The Witch With No Name
Harper Voyager (September 9, 2014)
I imagine meeting Rachel Morgan would leave me frightened, fascinated and overwhelmed. It would likely have to happen in the Hollows, where the Inderlanders are. Maybe at a coffee shop where she’d sip on a hot, hot brew with a raspberry dollop and a dash of cinnamon.
It would be a quiet conversation, I’m sure. After all, what do you say to the woman who saved the world over and over? Do you simply give her a quick nod of respect or squeeze her tight, your ‘thank you’ muffled between the curly strands of her frizzy red hair?
Often, when I’ve reviewed new installments in Kim Harrison’s Hollows series here on LitStack, I’ve mentioned that each read is like that quiet coffee shop visit. I pick up a Hollows book and am immediately transformed, back among characters I’ve grown to love over the past fourteen years. It’s a place I feel comfortable in, warm and cozy, a place I rarely want to leave. But like all great things, the end has come to the Hollows. Last week, Harrison released her final Hollows novel, The Witch With No Name.
I got busy after I one-clicked on Amazon. Real life and the day job bogged me down but whispering in the corners of my mind were Rachel and Jenks, Ivy and Trent, telling me it was time to return for my yearly visit. Only, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want to say goodbye, not just yet.
The weekend came and the excuses fled and I stayed up quite late, Friday and Saturday, visiting my favorite little town, the Hollows. I was there, watching Rachel trying to do what she does best: save folks. In The Witch With No Name, we return full circle, back to the running hope Rachel has always had for her Living Vampire bestie, Ivy. She wants to save her soul. It would be a magnanimous feat, one that Rachel is certain every vampire would give their canines to have for themselves. It’s one Rachel is threatened, bullied and pushed into performing.
At the sidelines of this novel are the constant struggles that have slipped in and out of the series: Al, Rachel’s former demon master, and Newt the insane demon Rachel is never quite sure is raging or giddy, and the witch-demon’s relationship with both; the threats that are always surfacing in Rachel’s life; and, of course, the relationship she has with elf Trent Kalamack, a relationship Rachel isn’t sure she deserves.
Central and always starring in the Hollows novels is Harrison’s in-depth, well-realized lyrical details of internal (quite literally) bouts of violence set on what can only be described as a psychological or at least, a metaphysical plane. There is so much poetry in these scenes where Rachel battles beings and forms who are all-powerful, who she knows outweigh her in magic and might. Harrison’s greatest talent, and what I believe has always set the Hollows series apart from a crowded Urban Fantasy market, is her ability to make the impossible seem real and believable. Ley lines are used, as is earth magic, smut on the soul, and wild magic eons old and somehow, I believed every word, saw reason and logic in how each were used. There are no wands, no cutsie little spells that save the day and, as it should, magic always, always has a price. It certainly does for Rachel, in this book particularly.
Harrison’s characters have evolved. By the end of The Witch With No Name, Rachel’s doubts are still there but they are tempered by wisdom and the great love she has for the people around her. The respect that pixie, witch and vampire who walked into a bar all those years ago have had for each other has only grown, fortified by the great adventures they’ve had and the long journey they’ve taken together in their struggle to live lives on their own terms.
Harrison ends the series with a happy ending that is perfect for Rachel, one that isn’t typical, isn’t expected, but still impeccably matched to the dynamic woman she’s grown into. And so that meeting with Ms. Morgan would be a quiet one, not because I’d be nervous to meet a great heroine, but because I’d know I was saying goodbye. I can always go back, return to uncover the mysteries and threats that brought Rachel to that happy ending, but it’d be like a memory, one I love, one that makes me smile, one that cannot be recreated for the first time again.
The Witch With No Name is a love letter to both the dynamic characters Harrison created and the readers who have been part of the world they lived in. Thank you, Kim for a wonderful journey and bunny eared kiss-kiss to all my fellow Hollows fans.