Happy New Year! The Undead Pool (Hollows #12) by Kim Harrison – E.P.I.C.
The new year wouldn’t feel quite right without posting my review of my favorite series first! I’ve been sitting on this since October.
Let’s kick this off with a few of my favorite quotes!
“And the kiss…A tingle raced through me. Slowly my smile faded. Ellasbeth didn’t know what she had.”
“You’ve had that elf as your familiar for over a year, and he’s not put the sparkle in your scrying mirror even once?”
“Trent leaned back, eyeing us over his scribbled legal pad. ‘You have amazing friends.’
‘I need them to stay alive through my amazing life,’ I said, and Ivy became almost sultry as she pulled herself together in her chair and smiled at Trent.”
So this is the book! It’s the moment of truth for quite a few readers. Do I really need to explain why at this point? Okay, I’ll tell you a story about a witch and an elf…
With pressure building for literally a decade now, that’s a LOT for a book to live up to. With 11 books under its belt, Rachel Morgan has gone through quite a bit. Her ties to the Ever After and its never-ending problems in her life continue. In Ever After she had to save the parallel universe from shrinking due to her faulty ley line. Now her home town has to deal with dangerous magic causing routine spells to backfire, leading to countless accidents, injuries, and pure chaos all over the city. With magic in shambles, the race relations among all species–human and Inderlander alike–soon follow.
Undead vampires are down but not quite out, so Rachel has to figure out what’s wrong with the magic in order for them to restore balance before this madness leads to a point of no return. To do this will require her to tap into wild elven magic. It’s as unpredictable as it is ancient, so I think it’s safe to say our favorite itchy witch has her work cut out for her (the story of her life). Thankfully she has her friends and her favorite elf, Trent Kalamack, who will do all they can to help her.
So how is it? Well, it isn’t just epic, it really is
I’m sure readers will finish this book with lots of feels. I pretty much went through the emotional wringer with this one, but I found myself satisfied with the outcome of the book even though things aren’t perfect. That’s the beauty of The Hollows. Rachel and her friends have to earn everything and it’s a constant fight to keep it together. We’d be in for a truly boring journey if things were too easy. Trent is not featured on the cover of this book for the hell of it. If you like him you can look forward to seeing a lot of him and his life. If you don’t…you’ll still see a lot of him and his life. Either way, we get a sense of how Rachel can and can’t quite fit into it and he into hers. Since they are both adrenaline junkies in their own right the results are fairly interesting, but any long-term prospects will lead to a few roadblocks.
Obstacle #1: Ellasbeth, ooh Ellasbeth. Talk about baby mama drama! Kim Harrison knows how to make this character grate on a reader’s nerves, THIS reader in particular.
Her cute little nickname from Trent doesn’t help matters. Though even I will admit that reading about Ellasbeth isn’t all bad. For someone with so much dignity (supposedly), even she gets pretty desperate and her subtle attempts to one-up Rachel expose her own glaring insecurities. At the heart of it, all I could think to myself is that Trent’s been there, done that and bought the t-shirt, so why does she still try so hard? There are times when you really want to try to like her for the sake of the children, but she does not make it easy. She is here until the end of the series though, so be ready.
Obstacles #2 and #3: The demons and the elves. Elves and demons don’t have the best history and our favorite demon, Big Al, loves to remind Rachel of this. On the other side of the lines, Trent’s elven community is less than thrilled as well. I honestly feel for Al quite a bit here. He is not featured as heavily in this book as he was in Ever After (sorry Al fans, I love him too), but his scenes were really profound and important, further driving home the suffering demons have endured partly due to their past with the elves. I have a feeling this is necessary to help tie up loose ends in the big picture.
But even with those obstacles and that star-crossed lovers element, the chemistry between Rachel and Trent is as strong as ever and it’s high time for a definitive move one way or the other. Rachel still tries to fight it with good reason, but she’s not the only one. Trent understands his responsibilities too, which should be elsewhere. But as the great Phoebe Buffay once said:
There’s real movement here in the overall plot and the potential future of The Hollows and Inderlanders in general. Elves are starting to make their move, for better or worse. Vampires seem to be taking a stand against their undead masters, the I.S. and the F.I.B. both have to get their heads out of their rear ends to work together, and even the werewolves get some time to shine. Fans of David will enjoy his involvement with the storyline, though I found it somewhat bittersweet. Either way, change is on the horizon for the Inderlander community and it all goes back to Rachel in one way or another. I love how it all ties in together.
If you thought we learned enough about the world of The Hollows, think again. The use of the magic here was really interesting and the results turn everything on its head. Wild magic is really its own beast and it is a little refreshing to see Rachel try to manage something other than earth and ley line magic. It’s less tangible making the possibilities feel pretty endless. In this book the state of The Hollows in reality is not far removed from the Ever After with the fabric of civilization crumbling. It’s quite a good character study to see how people react in desperate times.
More layers of characters we thought we knew very well are pulled back, proving once again that Harrison is a master at what she does. You don’t come to the Hollows for cookie-cutter one-note characters. The world and its characters are complicated and ever-evolving. It’s one of the reasons I can’t quite get enough.
Jenks is in top form here. I don’t think he’s been this quotable since the earlier books before Matalina’s passing. Clearly time heals all wounds even for pixies because he provides some of the best laugh out loud dialogue that I’ve read in a quite while from him. Of course he’s not only a source of comic relief. He lives up to the pixy name by being a good judge of character and the all around voice of reason, especially when it comes to Trent and Rachel’s beating around the bush with each other. He says what we’re all thinking. There’s more of the Trent/Jenks bromance that readers of Million Dollar Baby will enjoy too.
So all in all for me this book was indeed epic. I continue to be impressed with its high quality going into the home stretch. There are some truly amazing moments and chapters in this book that will be talked about for a long long time ESPECIALLY a certain chapter that I’m not going to mention here…
chapter 22. Anyway, practically every new book is my favorite since Pale Demon and this one is the BEST yet for sure! Normally I like to dog-ear certain parts to re-read again, but I literally wanted to do that for the whole book. I am grateful for my kindle and it’s lovely highlighting and bookmarking features, or else my tree version of this book would be a mess!
With just one book to go before The Hollows closes up shop I cannot WAIT to see how this all ends now!! I just know that I am so so happy that this is my favorite series. Kim Harrison hasn’t let me down at all and though I’m going to miss this dearly when it’s done, I am 100% confident she will give this series the ending it deserves.
So, uh, should I tell you how I really feel?
*ARC Provided by the Publisher.