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Hollows (series)

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Hollows (series)

The Hollows series (also called the Rachel Morgan series) is a series of eleven mystery novels, six short stories, one graphic novel, and one compendium resource by Kim Harrison, published by HarperCollins Publishers, in an urban fantasy alternate history universe and set primarily in the city of Cincinnati and its suburbs. The alternate history is built upon two premises: the recent open existence of magical and supernatural species, primarily witches, vampires, and werewolves, with the human population; and the historical investment of Cold War military spending in genetic engineering as opposed to the Space Race, which resulted in the accidental release of a virus via a genetically modified tomato in the 1960s that killed a significant portion of the human population. The series is set approximately forty years after this plague, referred to as 'The Turn' within the series.

The series is told in the first-person point-of-view of Rachel Morgan, a detective witch who works with local law enforcement agencies and faces threats both mundane and supernatural in origin. The series also focuses on Rachel's relationships with her partners, a living vampire and a pixy, as well as her personal relationships with males of different species.

Reading Order

 1.  Dead Witch Walking
 2.  The Good, The Bad, and The Undead
2.5  Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil (Ivy novella in the Dates From Hell anthology also in Into the Woods compilation)
 3.  Every Which Way But Dead
 4.  A Fistful of Charms
4.5  Dirty Magic (Mia short story in the Hotter Than Hell anthology also in Into the Woods compilation)
 5.  For A Few Demons More
5.1  The Bridges of Eden Park (Kisten/Rachel short story in For a Few Demons More(US mass market edition) also in Into the Woods compilation)
5.5  Two Ghosts For Sister Rachel (Robbie/Rachel/Pierce novella in the Holidays Are Hell anthology also in Into the Woods compilation)
 6.  The Outlaw Demon Wails (retitled Where Demons Dare in the UK)
6.1  The Bespelled (Ceri/Al short story in The Outlaw Demon Wails (US mass market edition) also in the Demons anthology and also in Into the Woods compilation)
 7.  White Witch, Black Curse
7.5  Ley Line Drifter (Bis/Jenks novella in Unbound anthology also in Into the Woods compilation)
 8.  Black Magic Sanction
 9.  Pale Demon
9.1  Blood Work (Graphic Novel of Rachel's interning year under Ivy at the IS)
9.5  The Hollows Insider (Hollows world book - an overarching new story, character profiles, maps, spell guides, charm recipes, secret correspondence, ... )
 10. A Perfect Blood
10.1 Million-Dollar Baby (Trent novella an Into the Woods original)
10.2 Blood Crime (Graphic Novel of Rachel's continued interning under Ivy at the IS)
10.5 Trouble on Reserve (pre-installed on Sony eReader for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch)
 11. Ever After
 12. The Undead Pool

Novel Names

With the exception of the first novel, titles in The Hollows series are allusions to Clint Eastwood films, including several of his most famous westerns. The graphic novel shares the name of an Eastwood movie, an allusion of the most literal sort.

Shorts and Novella Names

Graphic Novel Names

  • Blood Work: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel: This shares the name of Blood Work (2002).
  • Blood Crime: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel (to be released October 31, 2012):[1] An allusion to True Crime (1999).

Characters

Main characters

Rachel Mariana Morgan

A witch-detective initially working as a runner for the Inderland Security (I.S.) service. She procures three wishes from a leprechaun she apprehends on her last run for the Inderlander Security service and uses a wish to get her independence. She makes a deal with the living vampire, Ivy Tamwood, and the pixy, Jenks, to give them the remaining wishes for their assistance in leaving the I.S. The three create the Vampiric Charms freelance runner service, and take various runs, or 'missions', both together and separately. In earlier books, she works to remove a death bounty placed on her by her former employer as well as freeing herself from a demon's debt. In the most recent books, Rachel finds herself learning about and using ley line and demon magic, both in order to do her job and protect her life and the lives of her friends and family. She is deeply ambivalent about using dark magic, but will continue to do so when she finds it necessary. Her aura's initial color is gold, like Trent's and Algaliarept's.

