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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Review: Pale Demon (The Hollows / Rachel Morgan Book 9) by Kim Harrison


The past couple of books in The Hollows series have been 8's and 9's for me, while I've kept the series at a 10 of 10. It's a great series, one of my favorites, and I've enjoyed the past couple of books, but they haven't been humdingers. I am thrilled to say that Pale Demon is one of the better books of the series, and I will go so far as to say it's a humdinger. 

I don't see an official blurb yet, though you can read the first chapter here.

We learn in the first chapter that Trent wants Rachel to drive cross country with not a whole lot of time to get there. And Ms. Harrison kind of hints that this is going to happen when she talks about Rachel, Jenks, Ivy, and Trent getting in a Buick and heading west. So you've got a decent idea that this is going to be a traveling book.  This is no Smoky and the Bandit though, as the people who are after them are not the bumbling idiots that Buford T. Justice and Junior were.

There were some things that I wanted to see in Black Magic Sanction that I was disappointed to not see, and those things are, for the most part, in Pale Demon. I pretty much knew what was going to happen in Black Magic Sanction before I read the book. Maybe not the details, but the general outline. The same cannot be said for Pale Demon. Things came out of left field and bopped me upside the head. Good things -- I like the direction the series continues to go. And I love the metaphysics of this world. 

I'm just a little bit tired after finishing the book. It reads like an adventure flick, with lots of fights and explosions and car chases and buildings falling down... and, oh yeah, a pale demon who creates a whole lot of havoc.

We see Rachel, Ivy, and Jenks - of course. We also see a whole lot of Trent, a little bit of Quen,  and everyone in the Coven (some more than others). Pierce and Al get a decent amount of time. Newt, Dali, Bis, and Belle also make appearances. And there is a new character who promises to be of major importance in future books. Someone who, I think, changes everything going forward. Okay, not everything... but a lot.

As for the writing elements:
  • There are two main plots and at least three subplots, and a couple of dozen other threads that have carried forward from previous books. They all weave in and out of each other and work together beautifully. All of the plots are good, and I believe we had more closure at the end of Pale Demon than I've seen in a while. There are still things to do, questions to be answered, things to look forward to... but I was very happy with the ending. 
  • Pacing was frantic. Very frantic. In a good way. Not all authors can get away with this kind of pacing. but Ms. Harrison makes it work.
  • Prose and dialogue were beautiful where needed, ugly where needed. Also painful, sad, happy... you get the idea. Kim Harrison brings her world and characters to life in a way that only a truly skilled author can manage.
  • Character development is fully developed for a large number of characters in this series. I love that Ms. Harrison can make us hate a character and then three books later show us that they aren't quite as evil as we'd originally thought, and two books later have us rooting for them. She brings perspective and "shades of grey" into play in a way that really makes one think. Remember when Al was the main villain of the series? Remember when Trent was the bad guy?
  • World-building is so well done that the world is almost another character in the books of this series. During the events of Pale Demon we learn more about the history of this world, and a whole lot more about the magics possible in this world. There is more to learn in future books, and I can't wait for more of the puzzle pieces to fall into place.
As I said in the first paragraph, Pale Demon is the best book in this series in a while.  I can easily give Pale Demon a 10 of 10, and of course the series is going to remain at a 10 of 10.
  • Book Rating: Pale Demon: 10 of 10
  • Series Rating: 10 of 10

1. Dead Witch Walking (April 2004)
2. The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (January 2005)
2.5 Undead in The Garden of Good and Evil (in the anthology Dates From Hell)
3. Every Which Way But Dead (June 2005)
4. A Fistful of Charms (June 2006)
4.5 Dirty Magic (in the anthology Hotter Than Hell)
5. For a Few Demons More (March 2007)
5.3 The Bridges of Eden Park (short story in the paperbook edition of For a Few Demons More)
5.7 Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel (in the anthology Holidays are Hell)
6. The Outlaw Demon Wails (February 2008)
6.5 The Bespelled (short story in the paperback edition of The Outlaw Demon Wails)
7. White Witch, Black Curse (February 2009)
7.5 Ley Line Drifter (in the anthology Unbound)
8. Black Magic Sanction (April 2010)
9. Pale Demon (February 2011)


1 comment:

  1. Dang! I'm so jealous. I really need to work on a source for ARCs. I've got the release on this on marked on my day-timer and google calendar, both.