RACHEL MORGAN IS BACK–AND THE HOLLOWS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.
What happens after you’ve saved the world? Well, if you’re Rachel Mariana Morgan, witch-born demon, you quickly discover that something might have gone just a little bit wrong. That the very same acts you and your friends took to forge new powers may have released something bound by the old. With a rash of zombies, some strange new murders, and an exceedingly mysterious new demon in town, it will take everything Rachel has to counter this new threat to the world–and it may demand the sacrifice of what she holds most dear.
Warnings: violence, major character death, mention of child sacrifice
Note: Not a YA novel
While the ending of The Witch With No Name had already given us a good resolution and even an epilogue that was set far in the future, I was missing the characters, so it was heartening to see them back. This book, however, takes place before that epilogue, as in, it picks up 2 months after Rachel creates the new Ever After, and Cincinnati and the Hollows are still getting used to the fresh new changes wrought upon the world, and Rachel is back in trouble with a target on her back.
Changing the world in the last book meant that Rachel had freed the demons, and they are now free to walk in daylight on this side of the lines, and also have a home back in Ever After (which is not as spacious but they do have a home) and there’s a new Elven goddess and Rachel is cut off from her gargoyle because she has had her aura tuned. The elves can’t perform magic because Goddess-Newt isn’t listening to them, and the Elven Council, especially Landon, is trying to shift all the blame for all the stuff that they did onto Trent and Rachel (that whole vampire soul thing). Rachel is a hero to some (the ex-familiars who were freed) and pariah to others (most of the Inderlanders and humans). It doesn’t help that being one of the 3 demons in the public eye (Al and Dali being the others), she is being blamed for the rest of the demons’ presence in reality; she’s on thin ground with the demons themselves because of her use of elven magic.
As for her relationship with Trent, there are complications – her presence in his life means his political power is weakened, and she feels bad about it. Things adding to her insecurity are the fact that they can’t have kids (which is the crux of the elven council’s issue with them), and that her profession means she doesn’t want to bring danger to his door for the sake of his daughters. Trent is also working to make her feel part of their family, and they have a tentative co-parenting situation with Ellasbeth going (who has becomes marginally tolerable by now); Trent and Rachel also basically adopt another kid, a teen who is to be Landon’s successor, and I loved seeing them try to parent a teen (who is also politically powerful), while also being wary about letting him in. There’s a new character Hodin, in whom Rachel finds a kindred spirit and also a partner for experimentation in spell modification. The main antagonist is a new/old kind of magic that causes discord, the presence of which plays off nicely with the tension in Rachel’s and Trent’s relationship.
Themes of home and found family are prominent in this book as Rachel, for the first time, has to accept not living in the Church (it is undergoing repairs), and with Ivy leaving Vampiric Charms, it also is a big change for Rachel, Jenks and Ivy who were a trio until now. Rachel and Jenks have to adjust to working without Ivy, and also without a home for the moment, and with jobs tough to come by due to Rachel’s pariah status, it is going to be a struggle for them both. Both of them could easily live with Trent, but their independence matters and so it will probably be a long road for them to feel at home again. Overall, I loved getting back into the world of the Hollows (even if it had only been like months since I read the last book), and with the new world order and newer magics and old threats coming back, I am excited for this next phase in their journey.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from ACE, via Edelweiss.
Previous books in The Hollows series