Ivy Alisha Tamwood

A living vampire that works with Rachel at the I.S. and follows her into freelance work. Ivy is six feet tall, elegantly thin, and very pale, with long black hair and an Asian cast. Ivy struggles with her vampiric nature on a personal level, as well as attempting to keep Rachel from being attacked by fellow vampires. She is bisexual and harbors a deep longing and affection for Rachel. She is deeply devoted to Rachel and Jenks, doing whatever it takes for them, mainly Rachel. Ivy is the last living vampire of the Tamwood bloodline (her younger sister, Erica is part of the Randal bloodline) and Ivy has been made a scion of her old master vampire Piscary. He has purposely tried to direct Ivy into lack of control and violence in any of her blood-related relationships. After claiming her as his scion, Ivy has had to work ever harder to resist his pressure to follow his desires. At one point, Ivy has to agree to let Piscary control her even more, in return for him leaving her sister alone. Ivy sees Rachel as her only true friend, her deep love interest, and as her one hope to escape her future as Piscary's scion. She hides her caring for Rachel beneath a very brittle and distant veneer, but she will kill anyone who gets in her way if Rachel needs her help.

Jenks

A pixy, a four inch tall flying man, works with Rachel and Ivy in their freelance business. He often provides the comedy in the novels as well as working as a saboteur, electronics expert, and spy. He is always watching after Rachel, worried about her and Ivy's interactions, as well as the men who come into her life as they usually turn out to be untrustworthy. Jenks, with his wife Matalina and their countless children, lives in a stump against the garden wall in the yard of the old church, providing site security and guarding against incursions by their mortal enemies, fairies.

Trenton Aloysius Kalamack

A purebred elf who is a shrewd businessman, one of Cincinnati's most powerful Inderlanders, and has a childhood history with Rachel. He is very attractive, tall, with baby-fine blond hair and green eyes. His father is responsible for curing Rachel's Rosewood Syndrome. Trent's goal is to resurrect the fertility of the elven race using whatever means necessary. He has a deep hatred for demons, due to his race's biological warfare with them in the past which nearly caused the elves to be wiped out. He is often flanked by his bodyguard and fellow elf, Quen and assistant, Jonathan. Even though they are very similar with different ideals, Rachel and Trent have a love/hate relationship.

Algaliarept

A 5,000-year-old demon whose job and livelihood depends on tricking susceptible victims into the Ever-After for servitude through cunning manipulation. Al is typically shown as a tall, muscled Britishman who has long brown hair, wears blue-tinted smoked-rim glasses, and dresses in a crushed green velvet, laced outfit with boots. Several characters throughout the series have owed Al demon marks or have had dealings with him. He was married to a demoness named Celfnnah.

Background

The series is set in an alternate history where supernatural beings live side-by-side with normal humans. According to this timeline, after the discovery of the DNA double-helix by James D. Watson, Francis Crick and Rosalind Franklin, genetic manipulation becomes a possibility, changing several events in the history of this alternate universe. A virus nicknamed the T4 Angel virus attached itself to a flaw in the genome of a genetically manipulated tomato (its lab identification being T4 Angel tomato), and quickly spread around the world. As a result of the plague, all biogenetic research, including reverse engineering and genetic splicing, has been outlawed. Additionally, the human race has developed a cultural fear of tomatoes and tomato-based food products such as pizza sauce and tomato ketchup.

The Turn

The T4 Angel virus killed a quarter of the human population. Upon noticing the combined number of their various species now neared that of humanity, the supernatural species quickly seized the opportunity to make themselves known. The fact the structure of the civilization remained somewhat intact during "The Turn" is attributed to the fact many of the supernatural beings being in (or seizing) positions of power, including a vampire named Rynn Cormel acting as the president of the USA (but never sworn in).

