Author: Kim Harrison
Review Number: 21
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Fiction
Stand alone or series: Third book in The Hollows (Rachel Morgan) series
Summary: (From amazon.com)
Some days, you just can’t win. Witch and former bounty hunter Rachel Morgan’s managed to escape her corrupt company, survive living with a vampire, start her own runner service, and face down a vampire master.
But her vampire roommate Ivy is off the wagon, her human boyfriend Nick is out of town indefinitely and doesn’t sound like he’s coming back while the far-too-seductive vampire Kisten is looking way too tempting, and there’s a turf war erupting in Cincinnati’s underworld.
And there’s a greater evil still. To put the vampire master behind bars and save her family, Rachel made a desperate bargain and now there’s hell to pay—literally.
For if Rachel cannot stop him, the archdemon Algaliarept will pull her into the sorcerous ever-after to forfeit her soul as his slave. Forever.
Why did I read the book: It should be abundantly clear by now that I am enthralled by Rachel Morgan!
Book 3. I started off my book 2 review for The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by stating that Ms. Harrison managed to defy the laws of diminishing returns and created a book 2 that was even better than its predecessor. I can only begin this review by repeating that observation, as Every Which Way but Dead raises the ante even more.
At the end of book 2, Rachel manages to thwart death at the hands of the Master Vampire Piscary, but only by striking another deal with the demon Algaliarept. Rachel’s practice of “act now, think later” has saved her skin a number of times, but this time she fears she might have gone too far. In exchange for Big Al (her nickname for Algaliarept)’s testimony against Piscary, Rachel has agreed to become his familiar—provided that she gets to keep her soul. Every Which Way but Dead opens with Big Al coming to collect. He drags along his current familiar of 1000 years, Ceri—who is a haggard, haunted young woman, with an aura coated so thick with demon smut it is completely black. Rachel takes pity on Ceri, and manages to rescue her by swindling Al and also manages to resist being pulled into the Ever After (aka demon land). As it turns out, Ceri knows all of Big Al’s tricks, how to stir demon curses, and becomes a formidable ally for Rachel, and a major character going forward in these books.
Rachel also has some serious man trouble on her hands. After pulling magic through familiar and boyfriend Nick by accident in book 2, Rachel finds herself in emotional limbo. She and Nick had a great thing going, but now he can’t shake the memory of her accident, and pulls away from Rachel. Finally he decides that he has to leave town for a while to ‘take care of some business’, and Rachel is forced to come to terms with the fact that their relationship is over. Meanwhile, vampire Kisten—former scion of Piscary and good friend to Ivy—has his designs set on Rache. Especially after the hot little elevator interlude in The Good, the Bad, and the Undead.
When I started this installment to the Rachel Morgan series, I feared that it would just be more of the same old same. Rachel fights the same demon and manages to keep her butt out of the Ever After, more unresolved tension with Ivy, unresolved sexual tension with Kisten, same old grudging problems with Trent Kalamack…but Ms. Harrison manages to pick up all these storylines and push them forward, taking Rachel into new territory without feeling recycled. Rachel begins a romantic relationship with Kisten and allows herself to be seduced by him, causing more complications with the jealous Ivy. There’s a serious fallout between Rache and Jenks after yet another demon attack, and Rachel finds herself in the middle of a new power struggle in Cincinnati since she put Piscary behind bars. A whole new species joins the main cast with David Hue, werewolf and claims adjustor, as he tracks down Rache after the fish incident at the beginning of book 2 (really, how does Ms. Harrison keep track and maintain all these separate plot lines? It’s awe inspiring).
Needless to say, there is nothing boring about this book!
Fans of the first two books will not be disappointed—Ms. Harrison just keeps getting better.
Notable Quotes/Parts: I was completely shocked that Rachel would allow herself to be seduced by Kisten, especially given Ivy’s strong feelings and possessiveness. The scene is pretty…intense. Kisten takes to wearing ‘caps’ as a safety precaution so that he won’t break Rachel’s skin. Ivy, while she can understand Rachel and Kisten having sex, will never forgive Kisten if he bites her. I love the idea that the sharing of blood is more than just sexual, but a way to show trust and love—and that is what Ivy desires with Rache.
Also, we finally get a glimpse of the Ever After in this book…and it’s terrifying.
Additional Thoughts: I have previously remarked about Ms. Harrison’s strength in setting down rules—every action has a reaction, every act has a consequence. I love the concept of auras, and that for every dark spell or demon mark Rachel has, there is a price to pay and a mark on her aura. The image of Ceri’s aura, forever tainted black from 1000 years of demon smut is effective, and very scary stuff.
Verdict: Obviously, I loved it!
Rating: 8 Excellent
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