Author: Kim Harrison
Publication Date: 2/21/12
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Blurb(GR): Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth--a would-be creator is determined to make his (or her) own demons. But it can't be done without Rachel's blood, in this latest blockbuster by a "New York Times"-bestselling author.
You know when that sitcom that you’ve been religiously watching for years and years starts advertising its 100th or 200th episode? The hype is heavy and the ads are everywhere, all assuring you that this will be a very special event, not to be missed. You set aside all other plans that night to watch it live, because you can’t even bear to wait for the DVR to finish recording so you can screen the commercials. You sit down with a bowl of Smartfood and a Diet Coke, feeling excited. And then, as the credits end and the show opens… you realize something.
IT’S A CLIP SHOW.
That’s exactly how I feel right now about this book. After the amazing ride that Pale Demon was (literally and figuratively!) I was so excited for this to come out. This is the first urban fantasy series I ever read, and it will always have a very special place in my heart. I’m not sure that I can even be completely objective about it anymore; I love it that much. The characters that live in these books are some of my all-time favorites and at this point, they feel like old friends.
But, I am very sad to say that this one was a disappointment for me. There’s a lot of recap, a lot of filler. And after nine books I have to say that I really resent having to read through yet another description of Rachel’s kitchen or her splat gun. I don’t need recap about Kisten’s fate (why is she thinking about him so much all of a sudden, anyway?), or Matalina’s, or Ivy’s past. I don't need to hear about what happened at the turn, or why it's so amazing that Glenn will eat tomatoes. I don’t need a new character who seems to serve no purpose. And I definitely don’t need glacial scenes where the characters sit around playing pool or meet up for game night and pizza.
It’s a transition book, very much about Rachel’s soul-searching and coming to terms with her Demon identity. And let me tell you a little something about Rachel: she’s one of the most in-denial characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time with. At the end of Pale Demon, Rachel is given a charmed bracelet: one that will allow her to live without magic, to forget her identity and just be “normal.” When I got to that ending I chuckled, thinking: we’ll just see how long it takes her to remove that bracelet! I bet it’s a matter of pages!! Well, it turns out the joke is on me, because she spends almost 70% of this book with it on! And that means that ass-kicking, rushing headlong into danger, super magic wielding Rachel is effectively gone for 70% of this book. And even when she takes it off, the badass Rachel that I know seems to have gone MIA. I never thought I’d see the day when Rachel needed to be saved from a human by that little cookie-maker Trent.
Rachel is in denial. She’s a whiner. She feels guilty about anything and everything. She makes mistakes and she tends to misjudge those who want to help her. BUT, don’t shut the book on her just yet because here’s what makes her such a blast to be around: her friends. Through their eyes, we see her good qualities: loyalty, bravery, dedication, honesty. Unfortunately, all of the characters that I know and love seem to have taken a back seat in this installment (including Rachel herself!).
So much of my enjoyment in this series comes from Jenks teasing Rachel about her love life, or Al needling her deviously about her powers, or Trent bickering with her like a child, or Ivy weathering her indecisiveness with a steadiness that can only come from real commitment. What makes these books so special is how these wonderful characters interact as a family, something that I felt was largely missing from this installment.
However, I’m definitely not giving up on this series. Thanks to the wonderful Q&A page that Ms. Harrison kindly participates in with the release of each and every one of these books, I’ve learned that the next book will be called Ever After! And will take place almost completely in the…EVER AFTER. With AL. And the demons. I can’t wait!
Perfect Musical Pairing:
Otis Redding - I've Been Lovin' You Too Long
But I'm only a simple book nerd blogger. And if I can't discuss the minutiae of a fictional character's relationships on the internet then why am I even here? I ask you. Therefore I spent the better part of last night compiling scientific data (read: youtube fantasy casting videos and endless pages of Hollows quotes) to give you a ranking of Rachel's love interests. My life is so hard.
And Now to Speculate Wildly About Rachel's Love Life
“A compassion swirled from nowhere in the high I was lost in. She needed me. She needed me to accept her for what she was. And when I realized that I had it within myself to give her at least this small part of me, the last of my fear melted away.”
