Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Finally! A Book Review!

I had to wait to talk about this one until my step-daughter finished reading it. Ms. Harrison made a visit to my little piece of the world, so we visited her and had her personalize a copy to the step-daughter. While we were there, Ms. Harrison dropped a hint or two about Rachel's future: We will definitely find out who killed Kisten, and there are 4 more books in this series. But this step in the journey concerns The Outlaw Demon Wails....
If you've read my reviews, you realize that I pretty much detest series work, unless the are exemplararily written and that basically they are a single story told in several volumes. An incredibly good writer can write complete books that stand alone in and of themselves, and are integral parts of a much longer story. Lois McMaster Bujold is the past master of this as evidenced by the Miles Vorkosidan series. Watch out, Mrs. Bujold, here comes Kim Harrison.
In this installment, the tension between Rachel and Ivy is settled (pretty much), we find out much more about Trent, and the world of demons comes into a clearer focus. Are there still mysteries? You betcha, but the reader leaves satisfied that the characters have grown, that the present challenges have been well and truly met. There are the inevitable loose strings, but the strings are vague, and like the characters, the reader is completely happy to leave them for another day.
In possibly the best book of the series thus far, Ms. Harrison further develops her core characters, introducing only one new somewhat minor character (doubtless to be developed later). She does vastly develop characters that were minor in previous installments, but the reader is already familiar with them and has already formed attitudes about what to expect from these characters....most times even correctly.
Our: Story:
Rachel is heartbroken about Kisten and depressed. Ivy is still trying to find a bllod balance with her. A new man is introduced (more than one, actually, but see the last paragraph about correctness of readers' assumptions) for Rachel's love interest, but that's undeveloped in this story. Ceri, the elfin princess that was Al's familiar, is, as one would expect, the savior of the elfin race. But her partner is surprising in both his identity and his character developments in this tale. Jenks is Jenks. All in all, its damned hard to write this review without spoilers. The Hallows have become such a comfortable place to visit that one just wants to talk about their adventures there and show off the pictures taken while on sojourn there. Rachel must save the day, defeat the nefarious bastards that are trying to kill her, and keep her soul and personality intact at the same time....again. Its a familair plot line, but the characters make this a more personal story than just the kick butt, shoot 'em up that it looks to be on the surface. Each character has their vunerabilities and weaknesses, even Al.
If you want to learn more, you'll just have to read this one. When you do, let me know what you think.

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