The supernatural beings are known as "Inderlanders". As laws and societies are dramatically changed by factors relating to these new sentient species, all levels of law enforcement in the United States break down. Two new organizations, the Inderlander Security service (consisting entirely of non-humans) and the Federal Inderlander Bureau (consisting entirely of normal humans), replace the former law enforcement agencies at all levels. The convention that allows both agencies to operate forbids Inderlanders from being on the F.I.B. payroll, although consulting jobs mostly are allowed.

The Ever-after

The Ever-after is a magical plane that existed outside the ken of normal humans until the Turn. The main pixy character, Jenks, describes it as "...a drop of time that got knocked out, sitting alone by itself with no past behind it to push it forward and no future to pull it along." Concentrations of Ever-after energy are scattered across the normal plane and are called "ley lines." Ley lines can be felt on the normal plane by magic users and the races that formerly dwelt in the Ever-after, such as the elves and witches. The only race that currently dwells in the Ever-after is that of the demons, having driven out the elves nearly two thousand years ago. Witches also formerly dwelt in the Ever-after but fled to the mundane plane approximately five thousand years ago.

The Ever-after presented in the novels is referred to as the basis for the 'happily ever after' that often occurs at the end of modern fairy tales; due to mistranslation and omission, the factual "in the Ever-after" (referring to a place) became the figurative "happily ever after" (referring to time).

The Ever-after, once a beautiful land filled with fog and forest, was destroyed by the imbalance of the Elf-Demon war, leaving a desert-like wasteland stinking of burnt amber.

The Elf-Demon War

We learn in EVER AFTER that the war was caused by a break in the alliance between Elves and Demons. The Elves enslaved the Demons, and the Demons, in return tried to trap the Elves in the Ever-after. This led to them being bound there in yet another war, until the Elves migrated to reality.

Supernatural races

The novels use Inderlander to refer to all of the supernatural beings that revealed themselves during the Turn. They are divided into two groups: those that are derived from humans and those that are non-human in origin.

