"Hello. You've reached Morgan, Tamwood, and Jenks of Vampiric Charms, independent runners."
''Our history is that of humanity's. We didn't just drop out of the sky in '66; we emigrated in through Ellis Island. We fought in the Civil War, World War One, and World War Two—some of us in all three. We suffered in the Depression, and we waited like everyone else to find out who shot J.R..
But dangerous differences exist...''
"We're all pulling for you. The odds are running two hundred to one you make it through the week. Personally, I give you a hundred to one."
The Hollows is an ongoing urban fantasy series by Kim Harrison detailing the professional and personal adventures of Rachel Morgan, bounty hunter and witch, along with her partners: living vampire Ivy Tamwood, and Jenks, a pixie.The books are set in an alternate universe where various supernatural beings known collectively as "Inderlanders" have lived alongside mundane humans since ancient times, but kept their identities secret from the masses until the 1960s, when a virus from a genetically modified tomato wiped out a quarter of the human population in an event known as "The Turn". Since the Inderlanders were mostly unaffected by the virus and found their combined numbers were now close to that of humanity's, they decided to reveal themselves to the world, a move that further changed the already altered post-pandemic society.Works in the series include:Novels:
Dead Witch Walking
The Good, The Bad, And The Undead
Every Which Way But Dead
A Fistful of Charms
For a Few Demons More
The Outlaw Demon Wails
White Witch, Black Curse
Black Magic Sanction
A Perfect Blood
Ever After (January, 2013)
The Undead Pool (February 25th, 2014)
"Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil"
"Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel"
"The Bridges of Eden Park"
"Ley Line Drifter"
"Million Dollar Baby"
Warning: Due to the author's extensive use of The Reveal in the series spoilers abound.
This series contains examples of:
Absurdly Youthful Mother: It's been mentioned a few times in the series that witches age slowly once they reach adulthood, which presumably leads to a lot of this. Case in point: Rachel's mother is past retirement age for a human, but can pass for Rachel's sister with the right clothes.
All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Piscary owned the church Rachel, Ivy and Jenks live in. He even tried to get them evicted before his untimely end. Now played for laughs as Jenks owns the church and pretends to be a strict landlord.
All There in the Manual: Several characters and plot threads that appeared for the first time in White Witch, Black Curse were originally drawn from several short stories written by the author for another series.
The author's website also has two essays supposedly written by Rachel herself detailing some supernatural races for the FIB, David pack's tattoo and the recipe for Trent's waffles among other things here.
The website also offers a monthly newsletter called the Hollow Gazette that includes articles written from the perspective of reporters in Hollows. These give additional details about the setting and certain events in the novel.
Alternate History: The history of the world the Hollows is marginally different even before the public revelation of the Inderlanders. For example genetic engineering became the focus of scientific research instead of space exploration or nuclear energy only to be banned after the 'Angel' virus epidemic. The timeline of those changes can be found here.
Artistic License - Biology: Rachel is turned into a mink, which is repeatedly described as a rodent and being fed carrots and so on. Minks are carnivorous mustelids. Retconned/lampshaded in Black Magic Sanction, as an in-universe error on Trent's part.
Back Story: Several of the short stories of the series provide this. May provide mild forms of Retcon.
Biker Babe: Ivy owns a motorcycle and often wears leather.
Black Magic: Each type of magic has a more powerful black side to it except for demon magic which is all black. Subverted in that black magic is not inherently evil but does create what is termed "smut" on a person's aura. Despite that many people still use the presence of smut as a negative Karma Meter. Use of black magic is illegal. Later on it is revealed some witches are legally sanctioned to use it.
Book Dumb: Rachel, underscored by her fiery personality and aversion to authority figures. Her father intended to prevent her being taught ley line magic because it would start her down the path to becoming a fully-fledged demon.
Character Development: Arguably the primary focus of the series as opposed to a more traditional plot driven one. Rachel in particular.
Chekhov's Gun: Subverted completely in "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel". Pierce demonstrates some very cool magical amulets to Rachel but they are never used or referred to again- even when they would have been very useful in confronting the story's Big Bad.
A long version of this is Ivy's wish. Introduced in the first book it doesn't become relevant for another seven years. The results? Not so good.
Chess Master: Most characters have tried their hand at this role with varying degrees of success most notably Al, Minias, Trent, Nick, Piscary, Rynn and even Rachel. Subverted in that none of their plans have ever been highly successful and killed at least one of them.
Dark Is Not Evil: Black Magic is considered by most to be evil and produces smut on the aura. As the series progresses and Rachel begins using it it seems that that it is not evil but merely harmful to the person who uses it. Even so, many people consider black witches to be evil.
