By: Kim Harrison
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Copyright Date: February 2012
Number of Pages: 448, Nook Edition
Format: Urban Fantasy
Reason for Reading: I’m a fan of The Hollows series and have been looking forward to this, the 10th book in Kim Harrison’s urban fantasy series.
Rachel Morgan can’t catch a break. She quite literally saved the world in Kim Harrison’s last outing, Pale Demon. So you’d think the world would be at least a little grateful at the beginning of A Perfect Blood, but not so much. As a demon, Rachel is considered neither human nor Inderlander, and as such, she officially doesn’t exist-at least not legally. Makes it difficult to do small things, like say, getting her driver’s license reinstated. With her magic muted by Trent Kalamack’s charmed silver bracelet, Rachel is rendered largely ineffective as a witch and completely ineffective as a demon.
Enter the I.S., who makes Rachel an offer she can’t refuse: in exchange for a valid driver’s license, and therefore an identity, help the I.S. solve a series of grisly ritual killings. Rachel quickly realizes the horrific crimes are human, committed by a hate group known as HAPA, and calls in the human-run F.I.B., who agree to an uneasy joint operation with the I.S.
As usual, Kim Harrison’s world creation is expertly rendered as she continues to add layers to the complex relationship between humans and the supernatural Inderlander species. Here, she addresses a kind of reverse discrimination, reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials if they had a baby with the KKK. The crimes committed by HAPA are horrific, but no less shocking than the unrelenting hateful vitriol spewed by the organization’s members. It evoked a deeply upsetting physical response in me-my stomach literally hurt at some of the depictions of HAPA’s violence.
Rachel continues to experience personal character growth, as Trent urges her to embrace both the “sun and the shadow” in her dual nature. This is another strong entry the The Hollows saga, if a little bit predictable. I figured out one of the biggest twists of the stories fairly early on. Fans of the series, always vocal, may gripe at too much or too little action focused on their favorite character(s), but overall should be satisfied as Harrison closes this chapter, not with a comfortably pat ending, but with gripping sense of unease, dread and suspense for the next installment.