Book Review: Kim Harrison’s White Witch, Black Curse

Posted December 2, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Kim Harrison’s White Witch, Black Curse

White Witch, Black Curse


Kim Harrison

It is part of the The Hollows #7 series and is a paranormal fantasy in Hardcover edition that was published by Eos Press on February 24, 2009 and has 504 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Dates from Hell, Pale Demon, Unbound, Something Deadly This Way Comes, 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, Black Magic Sanction, A Perfect Blood, "Pet Shop Boys", "Trouble on Reserve", Into the Woods, Holidays are Hell, Ever After, The Drafter, "Waylaid", The Operator, The Turn: The Hollows Begins with Death

Seventh in the Rachel Morgan / The Hollows paranormal fantasy series revolving around the partners in the Vampiric Charms agency in an alternate Cincinnati, Ohio.

Well, there’s a screw-up for the books, I thought for sure it was Cleveland and Lady Galaxy pointed out that I was wrong. The series is based in Cincinnati! Duh…

In 2009, White Witch, Black Curse was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Fantasy.

My Take

Some days, it just doesn’t pay a girl to get outta bed…especially when all the good one attempts only results in people seeing you as bad.

Harrison has written a compelling story in an even more compelling series…White Witch, Black Curse just grabbed me up and made me cry as Rachel remembers what happened the night Kist died. There are so many mini-plots embedded throughout the story which Harrison “twists” on and drags us further along, even as she drops more breadcrumbs along the primary road of the series. Truly a master in building tension and intrigue.

The Story

Rachel, Jenks, and Ivy are called out by Capt. Edden and the FIB in response to an attack on Glenn at the Tilsons’ house. An attack that has unexpected supernatural repercussions followed by more attacks which the media twists making it look like Rachel is the perpetrator instead of one of the good guys even when Rachel ends up in the hospital, a victim like Glenn.

And it all goes downhill from there: Robbie shows up but it turns out it’s only to help Mom move; Rynn Cormel helps Rachel escape the hospital but only to threaten her; an information-seeking visit with Skimmer in jail does not go well, especially in the parking lot; Pierce re-enters Rachel’s life; and, Tom Bansen keeps cropping up everywhere.

Lest you think that being a good guy trying to help people has its rewards, be warned: Rachel gets shunned, a betrayal that hurts Marshal but doesn’t prevent him from helping Rachel accomplish her mission to wring an agreement from Big Al.

The Characters

Rachel Morgan is an earth witch who twists demon curses to help her friends and keep the world from damage; she still carries two demon marks. She’s still trying to remember what happened the night that Kist was killed. She’s also trying to come to terms with the reality that any children she has will be demons. Ivy Tamwood is her partner. A living vampire damaged and twisted by Piscary trying to find a way to live with Rachel without taking her as a scion. Jenks is a pixy and an old man at 18 with 54 kids and Matalina, his 19-year-old, dying wife. Bis, an adolescent gargoyle, is an unofficial part of Vampiric Charms who pays his rent to Jenks by patrolling the four-hour time slot in the middle of the night.

Marshal is pursuing an advanced degree in Cincinnati after selling his diving business in Michigan. So far, he and Rachel have simply been getting together as friends.

Alice Morgan is Rachel’s mom and her and her brother Robert’s biological dad is Takata, Alice’s true love who preferred to take his rock ‘n roll act on the road.

Rynn Cormel is a former U.S. President who got the country through the Turn and has returned to take over Piscary’s camarilla. He will protect Rachel IF/while she finds a way for living vampires to keep their souls intact when they become undead.

Detective Glenn is Captain Edden’s son whom Rachel and Ivy have hooked on tomatoes. Captain Edden is in charge at the Federal Inderland Bureau (FIB), the human policing organization. Ford is a human who feels others’ emotions; the FIB uses him as a lie detector.

Trent Kalamack is a billionaire elf obsessed with reversing the elven population any way he can. Quen Hanson is Trent’s bodyguard. Ceri is an elf whom Rachel freed from being Al’s familiar. Keasley is a retired witch in ill-health who lives across the street from the church.

Kisten Felps worked for Piscary, the now-deceased Master vampire of Cincinnati who tortured and abused Ivy. Kisten and Ivy used to be together until they decided they’d rather be friends and Kist fell in love with Rachel until events in For a Few Demons More, 5.

Algaliarept, a.k.a., Big Al, is a demon after Rachel. They made a deal that Rachel would come into the everafter and be his student for 24 hours once a week. Pierce is a ghost and demon killer fascinated by Rachel.

Tom Bansen is a witch who sold out to the dark side, working almost exclusively with black magic. He used to be with the Arcane Division at the I.S. Mia Harbor is the Cincinnati-area banshee who has managed to find love with Remus, a psychotic. Between them they have created a baby, Holly, a very rare event for banshees. Ms. Walker, a.k.a., The Walker, is a banshee assassin intensely interested in, ahem, acquiring Holly and she’s bemused Capt. Edden.

The Cover and Title

The cover has an emerald green, black, and a splash of white background with the tackily dressed Rachel in a short tight skirt, thigh-high boots, and a matching, ripped-up, long-sleeved top with her legs braced, hip cocked and holding a huge gun pointed toward the paving as she faces the water-spewing fountain in Fountain Square.

The title sums it all up as Rachel is a White Witch using a Black Curse.