It’s completely obvious that these two love each other but Rachel seems pretty certain now that they won’t ever be together…even as she’s ogling Ivy practically every time she enters a room. Hey Rache… not everything can be blamed on vampire pheromones you know... plus apparently Demons can’t be bound to vampires so that whole “balance of power” excuse is out now. Think about it.
Okay, so this is just what I wish would happen. I personally don't think that these two will end up together because of....
“Come work for me, and I’ll tell you."
My eyes went to his. “You are a thief, a cheat, a murderer, and a not-nice man,” I said calmly. “I don’t like you.”
To all the fans out there who've been wanting a Trent and Rachel union for years, who have been tirelessly trying to convince the rest of us that it would be a good idea: this is your time to gloat. I think this thing is really happening. There's even a goodreads thread dedicated to discussing it.
Okay, so if I squint and look it this relationship sideways, I can see that these two have a lot of connection. Plus... I hear that if Rachel restores Trent's fingers with a demon curse... he will also get back his POINTY EARS. I definitely have to see that.
“I'm only going to be here for a time, then leave you." His gaze met mine. "And I will cry when I go, because I could love you forever.”
About a third of the way through this book, Pierce is mentioned for the first time… and I thought, Pierce who? That’s right, I’d completely forgotten about this used-to-be-a-ghost, reincarnated, demon hunter guy. And I think Rachel has too. He’s apparently in the ever after with Newt so maybe we’ll see him in book eleven, but I think his chances with dear Rache are slim.
“What are you doing in Nicky's room, Rachel? Oooh! He summoned you to the west coast, didn't he? Did you kill him? Good for you taking care of that little problem. I should give you a bunny!"
Now this? I would love to see. They’ve already shared a kiss or two (although… not exactly romantic ones…) and Kim Harrison let this little tidbit go on the spoilers page:
“Rachel’s love life is always fun to watch. I hope to see demon love, yes. I do know Al’s wife’s name now. Poor guy.”
Al’s WIFE? Wow. I can’t wait to see what that’s all about. Sadly, I do not think we will see Big Al and his Itchy Witch as a couple.
“Sure, he had a wife and fifty-four kids, but he looked like a college freshman. A yummy college freshman majoring in Oh-my-god-I-gotta-get-me-some-of that.”
Okay, so really there’s not a chance in hell that this would happen. But come on… admit it. In A Fistful of Charms, when he was big…you thought about it at least once, didn't you? And when Rachel got small in Black Magic Sanction… go on, admit it.
“'And what’s important to you?'” I asked. Marshal thought while we maneuvered around Darth Vader, who was struggling to keep from hitting the wall with his helmet blocking his vision. 'Success at work. Having fun doing it. Caring for someone and supporting their interests because you like to see them happy. Having them care about and support yours simply because they want to see you happy.'”
Oh Marshall. You’re such a boring, boring man. And the way you didn’t stand up for Rachel when she was shunned? Pah. You’re basically dead to me now.
“You had this all planned, didn’t you?' I accused. 'Thought you could come in here and seduce me like you do everyone else?' It wasn’t as if I could be angry, lying atop him as I was, but I tried.”
Now, before you tell me that I'm crazy for including this one, just listen: this is the woman who brought a ghost back from the dead. This is the woman who turned a violent serial killer into a sympathetic character who’s #4 on my love interest list. This is the woman who turned Rachel into her worst nightmare, then made her accept it! ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN.
“A witch, a vampire, and a pixy walk into a bar, I thought as I led the way into the Squirrel’s End. It was early, and the sun had yet to set when the door swung shut behind Jenks, sealing us in the warm air smelling faintly of smoke. Immediately Nick yanked it open to come in behind us. And there’s the punch line.”
He's not dead... yet. And apparently he's coming back. Honestly, what is it going to take to get rid of this man? He's like some sort of icky virus. Rachel, if you end up with Nick, I swear on all that I hold dear that demon powers or no, I will Thursday Next my way into the Hollows world and kick your ass.