Feb 22 2012 5:00pm

Demon Tales: A Perfect Blood (Hollows Book 10) by Kim Harrison

A Perfect Blood by Kim HarrisonThe release of each new book in Kim Harrison’s Hollows series is bittersweet for fans of witch Rachel Morgan and her merry band of cohorts because it brings us a step closer to Harrison’s stated plans to end the series after twelve volumes. A Perfect Blood, out this week, is the tenth in the series, and it’s hard not to speculate about where things might be heading.

On the surface, book nine, 2011’s Pale Demon, was a vacation from the series. The story revolved around a road trip Rachel took to the West Coast with pixy Jenks, living vampire Ivy, and treacherously loveable elf Trent Kalamack, all traveling together cross-country by car. They’re headed to a climactic witch conference that forced Rachel to come down firmly on the demon side of the witch-demon line.

But, as A Perfect Blood showed from the outset, some very important business was being conducted on that road trip as Rachel’s long-time relationships began to take not-so-subtle shifts.

The will-they-won’t-they tug of war between Rachel and Ivy settled into a “they won’t” that was a lot more comfortable for Ivy than for Rachel. Jenks started coping with the loss of Matalina. Trent and Rachel’s relationship took a veer into the personal as he revealed more and more of his elven wild magic. And the demon Algaliarept? Well, let’s just say he and Rachel reached a new level of understanding, with ghost Pierce caught in the middle.

Now, as A Perfect Blood begins, everybody’s home in Cincinnati. Al thinks Rachel is dead thanks to her wristband of silver. It keeps her from being detected by the demons in the ever-after (but also blocks her from using ley-line magic, which greatly limits her abilities to do magic). Ivy and FIB investigator Glenn are growing closer. Jenks is becoming whole again. And Trent (it always comes back to Trent, doesn’t it?) finds his early genetic experiments coming full-circle when a human Inderlander-hating group, HAPA, begins doing experiments of its own, using genetic manipulation on witches to try and turn them into day-walking demons — like Rachel.

 And a mysterious vampire — an old one, tied into Inderlander Security — is up to his fangs in the investigation and determined to blame it all on Rachel if she can’t help find the real culprits.

There’s more darkness to A Perfect Blood that earlier books, with less broad humor than we’re used to. Light moments between Rachel and Wayde, the werewolf bodyguard hired by Rachel’s rock star dad, Takata, break up the tension. Jenks is always good for some creative cursing. And anytime Trent gets indignant, it’s good for some laughs.

But the stakes are higher than ever, and as Rachel teeters between being the witch she wants to be and the demon she’s proven to be, she feels lost and at a standstill while, around her, her friends and colleagues seem to be moving on with their lives. We know she’s on the cusp of a great change. Whichever path she takes, it will have far-reaching repercussions for everyone she cares about, and for the series we readers care about.

(Plus, having a human hate group turn witches into bizarre, grotesque half-human/half-goat monstrosities isn’t funny, and gets the horrific treatment it deserves.)

In interviews, Kim Harrison has said she plans to conclude the Hollows series with a happy ending for all the characters — but that it might not be the happy ending everyone wants or expects. So it’s hard not to look at Rachel’s relationships, past and present and maybe future, and wonder what everyone’s happy ending might look like — especially Rachel’s, when she’s so afraid she’ll end up stuck in the ever-after with Al.

Darkly fascinating, A Perfect Blood seems to take Rachel along a certain path, but paths can change — and we have two books to go. Stay tuned.

Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Her new urban fantasy series, scheduled to begin with the release of Royal Street on April 10 by Tor Books, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter.

Alexandre X. Duchateau Navarrete
1. Lexiel
I just received my copy from Amazon, time to skip work and get reading...
Roger Simmons 1
2. Roger Simmons 1
A Kim Harrison review by Suzanne Johnson - How can my day get any better? Unfortunately my pre-order source has not yet delivered my copy. Makes me wonder if pre-order is a good idea. Happy ending for all the characters may not make all us fans happy. The important thing is the ride. Fans that are still mad over Kisten still read the books. Hope mine is in the mailbox soon.
Suzanne Johnson
3. SuzanneJohnson
@Roger...that happened last time I preordered something as well. Hope it arrives soon :-)

@Lexiel...come back and post your thoughts (sans spoilers) when you finish!
Jack Flynn
4. JackofMidworld
My wife & are both fans; she read Pale Demon a while back but I had it in my huge "read it soon" pile. I dug it out about about two weeks ago and did a little happy dance when I got to the end and found out that I only had to wait a month til A Perfect Blood was due out.
Suzanne Johnson
5. SuzanneJohnson
@JackofMidworld...This is one of my favorite series. I had to start Dead Witch Walking twice before I got into it, but once I did I was hooked. It's on my preorder list now :-)
Alexandre X. Duchateau Navarrete
6. Lexiel
At the end of Pale Demon, I was afraid that that silver band marked an attempt to cancel out the amazing things that had happened and bring back the books to the early Earth-magic only Rachel.

After reading here that the series is supposed to end at 12, I started to get reassured, and now that I'm done reading A Perfect Blood, doubly so.

There's a ton of character development, and throughout the book we get to see the changes started in Pale Demon take root in all the characters lives. Things are definitely changing quite a bit.

The premise is indeed darker, but the overall feeling I get from the book comes more from those changes in the lives of Rachel and her friends. A lot of anger and frustration as they're trying to adapt and accept their new situations. But still manages to make you laugh, taking the edge off gruesome situations.

I'm happy with where this series is headed, and can't wait for the next volume :)
Roger Simmons 1
7. Anonamouse
Disappointed with Book 10. Author seems to have flailed about... Rachel seems incompetent... from unchecked weapons missing 5 out of 6 times, inability to contain prisoners, to beating her 'bodyguard' into unconsciousness, whacking him again as he's already down... lusting all around... not the best edition in the series.
Roger Simmons 1
8. KatoKitty
@7 Anonamouse

Agreed. I was disappointed with Book 10 too. It just didn't capture my attention the way the previous books did. I struggled to get through the book and ended up skimming through certain sections towards the end.

I bought Book 11 (Ever After) anyway, in the hopes that it will be like the earlier books.
Trilliand Traveller
9. trilliand
I love the series but that was my least favourite book of it so far. The first half of it was just stalling until the real action started in part two. Really, you could have just summed up the whole "I don't want to be a demon"-whining in one chapter. Not that Rachel wouldn't have voiced her opinion on that matter in the previous books.

I did not like the HAPA storyline very much in the first place - a very dark corner to be. But the actual low point of the book ist just Rachel being stubborn and stupid in terms of her magic and future. Duh, what did she think was going to happen when she cut her magic off?? So, the book could have been shorter, or just have its focus on other facets of the story, then it would have been an enjoyable read.

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