Review: Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Pale Demon

Hollows #9

Written: Kim Harrison [website]

Published: Eos

When: February 22, 2011

ISBN: 0061138061

Obtained ViaNetGalley

Cover Blurb:

Condemned to death for black magic and shunned, Rachel Morgan has three days to somehow get to the annual witches convention in San Francisco and clear her name. If she fails, the only way she can escape death is to live in the demonic ever after . . . for ever after.

Banned from the flight lists, Rachel teams up with elven tycoon Trent Kalamack, headed for the West Coast for his own mysterious business. But Rachel isn’t the only passanger along for the ride. Can a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car survive for over 2,300 miles? And that’s not counting the assassin on their tail.

A fearsome demon walks the sunlight, freed after centuries of torment to slay the innocent and devour souls. But his ultimate prey is Rachel Morgan. While the powerful witch with nerves of steel will do whatever it takes to stay alive, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.

My Review:

I’ve been a fan of The Hollows since I found Dead Witch Walking on a bookstore shelf in Cincinnati shortly after its release and picked it up, delighted that I’d found a story set in my own hometown. I fell in love with Rachel’s fiery temper, Ivy’s stoic vampire glamor, and Jenks’ fierce disrespect for everything. The series has had its ups and downs. When a certain cast member died, my heart broke (we’ve lost two and this statement is equally true for them both). Rachel as a character has a history of bad choices. Some of those have made me furious (namely, Black Magic Sanction), others I’ve been less upset with but they made me wonder if the story was going in the right direction. I’ve remained steadfast, however, picking up every book each year as they are released (shortly before my birthday – the perfect gift!), and I’m thrilled to say that the ride was so definitely worth it.

Pale Demon is the most thrilling book we’ve seen since  A Fistful of Charms — and is also the absolute best in the series. We finally get a full look at life in the ever after! The stakes are the highest they’ve ever been: Rachel stands to lose what little standing she has left in the witch community, her church, her friends, her freedom, her magic, and quite probably her life. She finds a surprising ally in her nemesis, Trent Kalamack — but Trent also makes it clear that he has his own agenda in going to the West Coast. Rachel somehow has to travel by car to California, get her shunning revoked, protect Trent from a gang of elven baddies, and — oh, yeah — defeat a suddenly-released day-walking demon that has every resident of the ever after shaking in their boots.

Yes, we have here the classic story-making trope of taking the crew on that oldie-but-goody “the cross-country road trip”. But there’s nothing old or tired about the story we’re getting. I’d have read this straight through if I could have, and when I finished I wanted to pick it up and read it all over again. I may have gotten an advanced galley from NetGalley but this won’t stop me in the least from making sure the hardcover is pre-ordered so that I can devour it once more on the release date.

Kim Harrison is a master storyteller, one who knows her craft very well. Check out her website sometime, her writing posts are of a phenomenal help to aspiring writers. I have never picked up a book by Kim (or her alter-ego, Dawn Cook) that I haven’t enjoyed tremendously. Her young adult series is also a wonderful tale to read — even for adults.

If you’re not reading this series, then you are simply missing out. Buy it now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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