Kim Harrison is a writer with a lot of imagination and a lot of personality. Her world and her characters are very original. Where she stumbles is in her actual writing.
Not only are there tons
of typos in this book - spelling errors, grammar errors, etc ("it was a mute point"?! "she had to access the situation"?) - but her actual writing leaves a little something to be desired.
I have struggled with this series, finding it boring at times and hard to follow. I finally came to the conclusion that the problem is that I don't understand the world that Harrison has created. She is so imaginative and has built a universe really rich in fantasy, but she has failed to make the rules of that universe clear. I do not understand her vampire society, I don't understand her werewolf hierarchy; it's all very confusing. Which makes the interactions and relationships between Rachel and the other characters (particularly Ivy) really hard to understand.
*Potential spoilers ahead* - I will try to keep them very mild so you'll probably be okay, but added a warning just in case.
Basic plot of A Fistful of Charms: Rachel discovers that her old boyfriend Nick, who disappeared at the end of the second book (I think; I don't remember exactly) has taken off to Michigan and gotten into a lot of trouble after stealing a priceless werewolf artifact, taking Jenks's son Jax with him. Rachel and and a human sized Jenks go to Michigan on a rescue mission; but is Rachel going to help Jenks save his son, or is this about her unresolved feelings for her ex-boyfriend? (Hint: it's B.)
What's good: The book is at its most honest and heartfelt when it deals with the unresolved issues between Rachel and Nick. Unfortunately this gets "resolved" pretty quickly, and it was a little convenient.
About halfway through, Ivy shows up for some unexplained reason (or maybe it was explained, but was pretty flimsy), and there are some really great scenes between her and Rachel. (I think this is probably what the book is actually
The magic. This is where Harrison's imagination really shines through; when Rachel is performing spells, it's always fun to read.
Also, full sized Jenks is a lot of fun - though another reviewer complained about Rachel's constant ogling, and I have to agree.
What's bad: Some of the action in the book, particularly at the end, is pretty good. But there are several chapters where Rachel has to scuba dive to this island full of werewolves to rescue Nick, and that whole thing is BORING. It actually put me to sleep a couple times, and I don't think I'm the only one who struggled with it. I finally had to just skim until they got off or I never would have made it through.
My confusion about the structure of the vampire and werewolf societies made a lot of the plot of this book hard to follow. There are three werewolf packs on this island but they're all united under one alpha but only sort of and they're more aggressive because they want this statue... it was confusing. And what was the big deal about the statue? It might start a war? I'm a pretty smart girl, but I didn't get it. I basically came away with "it's valuable and dangerous". And they're willing to kill Rachel over it. I guess that's all I really needed to know, but it was all screwy and confusing.
Also still confused about the whole Ivy/Rachel/Kisten dynamic. And Kisten was missing from a lot of the book. He was at the beginning and the very end, but through the meat of the book he was just mentioned a lot because they seemed to be using all his stuff. Most of the time, though, Rachel didn't even think about him which was disappointing. Kisten is the best part of the seres, IMO!
I will doggedly continue to read this series. It somehow is able to keep me just barely
interested enough to carry on, but there are a lot of things that confuse me and bother me about this series and try as I might, I don't think I'll ever understand why so many people love this series so much. Which is nothing against the fans; I'm kind of jealous, in fact. I want to love these books. They're just not really for me, I guess.