Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kim Harrison rides again as The Outlaw Demon Wails

There's a good number of paranormal lit titles around these days,filled with vampires,werewolves and witchcraft practitioners galore,and while you might be quick to assume the notion that"you've read one,you've read them all",think again.

Everyone has a different take on the mix of modern day life and the realm of the supernatural and you would be only cheating yourself out of a great romp into the best that any imagination has to offer by ignoring the works of Kim Harrison.

Harrison is the author of the Rachel Morgan series,aka The Hollows books,and her latest entry is due out next week on Tuesday the 26th. It's entitled The Outlaw Demon Wails(yes,the Clint Eastwood reference is on purpose)and for those of you who are unfamiliar with her series,I'll give you a brief rundown.

The leading lady of this series is Rachel Morgan,a witch living in Cincinnati in a world much like ours,except that supernatural beings and those born to practice magic are now openly part of society,thanks to a virus from a genetically altered tomato that wiped out a large portion of humanity(a tip of the hat to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes).

Rachel worked for one of the government agencies that keeps an eye on the "Interlander" scene but now has her own P.I. agency with another former runner Ivy Tamwood,a "living" vampire who loves Rachel as more than a friend and Jenks,a foul mouthed but fiercely loyal pixie that provides the best back-up in town.

Rachel's made quite a number of enemies to keep her busy,which include elven politician and drug dealer Trent Kalamack,master vampire Piscary and worst of all,the demon Algaliarept to whom she still owes a favor to and is her main nemesis in The Outlaw Demon Wails.

Algaliarept(called "Al" for short by Rachel)is the outlaw in question,in trouble with his fellow demons for teaching his former familiar Ceri some rather powerful magic(which Rachel is able to do as well)and uses the opportunity given to him by a group of demon worshippers to hunt down Rachel in public.

Since raising demons isn't illegal(but hiring them to kill someone is),Rachel's options are limited to hiding out on holy ground by night and hoping for a good lead during the day while also dealing with Ivy's attempts to figure out a "blood balance" between the two of them which also includes their joint mourning for Kisten, a vamp boyfriend whom they both loved at different times in their lives.

But that's not all that Rachel has to contend with. She's been getting closer to her mother,the feisty but scatterbrained Alice,lately and it turns out that Mom has had quite an interesting past,which comes to the surface during Rachel's current batch of woes and reveals a few facts that threaten to change all of the notions that Rachel held about her own life now and forever.

What I truly love about this series is the strong sense of storytelling that Harrison brews up for her books. Unlike other paranormal sagas that have become overblown excuses for fantasy sexcapades,Kim Harrison doesn't take eye off of the prize which is to create a compelling and sassy heroine who is able to strut towards danger with strength in her stride and yet,still be vulnerable when it comes to all kinds of affairs of the heart.

That's not to say that the books don't have some steamy romantic moments but they are in service of the plotlines and emotional development of the characters,not the other way around. Rachel does begin a bit of a rebound relationship with a man she met during her run-in with a werewolf pack in Fistful of Charms but it's mired in a romcom zone here,for the time being atleast.

Another plus here is the good sense of humor that Harrison gives to her characters,allowing them to have some lighter moments that give both them and the reader a tension break without sacrificing any of the dramatic highpoints. Rachel may want to toss Trent into jail for life but that doesn't stop her from helping him pick out the right charms to use for a Halloween costume during a public confrontation with him. It's a scene like that which gives these books that extra special touch that means so much.

So,if you haven't visited The Hollows just yet,you're in for a true treat,no trick. As for those of us who are already big fans,this book will definitely knock your socks off and then some. It was rumored that The Outlaw Demon Wails would be the last book in the series but it looks like we're getting not only another book or two with Rachel and company,we're going to be getting more than what we bargained for,in the best sense. The legend of Rachel Mariana Morgan will continue and what a ride all of us will share with her!

1 comment:

GFS3 said...

Kim just went on her US tour for her latest and greatest, but before she leaped on her broom -- she was kind enough to drop by Dark Party for a probing interview. Thought you might enjoy it!

Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/yw8meq