Monday, February 27, 2012

A Perfect Blood (The Hollows #10) - Kim Harrison

Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth--a would-be creator is determined to make his (or her) own demons. But it can't be done without Rachel's blood, in this latest blockbuster by a "New York Times"-bestselling author.

Leather before sundown is tacky.
In Kim Harrison's tenth installment of her wildly popular Hollows series, Rachel Morgan is dealing with the consequences of the previous book, Pale Demon. At the end of Pale Demon, Trent gave Rachel a bracelet made of charmed silver to give her a chance to recover without Algaliarept finding her. While the bracelet is able to hide Rachel from Al, it also cuts her off from all of her ley line magic. A good portion of this book is Rachel trying to live her life without the use of her most powerful magic, and coming to the realization that she must embrace who she is, not deny it.

A Perfect Blood opens with a series of ritualistic murders.  Witches are being held and transformed against their will in a horrifying way.  Rachel is called in to help investigate, and soon learns that if she doesn't help the FIB, she will be blamed for the gruesome acts.  Ivy and Jenks are by Rachel's side, as always.  A new character, Wayde, is a Were that serves as Rachel's personal bodyguard.  Rachel immediately begins working on this run, but the best she can do is create earth magic locator charms that she is unable to invoke herself.  We see the appearance of an ex-boyfriend briefly in this book, whose only purpose is to invoke Rachel's charms.  Rachel is also dealing with her feelings of loneliness.  It seems like Ivy and Jenks are moving on with their lives, while Rachel is stagnant, if not moving backwards with the loss of her magic.  

I enjoyed the relationship between Wayde and Rachel.  At first, Rachel doesn't believe that Wayde can protect her, and in true Rachel fashion, sets out to prove it.  Wayde proves he is worth his mettle, but then seems to take a back seat for the rest of the book.  At one point, it seemed like there was an attraction between Wayde and Rachel, but that seemed to fizzle by the end of this book.
"Obviously, Rachel, you are one crazy bitch.  But I like you.  Your loyalty impresses me.  It makes putting up with the rest of your crap worth it."
As the plot progresses, and more murders occur, Rachel closes in on the murderers.  There is a fight scene between Rachel, Ivy, Jenks and law enforcement and the deranged scientists that are trying to transform witches into demons.  Rachel is kidnapped and held by the fringe group because they need her demon-witch blood to perform their experiments.  Rachel is help captive and is at the mercy of her kidnappers.  Rachel, still wearing the charmed silver bracelet, is unable to tap a ley line to help defend herself or to escape.  This is where Rachel has an epiphany and vows to remove her bracelet.  Rachel manages to escape just as Trent comes searching for her.  This was a very important moment in this book, in my opinion.  Ivy, Jenks and Detective Glenn are no where to be found.  Trent knew exactly where to look for Rachel, and becomes her rescuer.

Trent also serves as Rachel's magic savior when he helps Rachel to use her ley line magic once again.  There is a great scene where Trent trusts Rachel to deal with Al on her own terms when the wily demon comes looking for her.  It was nice to see Trent letting Rachel handle this on her own, without his interference.  Trent also give Rachel several elven magic charms and a special locator ring.  The relationship between Trent and Rachel is cautious at best.  Trent wavers between stuck-up businessman and the undercover, "mission-impossible" elf we saw in the previous book.  There are tender moments between Trent and Rachel, but nothing as major as we saw at the end of Pale Demon.  Trent definitely earned my trust in this book.

"You're a good person.  Don't change because I'm a bastard."

Ivy was present in this book, but had a much more limited role than in the past.  Ivy is trying her hardest to move on from her feelings towards Rachel.  She is also busy helping another living vampire who has fallen on hard times.  Jenks is still the smart-ass, warrior pixy that he always has been.  He is learning to accept his new life with his new live-in fairy, and remains unwaveringly loyal to Rachel and Ivy.  He injects crude humor and lightness to this book, and remains one of my favorite sidekick characters in the UF genre.

"Rachel and Trent, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.  No wait, it was a hospital room, and he had his hands on your ass and you had your tongue down his throat.  I can see why you might be confused."
Although I enjoyed this book, it was not my favorite of this series.  The pacing was off for me.  It was very slow reading for the first half of this book.  Things became much more interesting at the halfway point.  I went back and forth between a three and four star rating for this book, but ultimately went with three stars because of the slow plot line.  Don't get me wrong - there was a lot of action in parts, but it seemed drawn out more than I would like.  I would have liked to have seen more relationship building between Rachel and Trent.  They seemed to be just on the precipice of something, but it never came to fruition.

I was also surprised by the heavy use of Kisten's name in this book.  I think it was meant as a way to convey Rachel's feelings of being separate and alone, but his name was mentioned several times in different situations throughout this book.  Kisten's name hasn't been mentioned this much for many books, and it was interesting to say the least.

I also would have liked to see more of my favorite demon, Algaliarept.  Oh, how I love whenever he says, "Rachel Mariana Morgan!"  It brings such a smile to my face.  Al was present in this book, but like Ivy, in a very limited way.  Pierce was barely mentioned in this book, and I'm still wondering what happened to him since he's been in the Ever After.

I think that this book is setting us up very nicely for the next book, Ever After.  Rachel has come to terms with who she is, and is not afraid of herself or anyone else at this point.  Trent is proving to be one of Rachel's closest confidantes, while Ivy and Jenks seem to be moving forward with their lives.  I hope that Ever After brings us more information on Trent and Rachel's fledgling relationship, and I hope to see Rachel fully come into her own in the next book.


Braine @ Talk Supe said...

I never really got to read Book 1, for some reason I can't get pass through chapter 2. I guess I'll just wait for the TV series.

Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy said...

Great review Jamie!!;)

Jamie said...

I adore this series, Braine. I do. I know a lot of people have a hard time getting into this series. There was a lot of world building and plot mapping in the first book that was a bit dry. It was a bit slow-going in the first book or so, but in my opinion, it's one of the more well-written and well-rounded UFs out there today. This book wasn't as strong as the last couple, but I can't wait to read the next installment :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Alexa said...

I have yet to read this series but it does sound like a good one. I hope that I have no problems getting into this one. Although I did have a hard time getting into Downside Ghosts at first and then feel in love with book two so you just never know.

Thanks for the great review.

Jamie said...

Thanks, Alexa! It always seems that the books that are hard to get into are the ones that end up being my favorites :) LOVE your Terrible fever!

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