Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Pale Demon (The Hollows, Book 9)
I was so excited, waiting for this book, and it got to be the first actual purchase for my Xmas Nook! The purchase and download went far too smoothly to be believed, and I was reading it within minutes. This novel in The Hollows series gives us a chance to see a little more of Harrison's world than she has revealed before.

Rachel must travel to San Francisco to attend her brother's wedding, and to attend a Coven meeting where she hopes to get the sanctions and shunning brought against her by the witches removed. Rachel has been caught one too many times performing black magic, and the situation doesn't look good, except that she has been assured of some covert support at the meeting by a couple of the witches who have seen her in action, Oliver and Vivian. You know, this whole series has just a touch of that out-of-the-frying-pan flavor that I like so well, as Rachel has mostly been caught in reactive mode to the changes around her, and as she discovers more about herself, the world she's been born into, and the elves, witches, weres and demons around her, she has used that knowledge to survive the latest round of slings and arrows, figuratively speaking, grow up, and move on.

Trent also has business on the West Coast, it transpires, and needs to hire Rachel to be his bodyguard for the trip. She still has him bound to herself as a familiar, as a consequence of the last escapade in the series, but has agreed to remove the curse from him, and break the unnatural ties that bind them. Trent is being forced into a closer association with Rachel than either of them would apparently prefer - leaving deeper, less conscious feelings out of the situation - because Ceri is about to have her baby, and his real bodyguard and manservant, Quen, refuses to leave Cincinatti at this crucial time. Trent won't disclose the nature of his business to Rachel, except to say that it is very important, and personal, and as you might well imagine, this doesn't sit well with her. She just has to keep poking and prying at things.

When agents of the Coven conspire to block Rachel from getting on a direct flight to San Francisco (why don't any of these people use their brooms in the manner they're supposed to? I mean, if those teen upstarts from Hogwarts can do it, why not?), she, Ivy, Jenks and Trent are forced to travel by land, across the country. Road trip on steroids! Or maybe hemorrhoids. They start out in Trent's HumVee and ride in style for a while, but after an couple of attacks by either the Coven's goons or Trent's former in-laws, they are forced to abandon that vehicle in Saint Louis and proceed in Rachel's mom's battlestar of a car.

This is the first time, I think, that we've been given much of a glimpse at what lies outside of the big urban areas after The Turn. The badlands went really really bad. People generally try to stick to the interstates whenever possible, as you never know what sort of creatures are lurking in the shadowy byways of America these days. So, the road trip in Pale Demon isn't Kerouac, by any stretch of the imagination, but it serves as a pretty good plot...er...vehicle.

Lots of time in this book for Harrison to flesh out her major characters a bit further, and there are many lessons learned on the nature of loyalty, family, and love. Drat the wait, I want to see what happens next!

1 comment:

Rumtruffle said...

Witches not for me x