Ever After (Rachel Morgan #11)
January 22, 2013 (Kindle Edition)
Blurb via Goodreads (which has spoilers for previous books):
The ever-after, the demonic realm that parallels our own, is shrinking, and if it disappears, so does all magic. It’s up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to fix the ever-after before the fragile balance between magic users and humans falls apart.
Of course, there’s also the small fact that Rachel is the one who caused the ley line to rip in the first place, and her life is forfeit unless she can fix it. Not to mention the most powerful demon in the ever-after—the soul-eater Ku’Sox Sha-Ku’ru—has vowed to destroy her, and has kidnapped her friend and her goddaughter as leverage. If Rachel doesn’t give herself up, they will die.
Forced by circumstance, Rachel teams up with elven tycoon Trent Kalamack—a partnership fraught with dangers of the heart as well as betrayal of the soul—to return to the ever-after and rescue those she loves. One world teeters on the brink of interspecies war, the other on the brink of its very demise—and it’s up to Rachel to keep them both from being destroyed.
I was a little out of sorts with my most ultimate supreme favorite series last year, but I’m happy to say we are BACK, people. Back in black, set to go and pining once more beyond belief for the next book already. And that means that the next book could possibly be the last. Harrison’s FAQ page says 12-13 and her “prerogative”…Ever After is book eleven. SOB.
I was really happy to see that this book wraps up an ongoing plot thread in the overall series arc, mostly because said, er, demon was getting beyond ridiculously pesky and tiresome. The book follows the basic premise that Rachel Can’t Stay Out of Trouble to Save Anyone’s Life Let Alone Her Own, but thankfully this time it felt more cohesive and with Rachel growing in control of the situation and ultimately triumphing. There’s really nothing I like more than for her to literally kick ass and take names.
I think one reason the book worked so well for me is because Ivy is absent for a good bit of it, though I won’t say why. I’ve grown more than a little unappreciative of her emo vampire problems, and it grates on my nerves a little that Rachel is still expected to find Ivy’s soul for her or some such ridiculous nonsense. Talk about the ultimate price of friendship. Given all that, it does put Rachel in a bind to have a powerful friend unavailable when the shit hits the fan. This time someone is stealing witch babies once infected with the Rosewood syndrome (the same syndrome Rachel had as a child) but that were showing signs of improvement. When Rachel and Trent visit the hospital and Rachel sees her sceavy ex, Nick, fleeing the scene, she knows exactly who’s behind it. I’ve got to say, as much as I loathe Nick’s character, there is something utterly fascinating about watching a selfish douchwaffle like him continue to be a selfish douchewaffle. I prefer that over Ivy’s pseudo-sexual blood lust emo problems? I know, I can’t explain it. Let’s just say Nick manages to up the entertainment this time. It’s possible there’s just nothing better than watching a douchewaffle get what they deserve.
We could tell from the previous installment (and a little before it, too) that Rachel and Trent have been growing closer, and not just when it comes to business. I remember loathing him, almost as much as I do Nick, earlier in the series, thinking there’s no way Rachel should ever have anything to do with him. Let’s review some of Trent’s less finer qualities: he’s the biggest producer and dealer of the most nefarious drug in the city, brimstone; he’s a consummate thief and liar if it’ll get him what he wants; he’s constantly putting Rachel in danger and expects her to do so, cuz, hello, would not be him in immediate danger; he tormented her as a child….the list could go on. Never in a million Hollows series years would I ever have imagined these two in a romantic light.
Until now. Trent is changing. The only question is, are those changes enough? Rachel continues to struggle with these feelings and growing attraction as she gets involved with him one more time to figure out how to stop Ku’Sox from destroying the demon world of the Ever After and moving onto reality (aka, Earth) next. The horrific happens when the nasty demon kidnaps Ceri (Trent’s bodyguard’s wife and Al’s used-to-be familiar) and Lucy, Trent’s daughter. Suddenly, Trent is desperate to save them and Rachel is once again left in the cold, bitter dark when the infuriating elf takes the situation into his own hands.
This was a really hard installment. As much trouble and danger as Rachel’s gotten into, those she loves sometimes being drawn in, too, we’ve not really had that many deaths of important characters in the series. I have to say that the way a death was handled this time was a little too sudden and, frankly, poorly handled. It was like an afterthought. While I realize it happens in the midst of all the danger with plenty more for Rachel to deal with after, therefore not allowing for much grief or talk of said death, it was kind of like, Oh guess what? Yeah, afraid that happened. Behind the scenes. I was totally unprepared, but that’s not the issue. It was like it happened, move along, nothing to see here. Because we didn’t see it happen. So frustrating.
Other than that, the book was (mostly) smooth sailing for me. The action was nonstop, thrilling and only felt weighed down when Ivy does finally come back on the scene with her issues clouding the main point of the book. There is a rather obvious point in the book that jarred me a little with its Next Book Topic flag waved in the middle of an important showdown with Ku’Sox, but I tried to ignore it and get on with the goodness. This means, though, that the last or next-to-last book in the series might be taken up with my least favorite subject: Ivy and Her Issues. Buuuuut, thankfully the rest of this book manages to wow, the ending in particular. I feel like other fans of the series will be just as pleased.
SO THEN we have a great final scene involving Rachel and Someone I Shall NOT Name cuz it’s good and you, fellow reader, should enjoy it for yourself. It made me feel a little sigh-y and breathy and hopeful for Rachel’s happiness levels. Other great features in this book were the gargoyles, who thanks to the broken ley line Rachel has to fix, are major players this time (Love you always, Bis! That’s Rachel’s own young 50-year-old kidlet gargoyle). I loved Al, as usual. He’s the bestest shithead of a demon you can’t help but love! I was rather put out with the whole of demonkind, though, for their continuing making of Rachel into their scapegoat. No respect for them a s whole because damn do they tuck tail and hide at the slightest sign of trouble. Not to mention they are gullible as hell. This is supposed to be some kind of ancient, powerful race? Weren’t they smart at one time?
All that aside, I am totally back on track with my fave series. It was nonstop fun, not a little sad at times, absolutely breathlessly thrilling at others – in other words, the kind of entertaining roller coaster read the series usually is. We get to learn new things while, as usual, staying true to past events and seeing how it all weaves together. Harrison is a master writer at keeping her series cohesive, fun and engrossing. I can’t wait for the next book and if it really is the last, I’ll be starting the series over from the beginning and continuing to feast on the best urban fantasy series out there.