Welcome to this week’s“meeting” of the Preternatura Book Club! A few weeks ago, commenters voted on which novel they’d like to tackle first, and the winner by a landslide was Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking, the first in her Hollows series featuring witch Rachel Morgan.
Here’s how it works. Each week, I’ll post a summary (spoiler alert!) on two chapters, and we’ll chat about them. Try to minimize spoilers beyond what’s happened in the book we’ve read so far. You can read along, read ahead, or just stop by and read the summaries. After the Book Club has been up a few days, I’ll move it to archives so you can still come back and read. There’s a “Book Club” tab above. So, let’s get started!
DEAD WITCH WALKING, CHAPTERS 15 and 16
When we last left off, Rachel and Jenks had been allowed to go home after a disastrous meeting with Trent Kalamack—his people caught Jenks and he knew who Rachel was and everything she’d done since leaving the I.S.
When Chapter 15 begins, Rachel is trying to make pizza for her and Ivy’s dinner, and she’s frustrated. Ivy still creeps her out, and she’s jumpy both over the vampire and Trent. She’s also annoyed that Ivy has a real paying run to plan, while all Rachel can do is fight for her life. We learn that Ivy is a serious planner—she’s got a map and markers and is planning her run to the Nth degree, while Rachel’s more seat-of-her-pants. Rachel’s trying to figure out what Ivy will let her put on the pizza, and decides cashews are probably out.
Ivy points out that the fact Trent offered her a job means he considers her a threat—something that hadn’t occurred to Rachel. Rachel reveals her plan to go back to Trent’s the next night as a mink and look at/abscond with some of the disks she thinks will prove he’s dealing biodrugs. Ivy wants her to wait till she can plan it out better—she doesn’t think it likely that Trent, a well-known philanthropist, would be involved in the biodrug trade. Trent doesn’t need the money. We also learn what happened to Francis and his car—Rachel left him in the mall parking lot with the trunk open. She also tore up the car. Rachel and Ivy speculate on what type of Inderlander Trent might be.
We have a tense scene between Rachel and Ivy. Rachel’s still afraid of her, and her constant watching is pissing Ivy off. Jenks breaks the tension briefly when he flies in from the garden with a mushroom to add to the pizza. He’s still angry that he got caught by Trent’s faux-gardener, and apologizes to Rachel for not protecting her. Then Jenks and Ivy get into a tiff. Everyone’s tense.
Later that night (or, rather, early in the morning), Rachel awakens with Ivy bending over her. She thinks Ivy’s going to bite her, and begins fighting. Finally, Ivy makes her understand the church is under attack from fairies, who don’t recognize sacred ground. Rachel isn’t sure she could kill a fairy—she’s never killed anything before. Ivy and Rachel hide in the bedroom, while the pixies fight the fairies—something Rachel isn’t comfortable with. “He was trained in backup, not guerilla warfare,” she thinks. Rachel tries to apologize to Ivy for thinking she was attacking her, but Ivy’s not buying it.
They realize that Rachel’s hijacking of Francis has stepped up Denon and the IS’s urgency to kill her. Finally, after much crashing and breaking of glass, things grow quiet. They go to the kitchen to find Jenks comes with a tiny sword, sounding drunk and spouting poetry. His wing is torn, and his face is bloody and battered. All the lights in the kitchen are broken except the small stove light, and Rachel saves Mr. Fish, who’s floundering in the sink.
We get our first look at Mrs. Jenks, as she flits in to treat his wounds. It’s obvious this is something she’s done often enough, and Rachel realizes that Jenks isn’t just backup. He killed two fairies and actually IS trained as a fighter. She assures Jenks’ wife that she was serious about him being a full partner.
Rachel’s foot is bleeding from the broken glass, and she and Ivy have another little talk and clear the air about what each is doing to set the other off. Finally, Ivy admits Rachel needs to follow through with her plan to break back into Trent Kalamack’s estate. “If you don’t get this done quickly,” Ivy tells her, “you won’t last another week.”
LET’S CHAT! Don’t you love Jenks even more now that we know he’s a fierce little pixy warrior? What do you think of Mrs. Jenks? I love it that she’s down-to-earth but also very protective of him. How about the Rachel/Ivy relationship?