9 Rated Books

Book Review: The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison

Title: The Outlaw Demon Wails

Author: Kim Harrison

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Stand alone or series: Book 6 in The Hollows (Rachel Morgan) series.

Why did I read this book: The Rachel Morgan books are beyond a doubt my favorite Urban Fantasy series. Book 5, For a Few Demons More is one of my favorite books ever (i.e. it’s coming to the island with me). So, as soon as The Outlaw Demon Wails hit stores earlier this year, I immediately bought and devoured it.

Since the book is being released in mass market paperback on November 25th, we decided to host a review, interview and giveaway celebrating the release!

Summary: (from amazon.com)
To save the lives of her friends, Rachel did the unthinkable: she willingly trafficked in forbidden demon magic. And now her sins are coming home to haunt her.

As Rachel searches for the truth behind a terrifying murder, an even greater menace threatens, for the demon Algaliarept will stop at nothing to claim her, and the discovery of a shocking family secret throws Rachel’s entire life into question. If she is ever to live free, Rachel must first walk willingly into the demonic ever-after in search of long-lost ancient knowledge.

But when you dance with demons, you lay your soul on the line . . . and there are some lines that should never be crossed.

**Please note, this review necessarily contains spoilers from the first five books in the series. There are no spoilers for this particular book, but if you have not yet read the earlier installments and do not wish to be spoiled, continue reading at your own peril!**


Following the tragic events of For A Few Demons More, Piscary has finally been taken out of the picture, freeing Ivy…but at a terrible cost. Rachel is still struggling with Kisten’s murder–and Rachel’s memory loss of the affair–and moving on with her life when the problems start up all over again. Big Al, demon extraordinaire, starts (once again) terrorizing Rachel and those near and dear to her. Someone is allowing Al to bust in and out of his cell in the Ever-After, and Al has a big grudge with Rach. In order to protect herself and her family and friends, Rachel must pursue whomever is letting Al free. And, of course since this is Rachel Morgan after all, there are numerous other complications going on, simultaneously. There’s the usual Ivy drama–Ivy and Rachel finally come to terms of sorts with their blood balance, although this is most likely a temporary reprieve, as the new master vamp in town poses some very, very interesting promise for future storylines. Then, there’s Ceri, elven princess with a soon to be huge complication, which sets Rachel working together with the dreaded Trent Kalamack (official pain in Rachel’s ass since Dead Witch Walking). Add to this, a bevy of complications with Rachel’s unique ability to twist demon magic (smutting her aura, but necessary to protect those she cares for), her mother’s strange behavior, and a secret about Rachel’s past that comes through here in a big way.

Phew. One of the things I love the most about this series is the non-stop action and how incredibly detailed and fast-paced the plotting is for each and every book. The plot seeds sown back in earlier books finally come to fruition here–especially concerning Rachel’s cloudy past, as a rare survivor of a serious disease that afflicts young witches. Originally, Ms. Harrison was contracted to end the series with this sixth book, and there is a degree of finality to The Outlaw Demon Wails. The series is contracted for more volumes (thank goodness), but this novel is a huge turning point and in a way still feels like the end of an old series, and a the beginnings of a new direction for Rachel.

As always, the characters in this book are superb, and richly drawn. I love reading about Jenks and his enormous, space-cramping Pixy family–although there is a degree of seriousness and grimness to this novel, as he examines his own limited lifespan as a Pixy and his plans for the future. Ivy remains my favorite emo vampire–she’s so tragic and tortured, but she is for good reasons. And despite her excessive baggage, her devotion to Rachel and Jenks always manages to impress me. Rachel’s mother also plays a pivotal role in this novel, and though we’ve seen her in earlier novels, she is incredibly well drawn as both a woman and a mother in this story. Trent also gains a more color here (not that he was lacking before in any way)–I love that Trent is not written off as merely a Big Bad Baddy drug dealing killer, but has reasons for everything he does–even if his morals and methods are questionable. His interactions here with Rachel are beautifully written, especially in the last scenes of the book.

And, there’s Rachel herself. This is a painful book for Rachel–grieving for Kisten, helping Ceri, coming to terms with her childhood, and most importantly with her game changing decision at the conclusion. Rachel grows a lot in this book, and it’s all for the better. I, for one, cannot wait to see where the next novel takes this remarkable heroine.

Notable Quotes/Parts: The explanation of Rachel’s past with her mother and the scenes in the Ever After are made of awesome.

Additional Thoughts: The new cover for book 7, White Witch Black Curse has been released:

I’m not sure I love the cover–but other than the cover for The Outlaw Demon Wails, I haven’t been a fan in general. Who cares, really?

White Witch Black Curse hits stores February 24, 2009! I cannot wait.

Verdict: I love this series. I really, truly adore The Hollows–it holds the spot as my favorite Urban Fantasy series, period. And, The Outlaw Demon Wails is fantastic–once again, Kim Harrison writes a beautiful book, complete with dizzying plot twists and incredible characters. Easily one of my favorite books of 2008!

Rating: 9 Damn Near Perfection

Stick around tomorrow, as we’ll be interviewing Kim Harrison herself! AND we’ll have an awesome giveaway of The Outlaw Demon Wails and a Grand Prize of the entire series!

