Title: Pale Demon
Author: Kim Harrison
Series: Rachel Morgan #9
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars!
The Overview: Condemned and shunned for black magic, Rachel Morgan has three days to get to the annual witches’ conference and clear her name, or be trapped in the demonic ever-after . . . forever after. But a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car going across the country? Talk about a recipe for certain disaster, even without being the targets for assassination. For after centuries of torment, a fearsome demon walks in the sunlight—freed at last to slay the innocent and devour their souls. But his ultimate goal is Rachel Morgan, and in the fight for survival that follows, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.
Once every couple of months I read a book that’s so engrossing that I completely forget to take notes for my post. Surprisingly, the last several Harrison books I’ve read fell under the “no note” category and were so amazing that I didn’t care about anything other than enjoying them. Black Magic Sanction, book 8 in the Rachel Morgan series (preceding this one), was by-far the best book I read last year, and Pale Demon would have easily been in the top twenty, if not the top ten. I think I can safely say that Harrison is now my favorite urban fantasy author. Since I sang her praises in my last couple of reviews, I’ll keep this one relatively short (especially since you’ll be seeing a few more as I get caught up in the series).
Why do I love this series so much? There are quite a few reasons, but the most prominent is because of the excellent characterization. There’s not a single person in these books that I don’t find well-rounded and interesting. They are all so richly developed that I no longer feel like I’m reading about fictional characters. There are even a few characters who are so dynamic I’m not really sure who’s side they’re on (I’m not even sure they know, and that’s why it’s interesting). I love it when books have characters like that. And the sidekicks! Harrison gets my vote for best sidekicks in any book ever! My current favorite is a teenaged gargoyle named Bix who has these cute little tuft ears & tail and these big red expressive eyes (I want one).
There’s so many other things I love: world building – because this is a futuristic America where a good portion of humanity has been killed off by virus-carrying genetically engineered tomatoes (which I think is brilliant – who thinks of this stuff?). The ongoing internal struggles of Rachel Morgan herself – because her conflicts are always interesting, especially the self-induced ones. And Rachel’s external struggles (i.e. the overall arc of the story) – because there are so many factors at play I am just dying to see how everything turns out.
All I have to say is, if you like urban fantasy and haven’t read beyond book 3 of this series, you are doing yourself a disservice. I don’t know how she does it, but Harrison manages to provide that momentous, epic feel I usually only get from fantasy novels while representing the paranormal world at its finest! I loved this series so much I’m on a mission to collect them all in hardcover.
Recommended Reading: for lovers of urban fantasy who are in need of an epic fun-filled adventure!
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