by Kim Harrison – I’m so glad I finally got around to reading this book! It had been sitting on my shelf for more than a year and I’d resisted it studiously, as I know how involved Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series is, with its demon politics and vampire politics and witch politics and werewolf politics and human politics… I have had trouble keeping it all straight, frankly, especially considering the year+ between books and the number of unrelated novels I’d read between releases in this series. [Actually, that’s my trouble with series fiction in general, if the politics in the author’s world are too big a part of the storyline. (Hello, Wheel of Time? I’m talking ’bout you. And yes, I do know Robert Jordan has been dead for several years, but I’m still bitter… and still refusing to read the next-to-last book until Sanderson releases the final one.)]
This book, while forcing me to refamiliarize myself with the witch and the demon political scenes, was fairly easy to immerse myself in. Harrison did a good job handling the political talk (so I could remember who was friends/enemies with whom and why) without getting overly bogged down in it. The action was fast-paced and wide-ranging, as Rachel and her crew head from Cincinnati to San Francisco by car, with stops in St. Louis, Las Vegas and the Painted Desert along the way. It was nice to see more of Rachel Morgan’s America, to see some of the ways the world has changed since the supernatural races “came out”… and some of the ways it has not.
The character interactions between our familiar cast members are, well, familiar… right up until they are not, allowing the characters to grow and shift in some surprising ways. And the new baddie, a demon named Ku’Sox, is not to be trifled with. Rachel is truly challenged on every level as she struggles to survive and to regain some semblance of her old life, even as that life becomes ever more distant. Her battles aren’t all physical, as she also has to fight her inner demons to save herself and those she feels responsible for… and to accept her new existence. I am excited about Rachel’s situation at the end of this novel, as there are myriad possibilities for further adventures, and I don’t think the next book (already out) will sit as long before I devour it. (finished 5/8/2012)