Title: Pale Demon (The Hollows 9)
Author: Kim Harrison
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: HarperVoyager (4th August 2011)
Condemned and shunned for black magic, Rachel Morgan has three days to get to the annual witches’ conference and clear her name, or be trapped in the demonic ever-after. . . forever after.
But a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car going across the country? Talk about a recipe for certain disaster, even without being the targets for assassination.
For after centuries of torment, a fearsome demon walks in the sunlight – freed at last to slay the innocent and devour their souls. But his ultimate goal is Rachel Morgan, and in the fight for survival that follows, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Pale Demon is the ninth book in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series, or the Rachel Morgan series as it is sometimes referred to. It has been an interesting ride getting to this point in the series, but I have really enjoyed the journey. For various reasons real life meant it took a while for me to reach this book in my to-read pile, but I think it was worth the wait.
Pale Demon follows on from the events of Black Magic Sanction, with Rachel coming closer to the meeting that is supposed to end the shunning imposed upon her by the Coven for using black magic. Being shunned is every witches worst nightmare, as it makes it very difficult for them to practise their craft as no-one will sell to them and other witches will avoid them. But Rachel has Ivy and Jenks, her partners, to help balance this out. Still, Rachel is looking forward to when it all ends.
Pale Demon is as much about the journey, as it is the destination; which is a metaphor that carries well to the whole of The Hollows series. This is also literal in Pale Demon as over half the book is about getting to the West Coast and the annual witches conference. Of course, Harrison wouldn’t make it a straight road-trip across country; that would be too easy, and not like Rachel Morgan at all.
The storyline and the narrative voice are compelling, and the action blows in quickly and never really leaves. This book is Kim Harrison doing what she does best: writing an urban fantasy with elements of the romance and thriller genres. It is a story about friendship; about how with friends we can do anything. The ending of Pale Demon is satisfactory, there is no sense that the Pale Demon arc of The Hollows series is not complete and at the same time it still leaves you looking forward to the next book – which promises to be every bit as good as this one, if the hints both in the book and on Kim Harrison’s blog are anything to go by.
Rachel Morgan is not your ordinary, every day witch – but then, who’d want her to be?