Published 2013 448 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
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.
Ever After is the eleventh book in Kim Harrison’s popular Hollows urban fantasy series. The books all follow the adventures of witch Rachel Morgan who works as a freelance investigator of magical crimes along with her friends and fellow investigators Jenks the pixy and Ivy the vampire. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that at eleven books into a series with a long running story arc, Ever After is not a place for new readers to drop-in. If you’re new to The Hollows books, start at the beginning, Dead Witch Walking, and read the books in order. It’s no hardship – this is one of the best long-running UF series there is – so all the books are good, although the last couple have been exceptionally so.
Ever After continues the author’s winning streak and makes not just another strong addition to the series, but gives readers what might just be the best series instalment to date. Series stagnation now seems long past with characters developing more with each outing. Protagonist Rachel has stopped repeating the same (amusing, yet tedious) mistakes and is powering forward with her life, both professionally and personally. The resulting story is a non-stop fantasy thrill ride of dangerous magic and fast-paced action. A one-sitting reading is a distinct possibility – I only took a break to recharge my e-reading device, and if I’d had the battery power I certainly wouldn’t have stopped reading!
The plot revolves around the machinations of Ku'Sox, the psychotic demon that Trent freed from imprisonment a few books back. Ku'Sox is a nasty enemy – he has no morals, wishes the destruction of all demonkind, and is the most powerful demon ever created – meaning that nobody (demon, witch or other) has ever been able to oppose him. Ku'Sox plots to destroy the ever-after by poisoning the magical ley lines and places the blame on Rachel. The other demons know he’d responsible (and lying) but are too cowardly to stand against him. Rachel is left at the top of everybody’s hit lit, a convenient scapegoat for his evil plots.
The demons give Rachel four days to fix the ley-lines and stop the ever-after shrinking, or else they’ll kill her. Ku'Sox has no intention of waiting that long to see her dead. Rachel is willing to stand against Ku'Sox, yet she doesn’t have the magical skill or enough experience to kill him alone and no other demons will fight Ku'Sox with her. It is a no-win situation that she can’t afford to lose, since the fate of the entire world hangs in the balance.
Ever After sees Rachel at her most isolated. Ivy is absent, visiting friends in Arizona, for the majority of the story. Trent is mostly unavailable, Quen is magically injured, and Al is indisposed. The outlook is bleak, and the author doesn’t pull her punches, letting death strike close to Rachel’s heart. The emotional drama is gripping, making Ever After a truly satisfying read. I can’t say too much more without giving away major spoilers but suffice to say that if you are a Hollows fan and haven’t grabbed yourself a copy of this book yet – don’t delay further. Buy, beg or borrow a copy of this book right now, then crack the covers, sit back, and enjoy the best Hollows novel yet.
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