The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12) by Kim Harrison
Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan has managed to save the demonic ever after from shrinking, but at a high cost. Now strange magic is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong, and the truce between the races, between Inderlander and human, is shattering.
Rachel must stop the occurrences before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and it becomes all-out supernatural war. However, the only way to do so is through the ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils
So I’ve never made any secret about my love for Kim Harrison. Let’s face it—she’s long been on my list of favorite authors. Even when some of her books were a little slower or getting lower reviews (I’m specifically thinking about the initial reception of the fourth book), I stood by and defended that it was just a change of pace to enable a whole new plot arc to develop.
In fact, if you haven’t read much of Harrison yet, I’m going to warn you right now that she does have the occassional slower / less-than-satisfying book, but that it’s worth it to read on because they have ALWAYS been setting up a turning point that leads into a phenomenal plot. She’s been handling this transition much better later in the series, and it’s been a thrill to watch her develop as a writer with Rachel, Ivy, Jenks, etc.
I kind of had the sense after the last book that she was setting the stage for a similar change of pace. And with the growing anticipation for this book, I couldn’t help but wonder what Harrison would think of next. We’ve already explored a TON of aspects of how the magic in the world of the Hollows works.
Never could I possibly have imagined the plot of this book. It was ingenious—absolutely spectacular. I mean, let’s set aside the character development for a moment and just talk about the plot by itself. Of course we’d have to follow-up the last several books that have focused on the demons’ perspective of the world with a crash course in wild magic. I REALLY wish I were willing to go into spoilers because the representation of wild magic and its role in this storyline is simply amazing. It’s by far one of the most unique sets of elvin/fae magic I’ve ever read.
So since I can’t rant and rave about that …
Boy was it out in spades. Rachel developed. Bis developed. Trent developed. Hell, even Al developed. In their roles in the book(s) and how they interact with one another, but also in how they perceive the world. I think Trent’s growth in particular was … well, I’m not sure I’d use the word shocking, but definitely something on that end of the spectrum. It was definitely good to see him in a different light.
Something I also found quite telling was the fact that Rachel was never alone in this book. I mean, she hasn’t exactly been lonely in the past, but she hasn’t always been aware of the fact that she has a host of allies to draw on. While this is a relatively common theme of the genre, I’m glad Harrison doesn’t emphasize it with Rachel’s character. I did appreciate the following exchange of dialog between here and Trent however:
Trent leaned back, eyeing us over his scribbled legal pad. “You have amazing friends.”
“I need them to stay alive through my amazing life,” I said.
Not to mention Rachel’s commentary on wondering why, like Frodo, she was letting so many people help (read: get in the way), instead of just flying the eagle directly to Mordor.
(Note: While Rachel still ends up mostly saving the day, it was definitely nice to have people helping to clean up the mess after her. Trent has a wonderful (if not slightly sarcastic) comment about how she did a good job this time with some very specific examples)
All in all, this was a superbly written book. I’m just sorry it took me so long to read it (gosh darn work! Why must you get in the way of my reading time?!)
Posted on March 17, 2014, in Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and tagged book reviews, demons, elves, ever after, fantasy, kim harrison, rachel morgan, the hollows, urban fantasy, vampires, wild magic. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.