[review] THE OUTLAW DEMON WAILS by Kim Harrison

harrison_outlawdemon_mmpbTHE OUTLAW DEMON WAILS
The Hollows, Book 6
Kim Harrison
2008, EOS/HarperCollins

Plot Summary: When you dance with demons, you lay your soul on the line . . .

In the Hollows, where the natural and the supernatural co-exist—not always peacefully—desperate times often call for unorthodox measures. But bounty hunter-witch Rachel Morgan did the absolutely unthinkable to save the lives of her friends: she willingly trafficked in forbidden demon magic. And now her sins have come home to haunt her.

As Rachel hunts for the truth behind a terrifying murder, the discovery of a shocking family secret is about to throw her entire life into question. And the long-lost ancient knowledge she seeks resides in the demonic ever-after.

But there are some lines that should never be crossed—like the one Rachel Morgan’s stepping over . . . again! [Amazon]

I like the cover of the mass market paperback, and the step-back is equally lovely. The title suits this story– there’s an outlawed demon and he does wail. :o)

Creature Feature: Demons, vampires, werewolves, witches, pixies, elves, and gargoyles.

Worldbuilding: One of the things Kim Harrison does best is worldbuilding. I love that living in a church is both the best and worst thing for Rachel. I love the Hollows, the tomato virus, the ley lines and their link to the demons, and the ever-after.

The hallway was dark, and I jerked to a halt just past my door, frowning. Ivy had put up a sign dangling by threads from the ceiling; clearly Jenks had assisted her. God help her, she had used a stencil, and I snatched at the yellow poster board, reading BEYOND THIS POINT, THERE BE DEMONS in bright red lettering. Crap on toast. I had forgotten about that.

When Jenks had bought the church from Piscary’s estates, he had insisted I pay to get it resanctified, and though I had protested, I eventually agreed to keep the back end of the church unsanctified, as it had been originally. Not all of our clients were living, and Ivy said that interviewing the undead on the porch steps was unprofessional. The result was the kitchen and back living room weren’t holy. In the past, Al had always seemed to know when I stepped from secure ground, and after my wrist had flamed in agony before he showed up to trash Patricia’s charm shop, I figured I knew how he did it. I have to get rid of this thing, I thought, gently rubbing the raised scar. As I hesitated in the dark, weighing my risk, the front doorbell rang.

Characterization: With each book, Rachel develops a little more, grows up a little more, and I love that. But I’m kind of impatient. It feels like her growth is happening so slowly. I have to keep reminding myself that there’s very little, if any, time between books, even though they’re published with roughly a year apart. In ODW we get to see Rachel’s attitude toward Trent give a little, which I thought was about time. She’s awfully hard on Trent. Sometimes he deserves it, but I also suspect if she would ease off, he would too. We also get to see a rebound guy, which was also good for her.

Originality: Another of Harrison’s strengths is her originality. I’d love to learn her secret to this, as she often comes up with interesting twists.

Storytelling: This being the 6th book in a series, it suffers from a common series syndrome: too many characters. I had a hard time keeping track of everyone, catching up with all the background stories, present day stories. I found the story cumbersome; I don’t know how Harrison handled it. I wonder if it might be time to let go of some characters, or at least not show them all in each book. Take David for example. I don’t think we needed to see him at all.  It was almost as if he appeared just to remind us of his existence. Rachel could have found another way to get the information he provided. It’s what she would have done before she’d known David.

Badass Factor: I’d like to be able to say demons, or the humans who play with them, were the stand-out bad asses, but I have a hunch the real bad ass here was Rachel. She just seems to get herself into all kinds of trouble. It’s her super-power. Still, the demons and those who play with them are notable adversaries this time around.

TSTL Moments (Too Stupid to Live): Although she excels at getting into trouble, Rachel is learning not to do stupid things for stupid reasons. She’s almost moved on to doing stupid things for good reasons. But she still stores the splat gun in her copper pots. Once she starts sleeping with it or carrying it with her, then I’ll know she’s learned something.

Notable Quotes:

  • I breathed a little easier. Everything in the guide would take at least twenty minutes. Unless he was working on a sequel. HOW TO NAIL YOUR SHADOW AND LEAVE THEM BREATHING IN TWO MINUTES.
  • For the first time in a long time, I knew who I was and where I was going. And right now, I was going . . . this way. Happily into the ever-after.

Buy/Borrow/By-pass: Kim Harrison has been on my Auto-Buy list since book 1 way back in 2004, but with the changes to our financial situation over the last two years, I can’t justify buying the hardcovers anymore, which turned out okay since the bonus story was included in the MMPB. I’ve heard talk of stories being added to the hardcover releases as well, which is unfortunate. There’s no way I can afford to buy the same book twice. If that’s the case, the hardcovers will have to go on my Borrow list.

Overall, I enjoyed this trip to the Hollows. Despite finding the many intersecting storylines distracting, I was sucked into the story and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. Please, may I have some more?

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One comment on “[review] THE OUTLAW DEMON WAILS by Kim Harrison

  1. I love her books and the new one is ordered and hopefully will get here soon. 🙂

    Only a few HC musts and she is one of them. I hated when the extra came out only in pb since I had bought the HC. Money is tight.

    Loved your review and break down. Thanks 🙂

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