Pale Demon (The Hollows)
by Kim Harrison
Cover Artist: Larry Rostant
Review by Gayle Surrette
Eos Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061138065
Date: 01 March 2011 List Price $26.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Rachel Morgan has a deal with the witches' counsel and they are supposed to rescind her shunning so she can get back her life and her work. But to do that she's got to get to the annual witches' convention in three days. Through some interesting twists of luck or lack thereof, Rachel finds herself on a road trip with Trent Kalamack, Jenks, and Ivy. It's a bit like a joke that starts off with, "there's a witch, a pixy, a living vampire, and a elf on a road trip". Only this isn't a joke, it's deadly serious because the deal Rachel had isn't going to be honored and she's only got this one chance to remove shunning and the charge of being a demon.
Things aren't that simple of course, along the way there's trials and tribulations, danger, betrayal, some realizations, accommodations, disappointments, and surprises. Along the way Rachel deals with more than any one person should ever have to, and the reader has to wonder just how much more she can take.
The characters have been growing and changing throughout the series and looking back over the previous novels you can see how much all of the characters have changed. After this, things are never going to be same for any of the major characters. Relationships and inter-dependencies are all going to shift – how that happens and how it turns out will, of course, be up to Harrison, but the wait for the next installment is going to be a bit tense.
Rachel and crew are great characters – they are people that readers care about because, while their environment is not one we'll ever live in, the moral and personal dilemmas that they deal with are ones that we all face every day. How they deal with them is something we can relate to, root for, or cringe about. The point is that we actually come to care about them and their decisions and problems. Harrison makes us care about them.
Over the series, I've come to appreciate the way she shows us the good and the bad and how sometimes good isn't and that in some circumstances doing something bad that hurts only yourself to save others may not be evil at all. If you don't agree, that's okay because these actions and characters are there to make us think. When thinking occurs, that is a good thing. When writing makes you think while it entertains, that's an even better thing.
So, if you haven't yet read any of the Rachel Morgan books, give them a try. If you enjoy the series be sure to get this one and find out just how this road trip turns out for Rachel and the world.