Inderlander (non-human) races

  • Witches: An Inderlander species and the primary practitioners of magic in reality who are a distinct species from humans, although almost phenotypically indistinguishable, and due to a different number of chromosomal pairs, hybrids with humans are impossible. Witches possess a life expectancy of 160 years and a preferred circadian rhythm in which they arise at noon. They are demographically the largest four major Inderlander species, although the least political. Most of the population is unaware that the race of witches is the result of a curse cast on demons by elves; they fled the Ever-After 5,000 years prior to the Turn, abandoning the realm to the demons and elves. Rosewood Syndrome is a consequence the curse that created the witches which affects certain children who would otherwise be capable of kindling demon-magic, and the disease, with only two exceptions resulting from illegal genetic medicine, invariably leads to an early death. Witches of low magic ability, generally due to a lack of education, are called warlocks. Witch and warlock have no gender connotation.
  • Demons: A highly aggressive race that dwells only in the Ever-After, although capable of traveling through the ley lines to reality, they are incapable of being in reality during the day or being on consecrated ground. They are portrayed as particularly litigious and avaricious. However, the strength of contracts relies almost solely on power and leverage, as demons have no respect for the rule of law. Furthermore, their economy is primarily based on favors and knowledge as currency. Their natural life expectancy is 160 years, but through biological renewal inherent in their magic they are virtually immortal. Their magic is a unique combination of earth magic and ley line magic, giving their curses the strength and permanence of the former and the quickness and adaptability of the latter. In an attempt to rid reality of Elves, past demons created the Ever-After but instead of jailing the Elves, the creation forged a link to it trapping themselves. Only a few thousand demons survived the creation of the Ever-After. The only known female demon alive is Newt, who is incredibly powerful and feared but suffers from insanity. Attempts of other demons to reproduce with Newt have been unsuccessful. There are at least two different kinds of demons:
    • Surface Demons: These demons sport hooves and horns and appear to have a lower level of intelligence. These demons dwell on the surface in the ever-after. They can be used as henchmen for the more intelligent demons.
    • "Higher" Demons: While not labeled as a superior breed, these demons are much more intelligent, live below the surface of the world in the Ever-After and rely upon magic and bureaucratic rules in society. In "Ever After" the demons' original appearance is described as slight, dark as midnight, with bat-like wings and cat-like features.
  • Elves: A race that migrated from the ever-after nearly 2,000 years ago after losing several wars with the demons. The life expectancy of a full-blooded elf is given to be similar to a witch. However, few such elves remain as the elves, trying to preserve and restore their heritage, closely mingled and interbred with humans, which led to a massive die-off during the Turn as they fell susceptible to the Angel virus. They are widely believed to be extinct for most of the series, though there are around several ten thousand purebred Elves alive. Due to the demons magically manipulating and corrupting their DNA, elves have only been able to produce magically stunted children or children that die as toddlers, which is cured around mid series. They practice a unique form of magic often called "wild magic" as it is less easily controllable than witch-magic
  • Pixies: A small, humanoid race with a lifespan of 18–20 years that lives in gardens and has an intense rivalry with the Fairies due to a competition for resources. They have dragonfly-like wings and stand 4 inches tall. Their culture is traditionally centered around a nuclear family, scattering once a parent dies. They traditionally hibernate during the winter. Pixies have no legal standing, which is to their preference, although individuals can acquire such if they so choose. They rely on the pollen from plants to survive. Pixies are extremely territorial, and will attack fairies or even other pixies who invade their territories. A dash of red indicates peace and allows pixies to travel unharmed.
  • Fairies: A small race that lives in gardens and has an intense rivalry with the pixies. Their physical appearance includes butterfly-like wings, a height of six inches, and insectoid features. Fairies tend to eat insects and work as mercenaries if and when they interact with humans and the larger Inderlanders. Fairies likewise have no legal standing in society, which is also to their preference. They are a migratory species, traveling to Mexico during the winter.
  • Leprechauns: A small race (approximately the size of humans with dwarfism) that often grant wishes when captured though they usually offer no more than the minimum of three required by law. They have the ability to fabricate rainbows but are required to pay taxes for any gold at the rainbow's end. It is impossible to steal from a Leprechaun due to their ability to manipulate reality (normally used to grant wishes).
  • Trolls: A vaguely humanoid race that lives under bridges and can be a public nuisance as they eat the mortar that holds bridges together. Although most trolls cannot speak English, some have learned it. They are known for their sensitive senses and can draw water into themselves to increase their mass. They are willing to work with friendly humanoids.
  • Banshees: A long-lived female species, they prey upon the emotions of others, using the energy to feed. They hunt all creatures with auras, and as they would normally kill their prey are under many legal restrictions in order to control their hunting. Banshees typically hunt with care, selecting emotionally rich victims and often say harmful things to increase the emotional yield. The amount of emotion required for a banshee to become pregnant coupled with the lack of restraint young banshees have means that their numbers increase very slowly. This is not a major problem as banshees require territories and the reduced population can only support a small number. Once a banshee reaches maturity she no longer ages.
  • Gargoyles: A species that hunts at night, preying primarily on birds supplemented with iron and other metals. They prefer to live on consecrated ground and will roost there during the day. Leathery and light when active at night, all but the oldest uncontrollably petrify during the day. Gargoyles have an intense connection with the ley lines and provide focus and other abilities when aiding witches or held captive by demons. Unbound gargoyles can pass unhampered through all protection circles. Once bound, a gargoyle can only pass through their bond-mate's aura, will live as long as their bond-mate and are sensitive to their bond-mate's actions and well-being. Like the troll, a Gargoyle can draw water into itself for extra mass. They can also manipulate heat.
  • Dryads: A race that originally bound themselves to trees, moving to statues placed on ley lines to avoid extinction due to deforestation. Despite this they have been rare since before the Turn.
  • Nymphs: A race originally thought to have died out during the Industrial Revolution, they have trouble breathing even with today's less polluted air. They have the approximate strength and speed of a living vampire and have a great deal of control over air.

