Thursday, January 13, 2011

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

Release date: February 22, 2011

Synopsis (via Goodreads):
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 Thoughts:  I'm a long time fan of Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series.  I think I started reading the series just after the third book came out and I've been continually impressed by the breadth and depth of the world.  Every book expands the mythology a little more and gives Rachel new and exciting bad guys to fight.  Heck, half the time she learns something new about herself and her powers along the way, too.  The point is that I'd been following Kim Harrison's blog as she wrote Pale Demon and at one point she said that it was her favorite book to date.  I've liked to whole damn series so far, so I just kinda nodded along and thought that every writer probably loves the current book they're working on the best.

And then I read the book.

Oh, guys.  It is amazing.  Plunking our heroes down in a car and sending them on this type of EPIC JOURNEY was awesome!  Heck, the road trip itself would have been a sight with Rachel, Trent, Jenks, and Ivy crammed into a car together but when you throw in a bad, bad, bad badbadbad demon who is a little crazed and a lot deadly... well, things go from uncomfortable and strained to downright deadly.  What's not to love with this?  Rachel's trying to get her life back on track and prove she's not a black witch and yet every time she turns around she's being forced to use the demon magic to keep her friends safe.  Trent's keeping secrets (as usual) and he's on this epic quest that he refuses to speak about, Jenks is looking for a purpose since his beloved Matalina's death... everything just comes together so wonderfully in this book.

I freely admit that I have a soft spot for both Trent (drug-lord, murderer, politician) and Al (badass demon who can manipulate like nobody's business, yo!) and I loved how much face time they got.  Trent gets some of his polish stripped off and gains a little humanity.  Al gets to show a slightly softer side.  I loved it!

Speaking of Al, the time spent in the Ever After was fabulous.  Learning about female demons and the things they can do... awesome!

And, oh, the setup for things to come!  Perfect!

Yes, I really, really, really liked this book.  I couldn't put it down.  I literally locked myself in my room at one point and told people to stay away.  I am going to say that reading this book without reading the others is the series would be tragic.  Also, you probably wouldn't understand half the references that get thrown out.  If you've been following this series, jump on this book.  If you haven't started the series yet, what's wrong with you?  This book takes everything that's been building up since book one and smacks you with it.

It's fabulous.

More books by Kim Harrison

Reading challenges: The E-book Challenge, The Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge, The Morbid Romantica Challenge

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for this ARC.


  1. Ok, see, this is why I'm glad I read book reviews! I would NEVER have picked this up based on the cover or premise, but your review makes me curious! Excellent review :)

  2. Great review! I've been a big fan of the Hollows series since about book four. I'm currently rereading the whole series as preparation to Pale Demon. I can't wait for its release!

    I'm jealous you have already read it by the way.

  3. Melissa: The entire series is such a fun romp. Urban Fantasy shenanigans all the way!

    Celine: I thought there was no possible way I'd get approved for an early review. When I got the email I nearly keeled over.

  4. Yeah, I can imagine that. That's so awesome (:

  5. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this book...
    I agree with you, the time that Rachel spent in the ever after was great! I can't wait for more. And I love both Al and Trent so much more after this book (even though I loved them both to begin with).
    Everything was great about this book, right up until the ending. I'm not crazy about the ending. It just didn't feel like "Rachel" there at the end. But, Ms. Harrison has *definitely* made it so that I will be waiting in anticipation all year for the next installment of the series. (As if that wasn't going to happen, anyway...)

  6. I totally agree this book was amazing. I was so very excited to have it. Ms Harrison did not disappoint. I was riveted from beginning to end.