Demonic Possession: Demons can possess people though it seems diificult for them to do so without consent. Mild subversion in that the ability is in not inherent but simply a very powerful spell. Newt attempts this on Rachel and Lee allows Al to possess him as part of a scheme for revenge on Rachel.
Devil but No God: Consecrated ground and the effect crucifixes have on vampires are created by magic rather than the effect of divine influence. Demons on the other hand are very much real and very evil.
Played with as Demons are just another race of supernatural beings who live an alternate dimension. Likewise, as we later learn, the Ever-After is far from Hell. It has cafes!
Fantastic Racism: Inverted to some degree in that the greatest racists are the Inderlanders themselves. Vampires hate werewolves and vice versa but there are other mutual racial hatreds: fairies and pixies, elves and demons, banshees and everyone else. Ironically while humans are understandably wary of the prenatural abilities of the Inderlanders there has been little actual overt racism on their part.
Until you get to A Perfect Blood, when it's revealed that the racist humans are extremely nasty and shown to dance merrily across the Moral Event Horizon line when they start mutilating innocent Inderlanders to create demons.
Fatal Flaw: Humans, even the FIB, tend to fear being around and Inderlanders due to their association with tomatoes, which initially were the transportation vehicle for the fatal T4 or 'Angel' virus. Glenn is instantly wary of Rachel and Ivy when it's revealed they use tomatoes for cooking.
Friend to All Children: Ivy reads to hospitalized, terminally ill children every week. Also, this is an oddly common trait in vampires, who instinctively protect the weak, helpless, and children. It is said to be a way of preserving their food source and/or shadows.
Friendly Enemy: Trent, later Al, Newt and Minias. Arguably the demon race in general toward Rachel when it is revealed she is part demon.
Also Quen, who is probably the best example in the series.
However, demons can change the eyes if it is important: In Black Magic Sanction, Al takes Rachel's form complete with green eyes, when the coven summons Rachel under Al's name and expect to get her. Rachel and Al had traded names back earlier to prevent this.
Go Karting with Bowser: Despite the fact that he occasionally tries to kill her and that she occasionally attempts to put him in jail, Trent and Rachel have a rather active social life together.
Government Agency of Fiction: The novels' two law enforcement agencies, Inderlander Security (I.S.) which covers Inderlander crime and and its human counterpart the Federal Inderlander Bureau (FIB). Rachel once worked for the first and now works with the other from time to time.
The witch Coven of Moral and Ethical Standards also qualifies.
Holy Ground: Rachel and her pixie and vampire roommates live in a church that is on holy ground. It has twice been blasphemed by the presence of an extremely powerful demon and needed a priest to come re-consecrate it.
I Am What I Am: Rachel accepting that she is a black witch and then later, part demon. And later still, an honest-to-god legally recognized demon.
I Didnt Mean to Turn You On: Vampires can lose control of themselves if given certain 'intimate' signals by others. This was a early problem between Ivy and Rachel. There is actually a guide on how to turn on - or more importantly how not to turn on - a vampire.
Immortality Seeker: The motivation of the demon race. Justified in that an elven curse prevents them siring pureblood demon children and they don't want to go extinct.
It has also been pointed out the Rachel that as she has demon DNA she could also gain immortality. She hasn't decided if that what's what she wants yet.
Although it has been hinted she will live forever already by Al and I think Newt, not that they're reliable.
Rachel herself has theorized that she and other demons gain immortality through the use of vanity curses such as her were and size changing curses as they appear to reset the biological clock back to vitality upon deactivation.
Incompatible Orientation: Ivy is bisexual whereas Rachel is straight. Rachel herself in the earlier books constantly mentions "not being wired that way" in terms of sexual orientation and as a means that she and Ivy can't be together.
Though with Rachel's vamp scars, any vamp regardless of gender can play upon them, inducing orgasmic feelings without physical sexual stimulation. This does muddy the waters a bit in regards to Rachel and Ivy's relationship and how far it could go, but it would work better if Ivy were able to separate blood and sex.
In Harm's Way: Rachel is an adrenaline junkie and often seeks danger to feel alive. Less so now after almost getting Ivy, Jenks and even Trent killed as a result.
Interspecies Romance: Rachel rarely dates other witches. To date she has a relationship with a human and a living vampire. This seems to be a theme. David used to date humans exclusively until he accidentally turned them into werewolves and Ivy briefly dated the human Glenn. Ivy also briefly appeared to have an unrequited crush on David.
Rachel did briefly switch to witches, but now seems to be starting a relationship with Trent the elf.
Jenks and Belle the Fairy seem to be starting one up.
Jurisdiction Friction: The IS and FIB have competing jurisdiction for crimes relating to Inderlanders. Partially subverted in that the corrupt IS often doesn't care about solving some crimes and dumps them into the FIB's lap.
