Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Gallery Books on February 7, 2017
My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison returns to her beloved Hollows series with The Turn, the official prequel to the series that will introduce fans and readers to a whole new side of Rachel Morgan’s world as they’ve never seen it before!
Can science save us when all else fails?
Trisk and her hated rival, Kalamack, have the same goal: save their species from extinction.
Death comes in the guise of hope when a genetically modified tomato created to feed the world combines with the government’s new tactical virus, giving it an unexpected host and a mode of transport. Plague takes the world, giving the paranormal species an uncomfortable choice to stay hidden and allow humanity to die, or to show themselves in a bid to save them.
Under accusations of scientific misconduct, Trisk and Kal flee across a plague torn United States to convince leaders of the major paranormal species to save their supposedly weaker kin, but not everyone thinks humanity should be saved.
Kal surreptitiously works against her as Trisk fights the prejudices of two societies to prove that not only does humanity have something to offer, but that long-accepted beliefs against women, dark magic, and humanity itself can turn to understanding; that when people are at their worst that the best show their true strength, and that love can hold the world together as a new balance is found.
Kim Harrison revisits the much-beloved universe of The Hollows in THE TURN, the prequel to Rachel Morgan and co.’s adventures that’s sure to please long-time fans and newcomers alike. This is the story of how supernatural or Inderland society revealed itself to humanity…and the truth about the infamous tomato that started it all.
Dr. Trisk Cambri, a dark elf and a brilliant geneticist, has been working undercover in a human lab monitoring their scientific progress and keeping a lid on discoveries that could impact Inderland. Her colouring works against her in elven society and her gender (yep, we’re in the 1960’s) is seen as something to be overcome by both Inderlanders and humans alike. Needless to say, she’s got a lot to prove.
But her hard work pays off when she engineers a tomato that could basically end world hunger, on top of assisting a colleague with developing a virus that could be weaponized against the U.S.A.’s enemies. Suddenly, Inderland is very interested in Trisk and representatives from all the major species – weres, witches, vamps, and elves – decide that Trisk’s assurances aren’t enough. They’re sending in someone to double-check her work to ensure its safety and benefit for Inderland society: one Dr. Trenton Kalamack. No, not that Trent Kalamack, this guy goes by Kal. And of course, Kal is Trisk’s biggest rival and he’ll stop at nothing to bring her down, even if it means fabricating problems with her work.
Trisk and Kal narrate the majority of THE TURN and peeking inside their heads is…interesting, to say the least. They’re both totally dedicated and brilliant scientists who’re desperate for recognition, but that’s where the similarities end. While Trisk can be a bit of an ass, she’s not devoid of redeeming qualities the way Kal is. Sure, Kim Harrison tries to make him seem a bit more sympathetic by introducing an adorable pixy as his only friend (Orchid was the true star of the show) but it’s not enough. In the three years I’ve been blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a main character more motivated by self-interest than Kal. The things he does would be unbelievable coming from anyone else, but his colossally stupid decisions actually make a weird kind of sense given his motivations. He makes Trent from the first few books in The Hollows series look like an absolute peach.
Despite how much I enjoyed revisiting the world of the Hollows and diving back into Harrison’s unique brand of humour, I struggled with THE TURN at times. Characters are the most important part of a book for me, so when I’m not really feeling any of the protagonists it can be a bit tricky for me to enjoy a story. That said, it was awesome to sort of “see into the pasts” of some of my favourites from The Hollows, like elven security expert Quen. This one is more for the action lovers out there, and the plot progresses at a breakneck speed once the deadly tomato hits the streets. If you’re looking for a page-turner, you’ll have a lot of fun with this one even if you haven’t read the rest of the books in The Hollows series.
From all my griping it may seem like I didn’t enjoy THE TURN, but that’s not the case. I think my expectations were just a little too high for me to love this the way many other fans of The Hollows seem to. This may be a case of it’s not the book, it’s me. Still, I did enjoy this one and found it satisfying. After all, I’ve been curious about that damn tomato for thirteen books!
If you’re interested in The Hollows but intimidated by such a long series, THE TURN is the perfect way to try out Kim Harrison’s work.