Friday, March 26, 2010

For a Few Demons More, by Kim Harrison

For a Few Demons More (The Hollows, Book 5)So, since I fell a little behind this week, I'm gonna do a twofer today. Here's the review of a book that's two books back in The Hollows series by Harrison, and I'll also post a review of the 2nd to last book that I just finished.
I have a hate/love relationship with loose threads in a novel. I hate it when an author leaves unfinished business, not solving mysteries raised within the confines of the front and back cover, but I love the fact that it means there are definitely more novels to come in the series to read and enjoy. If you read paperbacks, like I do, you generally are aware that the next novel in a series is already out in hardback, but still...

Kim Harrison leaves a couple of unanswered questions in this latest novel (spoiler alert), For a Few Demons More, in The Hollows series. What was the demon, Newt, looking for when she trashed Rachel's church? And who was the dastardly fiend who set up the deal between the demon Al, and Piscarry? Well, those are not horribly bad spoilers, I guess.

The story begins with Newt showing up unsummoned in Rachel and Ivy's home and thrashing the place, looking for something she's lost. Rachel believes it to be "the focus" a relic recovered in the previous book which bears a demonic curse that affects Weres, allowing them to create new Weres from humans, rather than by procreation.

The focus is highly fought over by all of the factions in Inderlander Cincinnati throughout the course of this book. Someone is killing weres in the process of trying to discover who holds the focus, so they can get it for themselves. In the middle of this mystery, Rachel is busy trying to figure out her relationship with Ivy, provide security at Trent Kalamack's wedding, find her way to a happy balance between being one of the good guys and using demonic magic, and keep the focus from doing more damage or falling into the wrong hands.

The heroes and villains in this piece are a pretty good mix of cardboard cutout characters, like the two leaders of the major Were factions, somewhat developed characters, like Quen the elf and Ceri the rescued demon familiar, and well-developed characters, like Jenks the pixie, Trent, and Ivy. I could list a few more, but you get the drift, and I say this to make the point that novels grow more captivating the less of the former and the more of the latter there are.

The ending was a little confusing to me. In the climactic battle between the forces of evil and not-so-evil, a number of people Rachel cares for are killed. When everything settles down, it turns out that some of them didn't die after all (how's that for avoiding a spoiler?), but it wasn't really explained very well why not, and the fate of some of the folks in the battle is left hanging. Then, Rachel does something to herself that should/could have some long lasting, not to mention interesting, and potentially lethal consequences, and by a bit of deus ex machina sleight of hand, the consequences are ameliorated (which raises another set of questions which I definitely can't ask without a spoiler). I'd rather hoped to see Harrison explore those consequences
thoroughly, but she seems to have avoided it for the moment. Drat!

All, in all, this was definitely worth reading, though I may have to read the last twenty or thirty pages again just to get it all straight in my mind.

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