Dead Witch Walking
by Kim Harrison
Book Reaction (not a full review)
I've been meaning to read Dead Witch Walking for a while, and when I found it on audio at my library, I snatched the opportunity. I'm glad I did. Harrison has an addictively readable style, and her worldbuilding felt both fun and original. Long story short: after a genetic mutation carried in a tomato managed to exterminate half the world's human population, the supernaturals decided to step out of the closet. Forty years later, the humans tend to avoid the paranormal parts of town and have a paralyzing fear of tomatoes.
I liked Rachel as a narrator, even though I think she's an idiot who managed to dig herself into every problem she found and need her friends' help to extricate herself. She also wins Worst Supernatural Detective Award of the Month. (Seriously, how has she not yet guessed what Trent is?) Her impulsivity definitely propels the plot, and I loved her interactions with Jenks the positively potty pixy.
I have really only one serious issue with the book: the vampire version of slut-shaming. Ivy the vampire keeps misreading Rachel's signals as come-ons, and then Rachel accepts blame as unintentionally acting like a "vampire hussy." Their "compromise" is for Rachel to not get excited during arguments, wear particular perfumes, be careful with her clothes, etc, because clearly it's all Rachel's fault when Ivy loses control. It's the same rationalization as "She's wearing provocative clothing, so she was asking for it," or perhaps more accurately, "She got attacked, so she must have been asking for it."
Whatever the arena, I'm really, really tired of victim-blaming.
But for all that, I'm interested to see what Harrison does with her characters, and I adored how many plot arcs that the book set up. There are enough warning signs coming off of Nick to power a lighthouse, and we don't even know what will happen with the demon mark. Last but not least, the narrator, Marguerite Gavin, has a pleasant voice and an animated narrative style. I just put in a request for the next book.