Into the Woods is a collection of short stories created by Kim Harrison. The book is broken into two sections The Hallows and non Hallows. The majority of Hallows stories can be found in anthologies Kim Harrison has participated in over the years. Each story has an opening explanation, telling the reader where Kim Harrison was coming from when she sat down to write. Some of the stories came about because she was asked to write a story for an anthology while others she wanted to delve deeper into a characters psyche. There are others when she wanted something new to wrap her head around.
As an avid reader of KH I had read all but two of the short stories from the Hallows. Why? Because Into the Woods is the first book where they’ve been showcased, that’s right three new stories. “The Bespelled,” is a story about Al and Ceri, and how they came to be. This is the story that tells us about the blue “butterflies” from WWBC (White Witch Black Curse), the ones Al creates while he’s downtown with Rachel, Pierce and Green when they’re trying to capture Mia, the banshee. Not only do we find out what those are all about but we see a possible heart in Al. Remember I said “possible”. The short story “The Bespelled” will be featured in Demons a new anthology. One of the other new stories is “Million Dollar Baby,” Trent and Jenks’s adventure. The one they took in Pale Demon, when Trent steals his daughter. It makes me wish we could’ve seen Jenks and Quinn’s adventure back in AFOC (A Fistful of Charms), and AFDM (A Few Demons More). Having a story from Trent’s POV was enlightening, so was seeing how Jenks and Trent start bonding. We’ve always known Trent was a “cookie maker” and we go through the trials of Trent learning to let go of whom he is and whom he wants to be. We also see how Rachel influences his change, so many years after their fathers’ deaths. Trent shows how vulnerable he is and we truly see his change, growing up, in this story. “The Bridges of Eden Park” this is the last new story and it’s the last look into our favorite vampire before he dies. Here we meet Kisten’s family and we see what he’s willing to do for them and Rachel. Kisten’s love, strength and wit are shown within this story, and it makes you miss Kisten all the more. Kisten’s hero side comes to the fore front, as we’ve seen a few times when the people Kisten loves are endanger.
The other Hallows short stories are:
“Leyline Drifter” this is a dryad story where Jenks and Bizz’s work a case. It’s one of the first cases Jenks takes without Rachel or Ivy. It takes place after Matalina dies. The first time we see “Leyline Drifter” is in the anthology Unbound. In this story we meet Daryl, the nymph that lives in Glen’s house.
“Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel” this story comes from the anthology Holidays are Hell. In this story Rachel is young and still living at home with her mom. Here is where Rachel first meets Pierce.
“Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil” comes from the Dates from Hell anthology. Here is where Ivy frames her first boss in the IS to take the fall for something Piscary did. By the end of the story Ivy is saddled up with Rachel as punishment.
“Dirty Magic” is the story of Mia the banshee from White Witch Black Curse, this story can be found in the anthology Hotter than Hell. In this story Mia is “dating” Glen’s friend. We see inside Mia and that she could love someone but that she’d taken the wrong husband from the wish Ivy had given her.
Non Hallows short stories
“Pet Shop Boys” is a type of vampire short story, but one different than KH’s Hallows vamps. These vamps don’t live in the human world all the time. They live in what seems to be a different plane of existence and the two worlds cross for a few days around Halloween. During this time the vamps come thru a gateway so they can obtain food. In this story one of the vamps is looking for a husband and tries to persuade a human to cross over with them. It was an interesting story and idea. I’d love to read more about the characters, the different species and how this world works. It’s a great escape from the Hallows.
“Temson Estates” is another dryad story, it’s the first dryad story KH wrote. I wanted more from this story, or at least the next chapter. We are left with a great end but still it seemed like there needed to be more. Where were the characters going? This story is about family and the history that goes with it. It’s pretty up beat and light hearted than what we’re used to from KH.
“Spider Silk” is a dark dryad story. It reminded me of Puck from A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, but scarier. I’m honestly not sure what to think. The ending is slightly terrifying, even with that said I want to know more. Yes I know I’m morbid. Just when I was really getting into the story and didn’t want to strangle Lilly, the story ended. Now I’m left with questions, and I can’t tell you what those are since this is a short story. I’d love to see KH do three stories from this, one go back from Emily’s POV, finish Lilly’s POV i.e. answer the cliffhanger questions, and last Meg’s POV. There is so much that could come from “Spider Silk” and while I don’t mind being left speechless. I can’t stop thinking about this ending.
“Grace” when I saw the name Grace, I was hoping to find a story about Grace the limerick guardian from Madison Avery. Grace always makes me smile with her mischievous exploits. But this short story is about a different Grace. Coming off of “Spider Silk” this story didn’t capture me for the first chapter. I was thinking about “Spider Silk’s” ending. Also while I like the characters I didn’t ready get what the characters were, at first. I think for this story we need a little more history about the powers some humans possess. My best guess would be tele-electric or telekinetic because they throw energy. I liked the ending it was really solid and while I did want to see where the ending would lead, it didn’t leave me with too many questions. But like I said the beginning needed more.