Review: Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Where did you get the book: Netgalley E-arc

What Publisher: Eos/HarperCollins

Release Date: Out now!

Blurb taken from Goodreads:

Condemned to death for black magic and shunned, Rachel Morgan has three days to somehow get to the annual witches convention in San Francisco and clear her name. If she fails, the only way she can escape death is to live in the demonic ever after . . . for ever after.

Banned from the flight lists, Rachel teams up with elven tycoon Trent Kalamack, headed for the West Coast for his own mysterious business. But Rachel isn’t the only passenger along for the ride. Can a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car survive for over 2,300 miles? And that’s not counting the assassin on their tail.

A fearsome demon walks the sunlight, freed after centuries of torment to slay the innocent and devour souls. But his ultimate prey is Rachel Morgan. While the powerful witch with nerves of steel will do whatever it takes to stay alive, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.

Pale Demon is the ninth instalment of The Hollows series by Kim Harrison, and it starts soon after the events of the last book. Wow, I have to say I adored this book and it is definitely back to form and with a bang. Due to the previous events in the last book, Black Magic Sanction, Rachel has been called to the annual Witches Conventions in San Fransisco to clear her name or otherwise she will face banishment to the Everafter  — or worse death — because of her practice of black magic and her association with demons. What is worse is that she only has three days to reach San Fransisco and she has been blacklisted from using airlines and other modes of fast transport. Due to this, she goes on a road trip along with Jenks, Ivy and Trent (who tags along because he is on a mysterious quest in the West Coast). Things never go smoothly with Rachel as she and her friends and frenemy Trent encounter mayhem and demons and psychotic fairies along the way.

I really found that Rachel has grown and developed so much and it really shows in this book. Although I was disappointed with the last few books, Pale Demon was definitely back to form and in fact I think it might be my favourite installment yet. This was the book that tied up previous plot threads and sets up another arc with a few potential intriguing new developments for Rachel.

I especially loved that Rachel’s views on using black magic and the angsting about whether it was evil or not was finally dealt with. This was becoming tiring in the last few books but in Pale Demon she comes to accept that its uses can be a good thing and I loved how this affects her views on demons and witches. There is a wonderful scene later in the book when she comes to this acceptance and it really added to her character development and the fact she finally learned from her previous mistakes.

I also found this entry to the series was more epic in scope; the actions of some of the characters like Rachel and Trent will have repercussions that will affect the wider world rather than sticking to The Hollows and it really feels like that an endgame of sorts is being laid out.
I also loved the insights we had of Trent in this book. He still has moments of acting dubiously which frustrates and angers Rachel and her friends. I did feel at this point that things would be rehashed with Trent but the reasons why he acted this way made sense in his moral ambiguous compass. But there was also hints of something more deeper than the dangerously ambitious cold Elve that he appears to be. Some of my favourite scenes in the book had to be the ones he shared with Rachel and there is definitely a new potential development between them which I adored!

Old faces appear as well new ones, and the plot progresses in a fast pace, with new developments that tie up such as Ivy and Rachel’s relationship which is finalised in a great way. I really found this subplot was dragging over the course of the series. It was great to see some closure. Jenks is another character that has grown and he really shines in this book too. He really provided a lot of the comic relief which was needed in this book especially after the last few installments, and I especially loved the scenes he shared with Trent. I didn’t expect they would connect in such a way but it was surprising and filled with some great scenes.

Pale Demon is definitely a book that is back on track with the long-running series. I literally inhaled the book from the start to the beginning. It was tightly paced, with great moments of humour and action that ends with a great confrontation with a creepy demon. I wished I didn’t have to wait for a full year for the next book because I want to read more!

I give Pale Demon a B+

3 thoughts on “Review: Pale Demon by Kim Harrison”


    I agree, Rachel seems to be growing up. And the whole Ivy issue seems to really be resolved. I’d miss Ivy, but the Will they? Won’t they? blood thing was getting old.

    The detail that made me go huh? What? was that everyone blamed Oliver for Trent’s idiotic move (releasing Kudzu or whatever his name was). Oliver is skeevy, but that demon is Trent’s big catastrophic blunder. And I don’t get why Rachel, who is all about no collateral damage, isn’t more horrified.

  2. I am so with you about the Ivy and Rachel thing – I thought earlier in the series it would have been resolved and then it cropped up again and I found that it was dragged on for too long.


    I think with the raising of the demon- I don’t think Trent realised how bad he would have been especially with the twist of that Demon’s origins.

  3. I stopped enjoying The Hollows a few books ago, but it was a just vague lack of satisfaction. Pale Demon finally convinced me to give up on the series so, ironically, I am finally satisfied. (yes, sarcasm)

    I was all for Rachel growing up, but she seemed to regress at the end. Her musing on the twu-wuv-to-follow with Trent though she was aware his help had come at the cost of many, many lives erased all growth. I found it disgusting in a woman who is supposedly no longer a teenager. And yes, I agree with kate that Oliver was not to be blamed for Trent’s callous decision. The fact that Rachel did blame him shows she simply cannot be an adult and at this point I think Kim Harrison is simply not aware this is no longer an endearing flaw.

    I’m certain the Ivy and Rachel thing is not resolved. It was rebooted countless times already. It does seem there might be less Ivy in the books (like in this one), which is the other reason I gave up on the series. Ivy usually makes Rachel a more interesting character for me, as did the demons before Rachel became too powerful for any of them to really pose a threat. Way to go, self indulging fantasy!

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