Derived from humans

Vampires

Vampires in this series are similar to common portrayals of vampires, with some exceptions. Their saliva contains drugs that make the pain of a vampire's bite feel like pleasure, similar to the vampires of the Red Court in Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files. Vampires can also sensitize their victim's bite so that only that vampire can affect the victim, leaving the victim mentally bound to that vampire. There are two kinds of vampires, living and undead.

Living vampires are normal humans infected with the vampire virus. They are divided into two groups: high- and low-blood. Low-blood vampires are normal humans that have been infected by the bite of an undead vampire, and have only a small amount of the benefits the virus grants, such as increased strength and speed, as well as the craving for blood. When low-blood vampires die, be it of natural causes or otherwise, they simply die like any other humans, unless an undead vampire is there at their moments of death to bring them back as undead by giving its blood. Unlike traditional vampires, low-blood vampires don't have fangs and aren't pale.

High-blood vampires are vampires who were born already infected by the virus, which has influenced their development in the womb. They have increased strength and speed, more so than low-blood vampires, but not as much as the undead; they do however have some abilities that the other kinds don't: living high-blood vampires are empathic and can "pull an aura" to influence, intimidate, or control others. They have sharper and slightly longer canine teeth than humans or low-blood vampires. They also have a greater craving for blood than low-blood vampires, but it is not essential to their existence. When high-blood vampires die, no matter the cause, they rise again as undead the next sundown. Their appearance as undead is more like traditional literary vampires such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, so they then have longer fangs and paler skin.

When vampires become undead, they gain the full physical benefits of the vampire virus, but lose their souls and their ability to keep their aura in the process. They now have the ability to turn humans into vampires and bespell even unwilling hosts. Vampire society is regulated by master vampires, usually in control of the underworld in larger cities. Master vampires have a coterie called a camarilla, to which their followers and families belong, with a complex social hierarchy in which everyone is subordinate to someone else except master vampires, who are the kingpins of the vampire society. Vampires outside of a camarilla often look to become part of one, as a camarilla serves as a support group for the lifestyle demanded by vampires.

As for weaknesses, while low- and high-blood living vampires are immune to sunlight or holy items, they can be killed in any normal way: weapons, diseases, poisons, age, and so on. On the other hand, undead vampires have all the traditional vampire weakness: stakes, sunlight, holy items, silver, fire, and decapitation. However, in the Hollows series there is one original weakness: sharing the blood of another undead vampire will result in death.

Weres

Weres are lycanthropes with bestial attributes who are otherwise human in appearance. According to legend, the origin of the Weres lies in a demon's curse upon a group of humans. The demon used a spell to turn into a wolf, then proceeded to have intercourse with them, and werewolves were the result.

The common presentation of Weres in the novels thus far is that of a traditional werewolf although werefoxes have appeared. Reportedly, the main difference between werewolves and werefoxes is werefoxes can control the size they turn, while werewolves' sizes are converted over from their human weight and relative size. Also, werefoxes are descended from elves rather than humans, which may explain their size-changing ability.

In society, Weres live and operate much as natural wolves do: they form packs with alpha pairs, betas, etc., and there are also loners as well. It is not uncommon for them to date outside their species early in life.

There is no "werewolf curse" as presented in other lycanthrope stories. Instead, Weres must rely upon breeding to increase their numbers, unless under an external influence. In the series, legends tell of a demonic device which allows Weres to turn a human by bite. The story tells that this device, called the "Focus", once used to play a major role in their political structure, revolving around who controlled it. The legend stated that over five thousand years ago, the focus-empowered Weres planned to convert humanity by force. However, the witches crossed over to reality from the Ever-after around that time; driven by self-preservation, the vampires, humans, and witches banded together to remove the Focus and its influence from the Weres' possession. It was said to have been destroyed, but was only kept in hiding. The Focus plays a role in the middle books of the series.