Karma Houdini: Al, Trent, Lee and Newt are examples of this trope. Al is the king of them having raped the dog publicly and loudly so often its not just crossing the line twice, he's taken atrocity up to eleven and has no intent of stopping. Mildly subverted in that he suffered a minor reversal of fortunes in demon society. This however was due to letting Rachel live with knowledge of demon magic as opposed to any ill deed he did.
Nick could count as well, considering he's clever enough to avoid Trent and Rachel, after trying to steal Trent's priceless elf porn statue, conspiring against both of them, and disappearing from a cell in Trent's grounds, possibly allFor the Lulz. Not to mention the faking his own death as an escape and then giving Rachel the focus.
Kill It with Fire: Rachel burns Kisten's murderer and accomplice into ash. Subverted in that they were already dead.
First played straight and then averted in Black Magic Sanction: Rachel, Pierce, and Ceri almost burn Rachel's garden in order to kill the fairy assassins who had invaded; Rachel breaks the spell because she doesn't want to be a killer, but by then the spell burned off the fairies' wings. When she realizes that the fairies killed Matalina, she regrets not killing them, but then she and their leader Sidereal talk, and come to an agreement in which no one has to die, and both sides have earned the other's grudging respect.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: The series has "forget charms" that can remove specific memories. Rachel has had these used on her twice so far. That she knows of.
Subverted in that there are also Pandora charms that can restore the lost memories.
In A Perfect Blood, the new, unnamed human organization try to erase Trent and Rachel's memories with a forget-chemical created by Trent's labs. They both come out unscathed; Trent because he has the antidote, and Rachel because she used a demon curse designed to prevent any and all induced memory loss.
Leprechaun Rachel's trying to tag one in the opening of the first book. The same one comes back in Black Magic Sanction.
Mind Control: Living vampire pheromones create a low level of this. This is stronger in those already infected with the vampire virus. Undead vampires can use a more powerful version of this termed 'pulling an aura'.
Mind Rape: Piscary does this several times to Ivy.
Mind Screw: A favorite ploy of the villains especially Al, Trent and Piscary.
Mistaken for Gay: Rachel whenever Ivy introduces her as a friend. People assume she's with Ivy in that way.
Monster Mash: To date the novels have included witches, vampires, pixies, fairies, werewolves, werefoxes, trolls, leprechauns, demons, elves, banshees, and ghosts living alongside humans.
Motive Decay: Trent. Though he claims that the motivations for his crimes is to finance his illegal genetic experiments and to save the elven race he often commits entirely unnecessary crimes such as breaking the will of and murdering subordinates, keeping Rachel trapped in the form of a mink and entering her into illegal rat fights, murdering several innocent werewolves to try to get the demon focus and various other acts unrelated to that goal.
In Black Magic SanctionNick also suffers this with his changing sides several times for no obvious reason or profit.
Nick is a thief. His motivation for things is as much for adrenaline and lulz as it would be for profit.
Must Have Caffeine: Rachel, so much so that she gets headaches. To a lesser extent, Al — who likes her coffee better than the coffee in his realm.
Plot Line Crossover: Happens with remarkable frequency. Some notable examples are the elven childhood cure for Rosewood making Rachel a part demon, Ivy's long ago disgraced boss Art killing Kisten and the demon focus being key to several parallel plot lines among many others.
Police Are Useless: It seems Rachel tends to solve more Inderlander crimes for the FIB than their actual employees. The IS on the other hand simply covers up Inderlander crime as opposed to enforcing the laws.
The Renfield: Shadows are people bound to vampires by their bite.
Vampires can also create a similar bond to create a "scion" which still binds a person but leaves them much more free will. Scions can also draw on some of the energy of the vampire they are bonded to. Conversely the vampire can freely Mind Rape the scion, so it is not always an ideal relationship.
Relationship Ceiling/Bury Your Gays/Ship Sinking: As of A Perfect Blood, Rachel and Ivy have stopped trying to make their relationship work. There are still many ways of working out their problems but Rachel seems less interested in this as the books go on. Now the books seem to be pushing Rachel toward Trent.
It is speculated that the publisher or even Harrison herself is uncomfortable with Rachel having a same-sex relationship, since the readership is comprised mostly of women. Perhaps they believe such a relationship would drive them away.
The Reveal: Usually at least one major one and several minor ones a book. These have included but are not limited to Ivy setting up the church as a trap for Rachel under Piscary's orders, Piscary revealed to have molested Ivy for most of her life, Rachel received illegal genetic treatment for a fatal disorder as a child, Keasley being the legendary long-thought-dead runner Leon Bairnes, Trent being an elf and the elves not being extinct, Piscary being behind the assassination attempts against Trent and Rachel, Trent's and Rachel's fathers being partners and both being killed by Piscary, revealing Nick to be thief, Rachel's father being Takata, Rachel's adoptive father dying trying to reverse the transformation into a vampire, Pierce haunting the church for over a year, Ceri's pregnancy and the father's true identity, Rachel's mother being nowhere near as senile as she lets on, witches being the genetically damaged descendants of demons, Rachel being given the cure to Rosewood syndrome as a child which now makes her a demon and many, many more.
