Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond
By Kim Harrison
ISBN# 9780061974328
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

Into the Woods is a compilation of short stories by Kim Harrison put together into one convenient volume.  I went into this book thinking they were all new stories, but quickly discovered that I have read several of them in other publications.  But for the Hollows fan, this book may be a perfect addition to their collection, especially if they like the short stories and want to have quick easy access to the majority of Hollows shorts.

The Hollows Shorts:

There were several Hollows shorts that I had previously read in Harrison’s other anthologies, such as Ley Line Drifter and the Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil.  But there were several that I had  missed, reading editions of the full-length novels that didn’t include them (but were included in other editions of the same book), such as The Bespelled and The Bridges of Eden Park, which were actually a couple of my favorites in this book.

I really enjoyed getting closer looks at some of the Hollows characters.  I really enjoyed The Bespelled which let us into Al’s world a little more and showed us how Ceri came about being his familiar.  It also clued us in about the blue butterflies and were his crushed green velvet ensemble originated from and why.  This was a pretty short story being about 16 pages long, but it was definitely worth the time to read!

Another one that really struck me was The Bridges of Eden Park.  I was a huge Kisten fan and was devastated with his death, so I was elated to get to read one last story with him in it.  It was also nice to see that Harrison misses him just as much as me!

When I was reading Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel, I had this nagging sensation of déjà vu.  I kept thinking I had read it before, but couldn’t find it listed in any of the anthologies I had read.  So I continued reading it to discover that I hadn’t read it previously, but that the events within the story had been broached so much in the full-length novels that I felt like I had read this story before.  But Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel delves deeper than what the books did and I’m glad I continued reading it.  I enjoy Pierce so it was fun seeing exactly what the two of them did the night Rachel brought him back from purgatory.

“I’d give anything if you’d kiss me.” I said. “I mean,” I said when he tilted his head to look at me, his eyes wide in shock, “I’ve kissed guys before. It’s like a handshake these days,” I lied, just wanting to know what his lips on mind would feel like. “Almost required if you’re leaving.”

I was excited to see Million Dollar Baby included in this book, as I wanted to see a story from Trent’s point of view and we all wanted to know more about the events during his elf quest!  But sadly I was a little disappointed in it.  It felt weird for Jenks to be Trent’s backup and it just felt like they just didn’t belong together.  And, Trent’s bike ride and getting through the tunnels to get to Lucy got a little boring.

Beyond the Hollows:

The only story in the non-Hollows shorts that I read previously was Pet Shop Boys.  I really liked the main character, Cooper, but found the story as a whole to be a little too out there for me.

In this collection of short stories I realized that Harrison obviously has a thing for dryads (I would be shocked if she didn’t include them in her next series) as three of the stories in this book included them, Ley Line Drifter (from the Hollows section), Temson Estates, and my favorite of the dryads stories and the one I most hope she continues as a series, Spider Silk.

I can see there being a very interesting series to come out of Spider Silk.  There is a lot of material to make a questionable romance between Penn and Meg.  Could she be the one he truly loves or is she just another victim?

Grace was also interesting although it took me awhile to truly get into and understand what was going on.  I could also see this as a series, if done properly.  There is definitely a spark between former lovers Grace and Jason that you know are inching their way back to each other.  And, there is a lot of potential to add more supernatural aspects as time goes on, with their Men In Black kind of jobs.

Overall, I did like getting a glimpse at Harrison’s non-Hollows shorts, it gives us a glimpse of what we can expect once Rachel’s life is all wrapped up and the series is put to bed, so to speak.  I look forward to seeing which route Kim ends up choosing to go next!