Black Magic Sanction is the eighth book in Kim Harrison's series about the witch Rachel Morgan and her thoroughly complicated life with Jenks, her pixie backup, and Ivy, her living vampire roommate/potential love interest. Having recently survived a banshee while solving the mystery of her vampire boyfriend's death, Rachel now finds herself violently pursued by the witches of Coven of Moral and Ethical Standards, who have somehow discovered that Rachel has the ability to give birth to demon children and want to lobotomize her or imprison her for life. That may sound like a far-fetched premise, but Harrison makes it work well within the fully realized universe of The Hollows, which she has carefully expanded over the course of the previous books. Throw in Rachel's demon tutor, her nasty, thieving ex-boyfriend Nick, and Trent (the elf with political ambitions), and you have a thoroughly entertaining story. Black Magic Sanction has healthy amounts of action, humor, pathos, and even (gasp!) character development. In fact, it has everything that I was looking for (but not finding) in Divine Misdemeanors.
Rachel finally admits to herself that she is something more than a witch, but she still clings to a moral code that will not allow her to harm others, even to protect her loved ones. At the same time, she struggles with the ease of using black magic when its only cost is to herself. This book also marks the commencement of her romantic relationship with Pierce, the recently re-incarnated male witch/demon-hunter, who speaks in what is possibly the most irritating dialect I have ever read. Kim Harrison, I am begging you: Please please please transition Pierce to a normal way of speaking by the time the next book comes out! Either that, or remove him from the picture entirely; I'm not picky. After devouring this book, I am eagerly awaiting the next chapter in the story of Rachel and her friends.
Grade: A- (mostly because of Pierce's stupid dialect!)
Dead Mother: No
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