Kim's biggest reveal to date is that "Kim Harrison" is a pen name for Dawn Cook. This has surprisingly created a degree of Internet Backdraft.
Later in order to fake the death of Nick Rachel agrees to a plan to kill a willing terminally ill living vampire disguised as Nick despite it violating her Technical Pacifist stance. Double angst points in that Nick intentionally blows the operation and then immediately fakes his own death again in an attempt to double cross everyone making it a Senseless Sacrifice.
Shorter Means Smarter: Inverted here with the taller Ivy being the smart planned out one and the shorter Rachel the impatient riskier one.
Shout-Out: Al once references 'burning bunnies' in a memorable quote. This is a Catch Phrase of the author and members of her fan club often wear burning bunny pins to her book signings to identify themselves. You can find an example of the pin a little further down this page.
Perhaps the most obvious shout out is the titles of the books. All except the first are derived from Clint Eastwood films due to the author's love of the actor's work. As a result, fans enjoy speculating on what the titles of upcoming books will be.
Theme Naming: Jenks' family. All given J names after him (rather than M names after his wife Matalina).
There Are No Good Executives: Played straight, even with Trent... Until you get to Pale Demon, and suddenly Trent is being less and less of a jerk. Comes to a head in A Perfect Blood when Rachel spends most of the book actively working with Trent because he's the only one she can trust to watch her back.
Tome of Eldritch Lore: Rachel has several tomes of demon magic with some rather disturbing spells. However being that she is a bit Book Dumb they tend to collect dust more than see use.
Too Dumb to Live: Arguably, Rachel at times. Justified in that she is a adrenaline junkie.
Took a Level in Badass: Rachel does this periodically. She starts as a simple earth witch and every other book or so learns a new type of magic to add to her arsenal. First she learns ley-line magic, then black magic, then demon magic secondhand from Ceri and now is learning it first hand from Al.
David is another example. First he starts off as a bookish werewolf insurance investigator who wanted to form his own pack to avoid werewolf politics. Later he ends up beating several werewolves at once from his old pack who challenge him. He takes another level in badass when he absorbs a demonic curse that can create werewolves from human beings which makes the equivalent of a super-alpha wolf.
The Virus: The vampire virus is a rather multifaceted version. Non-vampires bitten have their DNA rewired to become addicted to the "rush" of a bite and highly vulnerable to vampire Mind Control pheromones. A vampire can also bind a non-vampire to their will with a bite to become their Renfield or make them a more free-willed version known as a scion. Humans but not other races infected with enough of the virus become low-blood vampire or "ghouls".
The worst aspect of the virus is that when a living vampire dies, the virus will consume their soul and cause them to rise as a soulless undead version of themselves. Kisten may have avoided this fate. Word of God hasn't decided yet.
Another virus appears in the form of a demonic focus that can transform a human into a werewolf. David accidentally transforms a number of his girlfriends this way.
Vampire Bites Suck: Normally neurotransmitters make vampire bites pleasant but the vampire can make it painful or even paralyze a person with their bite.
Victoria's Secret Compartment: Rachel sticks her cell phone here for a wedding, since her dress lacks pockets. It rings loudly and rudely. Takata finds it amusing when she says she "had it on vibrate. Really."
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Trent Everything he does is to resurrect his species and lift the genetic curse that affects and kills their infants.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Ivy doesn't want to become an undead vampire but instead wants to keep her soul even if it means dying. Also, Ceri after 1000 years as a demonic familiar is now content to age and die naturally.
Rachel and Trent. As of The Undead Pool, they did.
Willfully Weak: At the start of the series Rachel is doing this, by doing only white earth magic spells. White spells are less powerful than black spells, and the line is clearer with earth magic than ley line magic. However, circumstances keep forcing her to use black magic and demon curses.
And then there is A Perfect Blood: For about half of the book Rachel cuts off her access to ley lines with a charmed silver bracelet courtesy of Trent. She goes through a lot of anguish trying to decide what the best course of action is: take it off and be hunted and persecuted by the general populace, or leave it on and be magically castrated for life. Eventually, she realizes that she is a demon, and she can't change that, so she removes it.
White Magic: What Rachel practices. Mostly. Originally.
Witch Species: In the series, witches are separate species originating in the Ever-After. Though they look just like humans, their genetics are completely different and the two species cannot interbreed.
Later it is revealed that the witch species arose from stunted demon children suffering from a elven curse.