The ever after, the demonic realm that parallels the human world, is shrinking. If it disappears completely, so does all magic. It’s up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to avert catastrophe and keep life from changing… for the worse.
While saving the world is important, it isn’t Rachel’s only motivation. There’s also the small fact that she caused the ley line to rip in the first place, setting off a chain reaction of unfortunate events. That little mistake has made her life forfeit unless she can fix it. It’s also made her more than a few enemies, including the most powerful demon in the ever after—a terrifying entity who eats souls and now has an insatiable appetite for her. He’s already kidnapped her friend and goddaughter to lure her out, and if Rachel doesn’t give herself up soon, they’ll die.
But Rachel has more than a few impressive and frightening skills of her own, and she isn’t going to hand over her soul and her life without one hell of a fight. She’s also got a surprise: elven tycoon Trent Kalamack. With this unlikely ally beside her—a prospect both thrilling and unnerving—she’s going to return to the ever after, kick some demon butt, rescue her loved ones… and prevent an apocalypse before it’s too late. Or, at least that’s the plan…
Warnings: physical violence, mentions of slavery, implied torture, child death, significant character death
Note: Not a YA novel
You know, it is weird that of all the books I reread in the series, this one was the one where I couldn’t remember a thing? Considering it was read the last of all of those, it feels like I should remember it, but I barely recalled even reading it until I saw it marked as ‘read’ in my list, and with a 5 star rating. I mean, the rating was justified and confirmed with this reread, but I wish it had stuck by me like book 9 did.
Anyway, back to the book: moving on from the whole mess with HAPA, Rachel is trying to get her runner life back, but being a demon isn’t great for the good kind of business. With Ivy spending time with Daryl and Glenn in Flagstaff, its only Rachel and Jenks and his kids, and disrupting her peaceful-ish life is the fact that she is still working on learning how to repair the leak in her life, a situation that isn’t helped that her gargoyle Bis is too young to teach her how to ride the lines. Complicating this is Ku’Sox, who being recently confined back to the Ever After by her curse, takes revenge on her by damaging her line and framing her for it. Now, Rachel has a deadline, and the demons are being coaxed by Ku’Sox into giving her an ultimatum, while he offers them an escape hatch in the form of Rosewood babies.
The plot in this book is pretty straightforward, a marked change from the multi-layered plots of previous books, and while it has minor elements of smaller storylines, there is no doubt that the collapse of the Ever After and the subsequent extinguishing of magic in Reality are the imminent threats. Rachel is facing up against the strongest demon created and the cherry on this cake is that he is psychotic to boot, so it is not like he can be negotiated with. When even Al gets put out of commission, she has to turn to the elves, namely Trent and Quen to back her up in this task, and during the course of this, certain facts about the elven-demon war come into play. The book also marks a sort of look back on how far they all have come – like, could you imagine the Rachel from, say, book 1, trusting Trent with her life? Or a fairy and a pixie being friends? Heck, even Trent and Jenks being pals with each other was such a turn of events!
I’ll leave off the discussion about the magic in this book, because there’s a lot to speak on that subject and this review would be too long. Shortly, though, it is about Rachel accepting another form of magic, and also about her choosing to trust Trent. The relationship between them had changed in the last few books, with their road trip and then that whole HAPA mess! Rachel is awkward around him now, and while she had been aware of his good looks before, now she is finding it difficult to not want more; Ellasbeth’s re-entry into his life (due to circumstances) rudely remind her that such a thing would be difficult. Still, there’s a will-they-won’t-they vibe permeating their interactions throughout the book, aside from the delicate yet jovial rapport between them.
As this plot is focused on the demons, can I even go without discussing Al? Al has come so far in terms of his relationship to Rachel – from being her nemesis, to a reluctant co-conspirator, to shaky allies, to their easy companionship now. Rachel has known him more better now, and in this, another aspect of his and the demon’s pasts come to light. I must add, though, that I felt it weird that the same species that were once slaves now traffick familiars like the same (and Al especially is a slaver), even if it has been thousands of years and they were stuck in a place like the dead Ever After. Still, the history of the elven-demon war plays a role in this book, as does the working of the ley lines and the formation of the Ever After. I am interested in that little tidbit at the end – about the lines being sharper – and what it means.
Aside from those relationships, there were other details that the book explored. Ivy was mostly in the background for this book, but her life is still a part of the story; while I am sad that the only polyam ship in this book didn’t work out (and also, specifically, the loss of Glenn, who I liked), I am invested in Nina and Ivy being a couple, too. The vampire soul problem continues to be sidelined for now, but then again, Rachel HAS been busy adjusting to demonhood! Moving onto to lighter things, I absolutely loved Belle and Jenks in this book; while she is not taking a romantic place in his life (at least not yet, plus I don’t think Jenks has it in him to see a fairy in that light), their friendship and banter are wonderful. That scene of the black outfit with bells was cute, and I know Rachel is already cheering for them to be together, in whichever way they can. Also, the gargoyles in this book! Bis is a delight as always (I love that kid!) but the other gargoyles appearing in the book was also a nice addition. What wasn’t a nice addition was Nick, because I swear I was gritting my teeth in every scene he was in; how did the token human survive so far ugh!
Anyway, in finality, I think I liked the fact that this book made for an engaging storyline with one major plotline, as opposed to the multiple plots threads that are a theme for this series. I wouldn’t have thought it something to be attempted this late in the series, considering there are so many plot threads to tie up, but it made it work wonderfully.
Previous books in The Hollows series