Unlike vampires, Weres can enter holy ground but choose not to because of their beliefs. They are apparently vulnerable to silver.

Ghosts and spirits

The existence of ghosts and spirits is made plain by references to fears by characters. Ghosts are disembodied souls that are in limbo have not "moved on" according to the series mythos. Ghosts can also be created by the desecration of a tombstone. One character is a ghost but is later given corporeal form.

Gods and goddesses

Although many claim none exist, religious artifacts have a great deal of power and several characters of note are religious. It is suggested that it was not unusual for Inderlanders to convince humans to worship them. The Trickster Goddess, the Goddess of Wild Magic, is one who appears in the story. Her Laughter or Her gaze often accompanies Wild Magic. Many wielders often feel that promises of moral behavior to the Goddess allow them skill in wielding wild magic.

Magic

There are four known branches of magic in the novels, earth magic, ley line magic, demonic magic, and wild magic. All magic draws its power from ley lines, sources of energy that are scattered across the surface of the world. A magic user is labeled as either white or black, depending upon how the magic affects his or her soul. White magic is not damaging to the practitioner's soul, while black magic is. The stain upon the magic user's aura (energy emanated from the soul and that which protects one's soul) depends on how much the magic distorts the natural and causes an imbalance. The stain or smut, named because it appears as a black layer covering the aura, can be fostered off onto another but cannot be destroyed.

Earth magic

Earth magic filters ley line energy through plants and animals and, although slower than ley line magic, is just as powerful. It is associated with living things, potions, amulets, and charms. Spells can sometimes be stored and called upon later. Earth magic can actually alter one's physical appearance or shape. The effects are permanent unless doused in saltwater. Earth magic tends to be associated with white magic users since it is more difficult to gain access to the materials necessary for black earth magic. Black earth magic involves the sacrifice of animals and, in some cases, humans or Inderlanders.

Ley line magic

Ley line magic has less permanence than earth magic, but is much faster and more easily adaptable. Power can be drawn directly from a ley line or through an animal familiar. The energy is either channeled using a focus object or what is referred to as "wild magic" in which the power is imprecisely directed by the magic user that drew on the line. Ley line magic can only alter perception and not physical form like earth magic.

Demonic magic

Demonic magic combines ley line magic and earth magic to create something very fast, very powerful, and everlasting. As its name implies, demonic magic is practiced almost entirely by demons. Demons also use familiars, but instead of animals, they use sentient species such as witches, elves, and humans. This type of magic is extremely powerful and can be used to change one's species and cause huge amounts of damage. For example, a demonic curse can allow a being to "Were" (change into an animal), retain cognition of the original being, yet continue its life as the animal who can even have offspring. Because of the perversion of the laws of physics that demon magic embodies, the cost of this type of magic is extremely high, so much so that demons try to foster off the cost onto their familiars or other willing parties. Witches with the gene to wield demonic magic were cursed long ago by the elves so that any witch with the genetic mutation usually dies before his or her first birthday from Rosewood Syndrome. Only two witches have been seen to practice demon magic: Stanley Saladan and Rachel Morgan. It is later revealed that Rachel Morgan and Stanley Saladan, while the children of witches, are genetic demons.

Wild magic

Wild magic, also known as Elven or Celtic magic, incorporates a religious system grounded in nature and practiced by Elves. Wild magic is powerful but unpredicatable, almost alive at times. It will do the task it is meant to do, but the how is unpredicatble and dependant upon the Trickster Goddess. Wild magic uses singing when cast, often accumpanied by the Goddess's laughter.

References

de:Kim Harrison#Rachel_Morgan_Serie_/_The_Hollows
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