd love to see her write at least one full-length novel about them.

Overall, I'd recommend this to all Kim Harrison fans. I really believe there is something for everybody in this collection. I enjoyed each of the stories, and I hope to see Harrison branch out further into some of these new worlds in the future. ( )
  AmberFIB | Jan 8, 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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