Anyone who has been reading the blog for a while knows of my love for Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series. The Witch with No Name came out in early September and I’ve had a heck of a time not reading it until now. On Wednesday night I looked at the book I’d started reading on Monday (Anuradha Roy’s The Folded Earth), and thought, I just can’t. I’ve read about twelve pages of it and it seems lovely, nice first person narrator and a sad story about to be related, but I only had two days off this weekend and damnit I wanted to read something fun. So I picked up the last book about Rachel Morgan that Kim Harrison will ever write (I kind of doubt that), and slammed through it in about forty-eight hours. I am pleased to report that Kim did not disappoint me. Yes, there were a few typos, and overuse of the weird adverbial phrases she loves so much, and too many references to things “slipping” that have no business slipping, and Rachel was having a pity party for herself for the bulk of the book, but other than that it was practically perfect. I’ve spent so many years being disappointed in endings of things (Lost comes to mind, as well as the Sookie Stackhouse books, and How I Met Your Mother, just to name a few) that it was nice to see a series wrap up nicely.
This book starts about three months after the end of The Undead Pool. Rachel and Trent are stupid happy, though Rachel keeps freaking out in her head that he’s going to leave her for Ellasbeth, or something else is going to happen to mess everything up. The girl has a really crappy track record, I’ll give her that. Truly, this aspect of the novel was the most annoying thing. I mean, I feel her, I do. It’s been one failed relationship after another for her: Kisten died twice, Nick was a jackass, that hot swimmer witch ditched her when she was shunned by the coven, and then Pierce, the ghost, turned out to be only slightly less shady than Nick. I was convinced she would do something to sabotage her relationship with Trent just because she couldn’t believe she might get her happy ending after all that. (Spoiler alert: she gets it. And it warmed my heart.) The book opens with Ivy, Rachel, and Jenks on a run, just the three of them. The first few books were all about these three working together, and I suspect Harrison wrote this scene for old time’s sake. At the end of it, though, Ivy gets hit by a car, and the three of them get chased into Eden Park by a gang of living vampires. Rachel moves them to the Ever After to get away because Ivy can’t move any further, and they wait. Wait for Ivy to die? They figure out pretty quickly that Rynn Cormel, Ivy’s master vampire, is behind this: he wants his soul, he wants Rachel to get it for him, and he knows the best way to get Rachel to do what he wants is to threaten to make Ivy an undead too. Eventually Rachel’s gargoyle Bis wakes up (gargoyles sleep during the day) and gets Trent and Nina (Ivy’s living vampire girlfriend who has a very unhealthy bond with her master vampire Felix, i.e. he spends a lot of his time with his consciousness inside Nina) into the Ever After to help Rachel with Ivy. As the surface demons circle, one of them seems drawn to Nina especially after Felix becomes dominant. And then Rachel realizes that the surface demons are actually the undead vampires’ souls! I sort of figured this was the case in the last book but it was nice to have it confirmed.
Long story short, Ivy survives this attempt on her life, and Rachel figures out how to capture the “surface demons” and how to bind them to the undead vampires, but in doing so she realizes, along with everyone else, that returning the souls to the long undead vamps will probably make them walk into the sun over the guilt of all the stuff they’ve been doing while they’ve been without their souls. Something annoying about this? They called it “suncide.” Why can’t they just say walk into the sun, or go towards the light, or something like that? Suncide just sounds dumb. Maybe “sunicide” would have been better. Anyway, there are tons of political machinations going on, with the elves trying to promote rejoining the souls to the undead vamps, which is essentially a power play. Some of the politicking went over my head, probably because it’s been a few months since I read the last few books. This bothered me, but not because of anything Kim Harrison did—I was irritated with myself more than anything else. I know all the information I forgot about elf/vampire/witch/demon relations is available somewhere, just not easily accessible to me from my brain, and I had no time to go researching these things. Had to keep reading!
The big battle at the end goes on for about sixty pages. At one point or another I thought every character was dead. It was awesome. And like I said, everyone gets a happy ending, but I’m not going to go into any more detail than that. I don’t want to ruin it any more than I already have. I really love this series, and I’m sad that it’s over, but I think Kim Harrison chose to end it at the right time, and in the right way. She didn’t drag things on past their natural lifespan. And I’m very much looking forward to whatever she comes up with next. I really hope that this isn’t the last we see of Rachel, Ivy, Jenks, Trent, Al, Nina, and all the other characters she has created. I was a bit disappointed that Cormel doesn’t get the snot kicked out of him before the end of the novel, but being the country’s most powerful undead vampire has to have a few perks, I guess.
I have loved reading The Hollows, and I’ve also enjoyed writing about it. I can only hope that Kim Harrison’s next series is as enjoyable as this one has been, and that I don’t have to wait very long to find out!