The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison
Series: The Hollows #12
Published by Harper Voyager
Published on: February 25 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan has managed to save the demonic ever after from shrinking, but at a high cost. Now strange magic is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong, and the truce between the races, between Inderlander and human, is shattering.
Rachel must stop the occurrences before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and it becomes all-out supernatural war. However, the only way to do so is through the ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils.
So I realize that I’m diving straight into this without having reviewed the previous ELEVEN (it makes me happy that “eleven” is so close to “elves”) books, but I promise I’ll get to them before the series ends next year.
I’m alsogoing to do my darnedest to not be spoilery for this particular book, but as it’s the twelfth book, avoiding spoilers for the series in its entirety is probably beyond my abilities. You have been dully warned.
Kim Harrison’s The Hollows is my second favorite Urban Fantasy series, and as such, it’s one of the series that I’ve bothered my friends and family into reading. I love it. They love it. Everyone is happy. Especially now that it seems like Trent and Rachel are finally getting their sh*t together.
Since the very beginning, I’ve had a thing for Trent. Rachel’s had half a dozen flings along the way (that have all ended in varying degrees of BAD), but Trent . . . of all the jerk-of-my-dreams characters in the world, he may be my favorite.
SO everyone who shared this perspective was THRILLED a few books back when his and Rachel’s relationship began to change. Ever since then, Harrison has seemed to be leading us towards a happily ever after (HA), but did it finally happen in The Undead Pool?! I’ll never tell.
READ IT. *smirks*
In The Undead Pool, Rachel has been providing security for Trent for the past three months while Quen is in Cali with Ellasbeth and the girls (who are due to arrive back any day now). The sexual tension will blow. Your. Friggin’. Mind. The last night before Rachel is off the job, Cincy goes to Hell—something is causing magical misfires of epic proportions.
At this point I feel it’s necessary to inform you that I’ve been in a bit of a book funk. I don’t seem to be loving much of anything right now, so there’s a distinct possibility that when the re-read occurs next year, I’ll be all “OMG that book was AMAZING.” Right now, however, something just didn’t quite jive for me. Can you guess what it was?
The freaking mystics.
I mean what in the world? An Elvish goddess who’s not really a goddess, but a collective mind made up of energy whose individual thoughts (<—–the mystics) are sentient, but who may have been an actual goddess (tangible person) once upon a time?
AND Rachel has been concerned over the state of Ivy’s soul (or the lack of one when she transitions from living vampire to undead) almost since the beginning, and for probably the last half of the series, she’s been actively trying to come up with a solution. I think that that’s the endgame for The Hollows—finding a way for vampires to keep their souls.
The point is that we’ve all known for a while what was coming.
BUT this lead-in just felt . . . I don’t know, contrived? A previously unheard of sect of vampires out to take over (at the very least) the vampire portion of the supernatural races? We’d never heard of the Humans-Against-Whatever from A Perfect Blood either, but at least when the concept was introduced there were background stories to support its existence. This time it was just BOOM: Free Vampires.
And the whole situation was engineered by what/who?
David at some point in this book says that Rachel saved Trent—that Trent had been headed down a completely different and ruthless path, but Rachel saved him from himself. Maybe Harrison was drawing a parallel about the kind of man Trent would have become without Rachel’s influence. Maybe. Probably. Whatever.
Intentional parallel or not, all the ends and outs of this installment didn’t gel for me the way others have. It was still good. I love Rachel and Trent and Jenks and everyone else, and Harrison upheld all of the established elements of her series—there is nothing out of left field here (unlike a not-to-be-named other series that ended recently). But all the time I spent with my brow furrowed in confusion while I was reading makes this a four star book for me. I wasn’t able to just sink into the story and let it take me over.
Still, The Hollows continues to have a cast of characters that is both original and dynamic, and its conclusion next year is sure to be bittersweet. Don’t let the series’ end catch you unawares—get caught up and soon!