Review: The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12)The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Supernatural superhero Rachel Morgan must counter a strange magic that could spell civil war for the Hollows in this sexy and bewitching urban fantasy adventure in acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison’s Hollows series.

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 this dark necromancy before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and all-out supernatural war breaks out.

Rachel knows of only weapon to ensure the peace: ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils. And no one know better than Rachel that no good deed goes unpunished . . .

Warnings: physical violence, kidnapping and experimentation

Note: Not a YA novel

With Rachel basically ringing the elven Goddesses doorbell in the ending of the last book, and also that it was demon-focused, it seemed natural that this book would be elf-focused. Of course, with Trent in Rachel’s life with her as his temporary security and the two of them trying to keep their hands off each other, things were already leaning towards complicated elf politics. But then, a new threat arises in the form of magical misfires occurring all over Cincinnati and the Hollows, and coupled with the undead vampires falling to sleep, the power hierarchy is descending into chaos. In the initial confusion the only thing they know is that the unfocused magic waves are somehow attracted to Rachel, and originating from her line, but not due to anything wrong with it. As Rachel tries to adjust to this new dimension of magic reaching out to her, we also get a more involved view of the magic system of the series.

With the occasional inter-species squabbles breaking out over the series, we already knew that the balance of power in the city is fragile and honed over decades. When this balance is threatened, though, the city descends into anarchy, and Rachel has to once again risk personal safety to save the world. One thing that delighted me is that this time, Rachel has the backing of almost all her allies to fix this issue, a concerted effort on everybody’s parts to keep her alive and safe, as well as end the issue plaguing the quarantined city. Of course, this means there are a lot of ‘moments’ in the book as well, as well as some relationships that have to change. Ivy’s girlfriend Nina is still being hounded by Felix, her undead master, who continues to be a headache even when other masters are asleep; Ivy’s and hers relationship gets more pagetime in this, as does their role in the plot. David makes an appearance again, and so does his pack, the place in which Rachel has to re-evaluate. And finally, Rachel, who initially looked to the demons for a solution, has to refrain from keeping them in the loop, because of their history with elves.

Finally, coming to the romance, yes, Trent and Rachel have to fight a lot to be at each others’ side. Being from warring species, their relationship is frowned upon by both elves and demons; in this book, they both have to weigh how much they are ready to lose to be together. Trent’s role in elven politics is threatened, and Rachel – well, that is a spoiler. Suffice to say, even with all that chemistry and longing, there’s a mountain to climb, and with no assurances for the future. The other romance, Ivy and Nina make strides in this one, but their love is still being threatened by Felix’s claim on her; the book makes a point to have their story in this plot specifically because of the larger issue of vampire culture and how it mistreats living vampires. Throughout the series, we have seen the reasons for why the undead masters are harmful, but this book gives the unfortunate reason why they are needed.

Most of all, though, I loved the magic in this book – Rachel encountering raw magic and learning to harness it was a journey! I won’t go into too many details because the fun is in learning through the story, but it was like Rachel had a squad of powerful children to manage. That whole arc was done so wonderfully, even if it was very confusing in the beginning because the concepts weren’t clear even to Rachel, but as it went on, I was awed by how it was developed into the existing magic system of the series, and also had emotional development attached to it. It also gave a chance for Newt to shine, even in the few scenes she has in this book; while Newt has been growing to be a parental figure for Rachel for the past few books, this one really gave a new connection to the two of them.

Finally, this has been another amazing installation and I am so eager to see how it all concludes in the next (and final) book.

Previous books in The Hollows series

Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1) The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (The Hollows, #2) Every Which Way But Dead (The Hollows, #3) A Fistful of Charms The Hollows, #4) For a Few Demons More (The Hollows #5) The Outlaw Demon Wails (The Hollows, #6) White Witch, Black Curse (The Hollows #7) Black Magic Sanction (The Hollows, #8) Pale Demon (The Hollows, #9) A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, #10) Ever After (The Hollows, #11)

View all my reviews

Buy links

The Book Depository | Wordery

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