Monday, March 1, 2010

Review: Black Magic Sanction (The Hollows, Book 8) by Kim Harrison (3.5/5 stars)

This is the eighth book in The Hollows series by Harrison. Last I head she was contracted for twelve books in this series. This book was better than the last book in the series but still a bit scattered, with Rachel making a lot of questionable decisions.

In this book Rachel finds out that the Coven has not only shunned her but is out to incapacitate her for good. Now Rachel has to try and dodge the Coven, while saving her butt she gets increasingly drawn into Black Magic. She has a lot of help; her old flame Nick is back in the picture and the former ghost Pierce is a constant presence. Of course she will have Ivy and Jenks to back her up too. But, the biggest places where she gets help may be the places she least expects it, as her problems become tightly intertwined with two of her biggest enemies, Al (her demon teacher) and Trent (the business-tycoon elf).

This book was better than the last book in the series; I was pretty disappointed in the last book (White Witch, Black Curse). This book is better. Rachel is finally getting herself back together, she doesn't whine as much, she is accepting what she is, and she doesn't make as many really stupid decisions. That being said, she still does quite a few stupid things and she is still a little bit confused about what she wants to do. This is a long book, and if Rachel had had it more together and been more decisive about certain actions it wouldn't have been as long. It also seemed like every single character from the previous books had to at least make a cameo appearance, and I think this was the other thing that drew the book out.

The action scenes were excellent, but the plot was kind of all over the place again. Rachel wasn't really on a mission or trying to solve a mystery in this book. The whole book is dedicated to Rachel trying to escape the Coven. Along the way Rachel does begin to accept that she is not quite a witch and not quite a demon. Mostly to me this felt like another transitional novel; it ties up some loose ends that needed tying (Harrison had too many loose ends to make a coherent story in book 7). I am hoping that Rachel making some decent decisions and some decent life changes will continue in the next book. After White Witch, Black Curse I was seriously considering dropping this series, and while this book is an still wasn't a joy to read, things were just too muddled and there is just too much going on.

By far the most interesting characters in this book are Trent, Pierce, and Al. You learn a lot more about all of them and a lot more about what made Rachel's world the way it is. Jenks, Ivy, and Rachel aren't as tired and irritating as in the last book, but they still aren't all that interesting to read about in this book either. I am really hoping book 9 will have a more cohesive plot and show Ivy and Rachel *finally* settling their relationship. Yep, Ivy and Rachel still don't figure anything out in this book and, even though their blood-balance isn't visited as much in this book as it was in book 7, the issue still rears its head more than once.

Overall, the book is okay. It is better than book 7, but the plot is still fragmented and nothing much is addressed outside of Rachel's issues with the Coven. It feels a bit like another transitional novel. Hopefully book 9 will get us back to the wonderful writing I am used to from Harrison. I have to say though this book didn't make me super excited to read the next one in the series.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

Black Magic Sanction (Rachel Morgan, Book 8)

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