Narrator: Marguerite Gavin
Series: The Hollows #2
Published by Tantor Audio on January 25, 2005
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 14 hours 22 minutes
It's a tough life for witch Rachel Morgan, sexy, independent bounty hunter, prowling the darkest shadows of downtown Cincinnati for criminal creatures of the night. She can handle the leather-clad vamps and even tangle with a cunning demon or two. But a serial killer who feeds on the experts in the most dangerous kind of black magic is definitely pressing the limits. Confronting an ancient, implacable evil is more than just child's play -- and this time, Rachel will be lucky to escape with her very soul.
My Initial Reaction…
This was my second time reading The Good, the Bad, and the Undead, but my first time listening to it. I slowed down a bit and actually savored some of the details this time around and I have to admit I’m pretty blown away by the layers of forethought that this early book presents for the longer arch of the whole series. And I still loved it!
I think that I would love Marguerite Gavin if I weren’t encountering her after having already read the series on my own. Now that it’s the second book listening to her, I’m starting to get comfortable and her voices for the characters are slowly replacing the ones I had in my head. She does an excellent job giving each character a distinct personality and her pacing seems just right for every situation. And it’s really great hearing how some names that I was never too sure of are supposed to be pronounced.
I adore these characters. Rachel starts off The Good, the Bad, and the Undead seeming to have everything together. Her death threat is gone and she has an ok stream of business, and a boyfriend that she is happy with. But then she gets involved in a case involving a serial witch killer and things get sketchy again. I think what I love most about Rachel in The Good, the Bad, and the Undead is the way she’s growing – not just as an individual, but in her skills. We saw that she can be pretty kick ass in Dead Witch Walking, but we also saw that she would be screwed royally without the support of her friends. That’s still fairly true, but there are some pretty great moments where she’s stretching beyond her own abilities with ley line magic, not to mention her incredible detective skills.
Like I said, though, her friends are super important. Ivy Tamwood – her partner and living vampire partner – is slowly revealing herself to Rachel (and us). She remains a bit of a mystery to me, though I do love how fiercely loyal she is to Rachel. Jenks, too, is incredibly loyal. He may be my absolute favorite character in this series. He’s more than a sidekick, he’s the heart of this trio. Despite being a little pixy, he’s got a huge heart and some fierce skills of his own. I’m loving the glimpses of his family and the workings of pixy life – which Rachel is slowly discovering herself.
Trent Kalamack remains Rachel’s chief target and enemy in The Good, the Bad, and the Undead – but I want more from him. I know she’s happy with Nick, who seems really nice and caring, but he’s not enough for Rachel. Not to mention, he’s not the average Joe he likes to pretend to be. She needs someone with a big personality, skills of his own, and the ability to challenge her… like Trent. That’s just my opinion though.
The basic plot for The Good, the Bad, and the Undead centers on a series of witch murders – ley line witches to be exact – and Rachel’s efforts to solve the mystery and stop the killer. This is a new element for Rachel, whose work as a runner never involved solving mysteries – she just had to tag the already identified bad guys. Seeing her and the gang in this new element, where she mostly excels was pretty fantastic. The story is complicated by tensions between the Rachel and Ivy, particularly in the wake of her demon/vampire attack in Dead Witch Walking, her own vendetta against Trent, and developments in her relationship with Nick.
The complex world that Harrison laid the foundation for in Dead Witch Walking is already finding it’s payoff in The Good, the Bad, and the Undead. The character development and relationship threads in particular are developing into several complex webs that I can’t wait to see work themselves out.
I’m really glad I decided to give The Good, the Bad, and the Undead an audio re-read and savor the details I missed the first time around. The world building and character development is incredible – to an extent I didn’t even realize before having read further along in the series.