Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: Ever After (Hollows #11) by Kim Harrison

The ever after, the demonic realm that parallels the human world, is shrinking. If it disappears completely, so does all magic. It's up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to avert catastrophe and keep life from changing... for the worse.

While saving the world is important, it isn't Rachel's only motivation. There's also the small fact that she caused the ley line to rip in the first place, setting off a chain reaction of unfortunate events. That little mistake has made her life forfeit unless she can fix it. It's also made her more than a few enemies, including the most powerful demon in the ever after—a terrifying entity who eats souls and now has an insatiable appetite for her. He's already kidnapped her friend and goddaughter to lure her out, and if Rachel doesn't give herself up soon, they'll die.

But Rachel has more than a few impressive and frightening skillls of her own, and she isn't going to hand over her soul and her life without one hell of a fight. She's also got a surpise: elven tycoon Trent Kalamack. With this unlikely ally beside her—a prospect both thrilling and unnerving—she's going to return to the ever after, kick some demon butt, rescue her loved ones... and prevent an apocalypse before it's too late. Or, at least that's the plan...
“I’ve had a very bad week, Newt. A very bad week. And to top it off, I don’t have anything in my closet that is suitable to wear while saving the world.”
Oh my, this book. I don’t even know where to start, but I felt like this book was the one I’ve been waiting for, for years. It shows growth from all the characters, characters are starting to change along with relationships, and things seem to be lining up for how everything may fall as the series heads toward the finish. And there is so, so much good in this story, many moments had me cheering and this was balanced by events that had me crying almost as much as I did with Kisten’s storyline. I decided to make my review character specific, hitting on each person and my thoughts on them. But first, the book focuses heavily on ley lines, specifically how screwed up Rachel’s line is and the impact it’s having on the ever after. The psycho demon Ku’Sox has spelled Rachel’s line and it’s up to her to prove that he’s the one messing with the ever after. If she goes up against Ku’Sox, she risks being killed by him, if she does nothing or can’t prove his guilt, the demons will kill her. Rock – meet hard place. In addition to messing with Rachel, Ku’Sox is stealing Rosewood babies, ones who are actually fighting to survive their demon blood. He has plans to use the kids but he needs Trent to finish the cure they need to survive and to force Trent’s hand, he takes Ceri and Lucy hostage. Rachel has to find a way to fix the ley lines, rescue Ceri, Lucy and the stolen babies and kill Ku’Sox. It’s never an easy task for Rachel.

Rachel is a powerhouse in this story. She’s finally seeing some things for what they are and accepting some truths that she kept refusing to acknowledge. She felt very apart from her core group of people; Ivy is gone for much of the story, Jenks is there but his presence didn’t feel as strong. She goes through a lot on her own and she comes out the other side for the better. She’s starting to let herself believe in Trent and for that to work, he starts doing the same thing with Rachel. They definitely become closer than friends and anytime you trust someone enough to watch each other's back in this world, there’s something there. I liked seeing Rachel become more comfortable with who she is. She has always seemed to want to deny the demon part of her, but that magic is in her and she’s using it, accepting the smut and all. Rachel came across so much stronger in this story. Sure, she still needs some help, who doesn’t, and she gets plenty of help from Trent and Al (such an unlikely trio) but she was fierce and I loved seeing her kickass with her magic in one chapter, but still deal with so many emotions and grief in the next.

Yes, grief. There are deaths in this book and while the characters that die might not have hit me hard (and I’m talking Kisten hard), the aftermath and the characters mourning for them did. After 11 books, you get attached to characters and their lives and it’s hard no matter who it is to know that a character is gone. So be prepared and possibly bring your tissues.

Ah, Trent – I’m addicted to this elf even more and now that he’s a dad and has a family unit around him, he’s a different guy. I never doubt that he has an agenda, but his priorities have changed. With Lucy in danger, he will do anything to get her back. This is a Trent who feels love deeply for someone now and he does little things throughout this book that just seem softer, more genuine. Whether it’s tucking Rachel’s hair behind her ear, actually telling her what he’s feeling, or binding to her in a way that has Quen very nervous, he’s a different guy; one who I’ve loved from the beginning, but he’s turning into someone pretty damn irresistible right now.

As I mentioned above, Jenks and Ivy are around, however not major players. But it allowed for some other characters to step up. Al gets plenty of page time and I always enjoy his sarcasm and dry wit. Ellsabeth is back *groan* but not on page very much, thankfully. She still wants Trent, Trent wants to save his people, but he has wants that don’t seem to be as cut and dry as they used to be. It’ll be interesting to see how that relationship works itself out. However, out of all the supporting characters who stepped up, including getting to know some more gargoyles, I have one thing to say:

I love Bis.

“I got you!” Bis almost sang…. I snagged you. Right. Out. Of. The. Line!” he crowed, his wings spread and his red eyes sparkling in the fluorescent light. “I’m go-o-od. I’m go-o-od. I’m so bad I’m go-o-od,” he sang, doing one of Jenks’s hip wiggles, his tail curved over his head and wings spread wide.

There’s a huge fight at the end that has Rachel working magic and spells like never before. But even with Rachel rushing to find ways to stop Ku’Sox and fix the lines, what this story also did was get the balling rolling with the vampires. They’re not on page a lot but they make their presence known and Rachel will be needing to deal with them in the very near future.

Trent didn’t need a babysitter, but everyone needed someone to watch their back.

And that’s what this book came down to. Rachel, Trent and others, letting go and trusting in people (some for the first time) to have their back. For a series that’s hit its 11th book, to be able to say that this story is one of the strongest in the series is so incredibly satisfying as a reader. I loved the growth that many characters showed, I loved the fight in Rachel and I especially loved how her relationship with Trent progressed. There is a lot of talk and dissection of the ley lines that got a little too much in depth, but it’s a very, very small thing in an otherwise amazing read. I was captivated from the first chapter and I loved everything about this story, one of my favorites in the Hollows series.

Rating: A

Release Date: January 22, 2013
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Kim Harrison: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: | B&N
*eARC provided by publisher for review* 



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