First, a commercial break for today’s stop on the Susannah Sandlin Omega tour—Maghon at Happy Tails and Tales is interviewing Will Ludlam…and you know Will is going to misbehave. Because he always does! So check it out if you get a chance, and you can enter to win the great prizes, which are listed on the Susannah website.
I’m breaking away from Shop Talk this week because I’ve been having trouble finding a free blog day to review Ever After, Book 11 in the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. I actually have my author friend Carole Remy to thank for ever discovering this series. She’d read an early version of Royal Street and said it reminded her of a book called Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. Was that a good thing? Alarmed, I ran out and found a copy of the book and found out…what a compliment it was! I wasn’t convinced this would become a favorite series until Rachel turned herself into a mink, got caught and caged by Trent Kalamack, and ended up in the city rat fights. That is still one of the funniest series of scenes I’ve ever read, and this quickly became one of my favorite urban fantasy series, right alongside the Dresden Files.
So read on for my non-spoilerific thoughts about Ever After, then leave a comment to be entered for a copy! If you aren’t up to date on the series, you can also choose an earlier Hollows book. If you’ve read them all, you can substitute a book from the Book Horde (tab at top of page—I’ll be adding some new Book Horde additions this weekend).
ABOUT EVER AFTER: The Ever After, the demonic realm that parallels the human world, is shrinking. If it disappears completely, so does all magic. It’s up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to avert catastrophe and keep life from changing… for the worse.
While saving the world is important, it isn’t Rachel’s only motivation. There’s also the small fact that she caused the ley line to rip in the first place, setting off a chain reaction of unfortunate events. That little mistake has made her life forfeit unless she can fix it. It’s also made her more than a few enemies, including the most powerful demon in the ever after—a terrifying entity who eats souls and now has an insatiable appetite for her. He’s already kidnapped her friend and goddaughter to lure her out, and if Rachel doesn’t give herself up soon, they’ll die.
But Rachel has more than a few impressive and frightening skills of her own, and she isn’t going to hand over her soul and her life without one hell of a fight. She’s also got a surprise: elven tycoon Trent Kalamack. With this unlikely ally beside her—a prospect both thrilling and unnerving—she’s going to return to the ever after, kick some demon butt, rescue her loved ones… and prevent an apocalypse before it’s too late. Or, at least that’s the plan.
A Scene I’d Read Twice: Oh, there are so many. Here’s a short list from memory:
* Rachel tries a curse she’s concocted to restore Trent’s missing fingers, and ends up with a drunken Algaliarept and a Trent who’s been a little toorestored. I can’t say more, but the whole scene had me laughing aloud.
* The uber-creepy Ku-Sox walking around with baby Lucy. OMG.
* Rachel and Trent go flying. I can’t say more, but wow.
I Didn’t Quite Buy: It wasn’t at all that I didn’t buy it, but I did think the trial-and-error methods Rachel had to go through with Bis to learn how to fix the lines that Ku-Sox had corrupted went on in a little too much detail. Okay, so I have a short attention span. I understand why it was necessary—to show that this was something Rachel was having to learn and that it was hard. Her success wasn’t guaranteed, and she had to work slowly and carefully. And the whole idea was really cool. Still, there was a little drag for me.
The World: I’m not sure how much I can add since we’re on book 11, except that this is an extraordinarily rich, well-developed, and consistent world. Kim Harrison does a masterful job of keeping the vampire, werewolf, pixy, and other storylines simmering a little in the background even as, in this book, the Ever After, the demons, and the elves take center stage. Even as we learn more about the ugly history between the elves and demons, the factions are lining up: human, Inderlander, demon, elf, vampire. There are only two more books in the series. Who’ll ally themselves with whom?
The Characters: Rachel Morgan is a great character, and in Ever After I think I like her better than in any book previously. She’s grown up a lot, matured. She’s able to step back and look at her relationships and admit which ones don’t work, and why. She’s confused about her feelings for Trent, but mature enough to admit it and not just run away. Likewise, Trent is coming into his own. I think his is one of my favorite growth arcs in the series, going from an absolute murderous jackass in the first book, through a mire of moral ambiguity, to—finally—someone we can understand a little better and sympathize with, even if we don’t like his methods.
Trent also understands Rachel, and he’s willing to do some things he knows would haunt her if she had to do them. He doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty for a good cause.
Algaliarept becomes an ally for Rachel here, and he is forced to step up for his “itchy witch” and help in his own way. We see a depth to his character that’s really touching. Wait. This is AL. Oh, what the heck. I love Al. And Newt still scares me.
Ivy’s back with changes of her own, and I honestly have no idea what’s in store for her, with or without Rachel.
General Thoughts: Was this my favorite book of the series? I’m not sure I could say that, but I can say it is my favorite of the past three or four. I couldn’t put it down, and I read the final page anxious for the next one even though I know it’s bringing us closer to the end.
Want to win a copy? Leave a comment. Who’s you favorite character? If you’ve read Ever After already, what did you think? Do you think Rachel will end up with Trent when all is said and done?