January 23, 2011

Review: Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Pale Demon
Author: Kim Harrison
Publisher: EOS
Series: Rachel Morgan\The Hollows, Book 9
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Pre-Order Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

For more information please visit Kim Harrison's website.

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 passenger 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.


Pale Demon is without a doubt the best book in Kim Harrison's best selling Rachel Morgan series yet! Filled with more action, more chaos and more suspense then ever before this novel is one that will leave you panting for more!

Harrison's world building has always been a huge draw for me when reading this series as Rachel's home town of Cincinnati is wonderfully built and throughout the previous eight novels has been vastly explored. This novel, however, offered up a fresh and interesting change of scenery showing the true extent of what happened to the world post-Turn when all of the supernatural beings decided to make their existence known. The barren landscapes Rachel and her friends travel through in this novel definitely gives a more in depth idea of what exactly happened to the state of the world once all of these so-called monsters decided to jumped out of the closet and into the light of day. I really enjoyed seeing the crumbling remains of the rural world and Harrison's vivid descriptions of these locales  really brought these place into life before my very eyes. Honestly, I think it's this attention to detail that I adore most about this series. But, not only is the depiction of the mortal realm spot on, but Harrison's depiction of the Ever After, the alternate reality where demons roam freely, which is masterfully painted for the reader. Once again, details just bring this alternate world to life and the wonderful atmosphere of foreboding is always present. But, not only is it the locales of this alternate realm that make this such an interesting landscape but the complex society she concocts for the demons themselves. There is a very specific hierarchy and rule system in effect that is interesting and and yet somehow fragile with each action or inaction creating an opportunity to advance within the society or making them easy prey to the whims of others.

Likewise, the characters are explored just as vigorously as the settings. And while this may be the ninth novel in the series, I am still not tired of these characters. I think a lot of this has to do with their constant development. Through every situation they come to find out more about themselves and each other and the bond between them only seems to grow stronger for it. This novel was no different as we tag along on Rachel's trip to self discovery and self acceptance and watch the group as a whole begin to become stronger as individuals. But for me this novel's exploration of trust and family was at the forefront as Rachel is forced to trust in the motivations and plans of two of her most trusted enemies. I know it's a bit of an oxymoron, but that doesn't make it any less true. In fact, I loved the character exploration of these two characters who have been such an integral part of Rachel's life and often her misfortunes. Finally, we come to see some of their motivations and their true feelings about Rachel. These feelings were often a bit surprising and yet somehow they were expected given their tenuous relationship with Rachel.  I don't want to go into much more discussion about this simply because to do so would spoil a lot of what I found enjoyable about this book and what I think other followers of this series will be pleased to read about. Just let it suffice to say while the animosity within some of these relationships will never change, the connotations drastically do.

So, moving right along, the plot of this story is yet again another round of 'Who wants to Kill Rachel?' and really, isn't that way we love her? Her ability to dodge the seemingly endless assasination attempts and the hatred of others? Well, this novel delivers big on that front and from the start this novel starts off with a bang and keeps on running. There is a lot of action going on throughout this road trip from Hell and seemingly endless conflicts keep popping up keeping the reader firmly rooted to their favorite reading chair. The sense of suspense throughout is truly marvelous as Rachel and her friends are thrust from the frying pan into the inferno with layers upon layers of plots overlapping to culminate nicely into yet another stellar ending. This of course left me cursing because of my desire for the next installment, desperate to know Rachel's next move and how the world will inevitably turn against her yet again.

Overall, this was my favorite novel in this series thus far and I can't wait to see what happens next. If you haven't read any of this amazingly addictive series, I highly recommend giving it a try! They're all relatively simple to jump into and I have actually read several of these out of sequence with no ill effects. In fact, my first foray into this world was book 5, The Outlaw Demon Wails, and I have been a fan ever since.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Scars

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