Pale Demon (Rachel Morgan The Hollows #9) by Kim Harrison
February 22, 2011
Hardcover, 448 Pages
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “The world had turned its back on me. I should turn my back on it”
Rachel Morgan has been officially shunned and accused of black magic. She has three days to get to get to California in order to appear before the Witches Convention to clear her name. If she is found guilty she either has to go to the ever after for good or be put to death. As part of her shunning, she isn’t allow to fly. So when Trent Kalamack approaches Rachel asking for her help with a mission of his own in California; Rachel and the rest of the gang get ready for a road trip. But this trip isn’t going to be the piece of cake Rachel thought. From kidnapping pixies to soul devouring demons, Rachel will have to use everything she has to stay one step ahead in this game-even if it means dying.
** I make reference to the previous book Black Magic Sanction in here so there are some very minor spoilers**
Pale Demon, the 9th installment of Kim Harrison’s Hollow series is a crazy, action packed, convoluted ride that answers some pretty important questions but asks even more to assure us that this is not the last we will see of Rachel and the gang. For that I say YEA!!
We pick up right after Black Magic Sanction ends. At the end of Black Magic Sanction Rachel, with Trent’s help, makes a deal with the head of the Witches coven to allow her to present her case before the annual Witches Convention in San Francisco or she will go public with some VERY sensitive and world impacting information. Yet, for all the posturing Rachel did, all of us knew that the head of the coven wasn’t going to make this easy for Rachel. They don’t want her shunning revoked. To do so would admit they were wrong. Hence to “no fly” rule. This gives Rachel only 3 days to get cross country. When Trent approaches her for bodyguard protection, Rachel instantly thinks something is up. And she’s right. Quen can’t go with Trent on his mission. And Trent has to do this mission. The reasons and results are quite shocking.
After only a few hours in the car with Trent, Rachael realizes why Quen is always with Trent. He is a walking magnet for trouble. Most of it his own making. In fact, 98% of the trouble that Rachel deals with in this book is caused by Trent. As much as I love him, I’d have hog tied him and tossed him in the trunk till I hit Cali. But Rachel, with help from some unlikely allies, manages to hold her own as she runs the gauntlet on her way to California.
I love Rachel. She is the best of unlikely heroines. Just wanting to be left alone in her church, she inadvertently manages to involve herself in all sorts of trouble as she fights for the underdog. Gloriously flawed, at times I’m irritate with her, yet I can’t help but admire the way she sticks to her convictions. She may mess up a lot, but they are her own mistakes and she owns them. Her loyalties are unwavering and she would give her life for her friends. She believes in the best of herself and holds everyone else to those same high standards. Unfortunately, not everyone else lives by her moral code so she is unpleasantly surprised a lot by the betrayal she is constantly a victim of. Even at the end, she rises above her own anger and need for revenge to do what needs to be done.
We see many old faces in this installment. Trent, the “little cookie maker” that he is, is in here and is a devious and closed mouth as ever. We do see some interesting developments that bear watching in the future.
Al, Rachel’s demon teacher, is here as well. He truly makes me laugh in his attempts to exploit yet care for Rachel. In his own way he loves her and I am very curious to see where he goes in future installments. Of course, Ivy and Jenks are along for the ride. They don’t get as much time with them as normal-most of the storyline focuses on Rachael-so they are indeed regulated to secondary characters this time around.
We meet some new faces and we get new and fabulous information to some characters that had been standing patiently in the background. BIZ!!!! That is all.
I know many, myself included, are interested in the romance angle. After Kristen died *SOB* we were all as lost in grief as Rachel. I’m not going to spoil here (did you really think I would TELL you?) but I will say that the doors opening for Rachel bear watching.
I have to say I like our antagonist. A villain that makes you laugh and cringe as you follow his reign of terror. A new face that had to show itself. Their appearance adds a new layer to the arc and ends up changing everyone’s lives.
Only two small problems I had. One is Rachel’s immaturity. Most of which is actually based on her moral code I spoke of earlier. I find that while I enjoy her innate goodness, I really feel she needs to grow up a little and take more control of her destiny. We do see a beginning to this in here and for one I am glad. I just wish it would have happened a little sooner in the series. Trent makes mention in Black Magic Sanction of some serious fall out that she had no idea of that he and David (her werewolf friend) has been handling. I felt in a way that she should know about this or at least have some sense that things don’t just “go away” after she’s done her part. But on the other hand, so many of her friends “protect her” that it’s a hinders her more then anything.
I also felt that the road trip, which last about half the book, slowed things down a little. Of course, once you reach the last half, you really don’t care. It’s just that good.
All in all Pale Demon BRINGS IT this time around with plenty of small and large sub plots that will have you thinking and ruminating for a long time. Action, suspense, tension, and some misdirection that will have you biting your nails and speed reading to see what happens next. Rachel experiences some major life altering changes and where this will go from here is anyone’s guess. But I can guarantee you won’t want to miss this ride for anything.
Pale Demon releases February 22 so mark the date and be there to pick up your copy.