Kim Harrison Books Are Like Self Torture Devices That Leave You Wanting More

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

I mentioned a while back in my first blog post on this site that I was stuck on the book Pale Demon by Kim Harrison.  Whatever it was about that book, I just couldn’t bring myself to read it.  It was just so slow with nothing happening.  I found myself wishing I was done with it so I could move on.  Even going as far as to swear I would never read another Kim Harrison book ever again.

This past week, I was finally able to sit down and finish the darn thing.  To my surprise, the last quarter of the book totally and completely hooked me and never let go.  I even rescinded my threat to never read any more of her books.  I wanted more!

This made me realize something.  I don’t hate Kim Harrison books.  I hate the middle of Kim Harrison books, and Pale Demon showed this in a starker contrast than any of her other books that I have read.

Kim Harrison books always follow the same pattern.  They begin with a premise and drop a few tidbits to really intrigue you.  You get sucked in.  From there, the story flows into the middle section, where very little happens.  Plot points are few and far between.  Characters move around and interact, but these interactions usually have little consequence to anything grander than the immediate future.  The middle section is just there to shuffle all the characters into their places to prepare them for the conclusion.  It’s there to torture you, and just when you think you can’t take it anymore, the conclusion happens.  And the conclusion is always one major universe altering plot point after another, all in very quick succession.  It’s one big exciting plot explosion of enjoyment that’s there to leave you wanting more.

Pale Demon shows this very well.  It starts where the last book left off, reintroducing the fact the main character has to get to the west coast in time to meet a deadline.  Unexpectedly, she has to bring another unlikely character with her and protect them, and herself, along the way.  From this unexpected twist, we move into the middle section of the book where they drive across the country for two-thirds of the book.  During this drive across the country I can only think of one major plot point that happens (which I won’t go into detail about to avoid spoilers).  All they do is drive!  Once they make it to the west coast plot points happen in quick succession, forever changing the main character’s life in a multitude of ways.  By the end of it all, I was ready and willing to read the next book.

Essentially, for two-thirds of the book, nothing of interest happened.  However, the conclusion to the book was so good (with a cliffhanger nonetheless) that I am seriously thinking of reading the next book in the series soon.  I can’t help but think that this pattern equates to self inflicted torture.  Self inflicted torture that I keep coming back for.

2 thoughts on “Kim Harrison Books Are Like Self Torture Devices That Leave You Wanting More

  1. You summed up Kim Harrison books in a way that I’ve been unable to. I agree with you on every point. When the plot moves along the books are great… otherwise they’re just boring and irritating. By the way, the middle stretch of the next book is even worse.

    If you want a book that’s excellent and fast paced you should read Old Man’s War by John Scalzi.

    • As you both know, I really like Kim Harrison books. I agree that the middle doesn’t have a lot of action. This is where she often develops her characters and their relationships. I enjoy reading that more than you do. I hope you continue to read her.

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