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  • Bridget Locke
    November 24, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    First off, impressed you got an interview w/ Ms. Harrison.

    I’ve been a fan of this series since the very beginning.

    I’m hoping a couple of things happen in the next book. For one thing, I was disappointed that there wasn’t more about Kisten and what happened at the end of book 5.

    Also, I want this “thing” between Rachel and Trent to be resolved. At first I thought they’d end up together, but by the end of this book? Not so sure I think that would be a good idea. She needs someone extremely strong, both physically and emotionally.

    Then David was introduced and I thought Maybe, but again, at the end of book 5 that thought got shot down.

    I can’t see Rachel and Ivy going girl on girl. Too much baggage.

    Hmm…yeah, cannot wait for book 7! Whoot!

  • M.
    November 24, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Hmm. I know the Smugglers rate this series very high, as do others, and I trust in that. OTOH – *stifling groan* starting another series I’m way behind in? With my TBR pile barely under control as it is? What if I read the first book and *gasp* like it???

    I have to say, though – I thought the title of this one was clever and I do appreciate cleverness (cleverty? cleveration?)

    so help me decide: does this series center on vampires, yay or nay?

  • Thea
    November 24, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Bridget–I totally was a squee-ing, melting fangirl when we got the interview! LOL.

    I like the tension between Trent and Rache, although I do not want them to be romantically involved in any way. Honestly, I’m gunning for Ivy and Rachel to be together :p If not romantically, at least to the point where they strike that perfect blood balance and are comfortable with one another.

    Another thing I love about these books is that I have absolutely no idea what will happen next–and that there’s so much variety to characters and predictions!

    Bring on book 7 already! I need my Rachel fix.

  • Thea
    November 24, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    M.–well, if you stick around and comment tomorrow, you could win the entire series 😉 Then the only drawback would be finding the time to read!

    Really, I love this series. Love it. I would definitely recommend it to you.

    As for your question: It does not center on vampires per se, as the main character is a witch (and you learn about Earth witches versus Ley Line Witches, etc). BUT vampires are a huge, integral part of the books. What’s cool though is Ms. Harrison’s unique spin on vampire lore (Living vs. Undead Vampires–living vamps have souls, do not subsist solely on blood, and when they die they rise again as undeads. Undeads are the nasty nosferatu, soulless leeches of old), and her universe of wildly varied creatures (humans, demons, witches, vampires, pixies, fairies, werewolves, etc).

    I have reviews for all of the books here on the blog–here’s the link to the first novel:

    Dead Witch Walking

  • Mary M.
    November 24, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    I’ve been hearing about this series forever. Every time I see something about it I tell myself I really need to try it – except I have so many series I’m already reading that I almost always forget until teh next time. :-s OK, this time I’m putting it on my wish list 😀

  • Thea
    November 24, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Mary M.–Oh yes, please do give this series a try!

    And, if you’re lucky, you could win them tomorrow 😉 Honestly, what’s better than free books?

  • Karin
    November 24, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Wow. I didn’t read much of the review because I haven’t read the series, but from what I did read, this sounds fantastic. I think I’m going to have to add the whole series to my list.

  • Thea
    November 24, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Karin–Doooo it! (<–in my best Ben Stiller voice)

    The Hollows is a wonderful series, and the books just keep getting better, in my opinion. Very unique, fast paced, with stellar characters to boot. I hope you get a chance to read them!

  • Mary M.
    November 24, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Honestly, what’s better than free books?

    Lol. Very few things, I agree 😀 But one of them would be having the time to read all the books you want!! My TBR pile is discouragingly big.

    But I will be back for the contest tomorrow. Count on me 😉

  • orannia
    November 24, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Hmm. I know the Smugglers rate this series very high, as do others, and I trust in that. OTOH – *stifling groan* starting another series I’m way behind in? With my TBR pile barely under control as it is? What if I read the first book and *gasp* like it???

    M – how did you know exactly what I was thinking? Hmm…it sounds very good but…my TBR list is beginning to scare me it is so long! Thea….I’m guessing you think this series has to be read?

    PS My verification word is ‘bersisc’, which is rather close to beserk…which is rather apt 🙂

  • Thea
    November 24, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Mary M–Seriously, there need to be more hours in a day (and those hours cannot be allocated to anything other than reading)! That, or there should be some sweet reading job out there. Sigh.

    Still, at least monetary woes can be overlooked with the freebies 🙂

    Orannia–LOL, you know what I’m gonna say. YES! I would say that if you are going to read one Urban Fantasy series, The Hollows should be it. Seriously, if I had to pick just one UF series to take with me to the island, this would be my automatic choice. It’s that good 😉

    I’m not making things any easier on you, am I?

    PS My verification word is ‘bersisc’, which is rather close to beserk…which is rather apt 🙂

    Oooh, that’s a good one! I had an “Evyll” once, I think that’s the best it’s been for me :p

  • Karin
    November 25, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Thanks for such a strong recommendation, Thea. I’m thinking it’s time I added The Hollows books to my list. 🙂

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