Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review: Pale Demon [2011]

I'm a big fan of Kim Harrison's Hollows series featuring Rachel Morgan, so I jumped on the chance to read an advance copy of the ninth in the series, Pale Demon, through NetGalley. This would be the second time EVER that I have read a book entirely in electronic format (the first was Rampant, so the bar was set extremely high), and it ended up being a great way to read the book at even the smallest opportunity! I found myself reading it on my portable device while walking up the stairs at work, while waiting for traffic so I could cross the street, in line at the grocery store . . . possibly in my car while waiting for the light to change (can't confirm that one).

The premise of Pale Demon is deceptively simple: Rachel has to get from Cincinnati to the west coast to get her shunning by the Coven of Moral and Ethical Standards revoked. She can't take the plane, so she ends up road-tripping as Trent's protector--he has reasons of his own to go that direction--along with Ivy and Jenks. What could possibly go wrong on this bizarre reinterpretation of the classic American family experience? Plenty, as the (spoiler) former St. Louis Gateway Arch could tell you, if its rubble could talk.

Although the road trip offers plenty of excitement, the real fireworks start in San Francisco when Rachel makes her case before the witches' council. Her identity as a witch has come farther into question over the last several books, and Pale Demon goes even farther down that path as she battles a day-walking demon released by Trent and saves Al from an attack by her lover, Pierce. Rachel finds herself more and more in sympathy with (some) demons and using ley-line magic to survive and protect those she loves. This, unfortunately, is also the reason she's been shunned by the witches' council. Will Rachel accept her identity as a demon, or end up cutting all her ties with the ever-after?

Grade: A

I was very pleased about the direction of Pale Demon, its cast of characters, and its ambiguous ending. Harrison doesn't let longtime series fans down with a placeholder novel, but instead crafts a narrative that keeps pushing at the boundaries of Rachel's identity and the world as she knows it. I'm eagerly awaiting an opportunity to read the next book!

Random Thoughts:

As far as digital books go, I wouldn't say that I'm completely sold on the format (insofar as , but as the kind of person who always wants to have a book on her person, I am definitely on board with their portability. I will never have to be without a book again! As long as I have enough battery power . . .

My review of the previous book in the series, Black Magic Sanction.

Dead Mother: No
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