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!