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...
The ever after is shrinking, and Rachel's ley line is at the center of the problem. Her life is on the line if she can't repair it within the strict deadline. Problem is she doesn't know how to fix the line and with the clock ticking she's under a whole lot of pressure. Even worse, Ku Sox is back causing chaos and Rachel is the only one who has the guts to stand up to him, at least on the demonic side that is. Her friends are more than willing to stand beside her, but they just don't have the means to fight Ku Sox and survive. The only one who stands a chance is Trent and that will require Rachel to trust him more than she may be able to. With an entire world at stake can Rachel put the past aside and put her very fate and freedom in his hands?
When I think back to who Rachel used to be, I am absolutely astounded at the sheer amount of growth she has gone through in this series. Granted, that growth has been steadily building over the course of the series. In fact in my review of A PERFECT BLOOD I talked about no matter how much growth Rachel achieves, whenever danger comes around she always goes off "off half-cocked like an avenging angel." However, what really shocked me about EVER AFTER was that seemed to be shifting as Rachel is actually taking the time to take a step back to consider all of her options before acting, even while in danger. In fact there was one point in the book where they had to do a rushed job, and Rachel was literally beside herself because they didn't have time to fully plan things out. And to think, Ivy's planning used to drive her batty! Also, Rachel's perception of the world seems to be starting to show shades of gray as she realizes that everything cannot simply be categorized as good or evil. In fact, her shining purity takes a major test towards the end of the book, and if it hadn't of been a rather unlikely person asking her to not compromise her morals, she probably would have. Of course the object of her anger did deserve the punishment she wanted to give and then some, but it wouldn't have been worth compromising herself, and I'm so glad the person stepped in to stop her. As much as I enjoy seeing her grow and mature, I don't want her ever to lose the shinning goodness that drew me to her in the first place.
I've always loved this series, but PALE DEMON seemed to be the major
turning point where the series went from being very good to absolutely
astounding. So much so, that I was rather surprised when A PERFECT BLOOD
wound up being even better since I just didn't see how anything could
top that road trip. Now, I'm only even more amazed since EVER AFTER
topped them both. I'm just in sheer awe at Kim Harrison's ability to craft such an enriching story and cast of characters. That being said, I also have an almost love hate relationship going on with her books as she never pulls her punches and the raw depths of emotions leave me reeling.
While it is always very exciting to get an early review copy of a book, there are a few downsides. One being that my wait between books is even longer which is rather rough considering just how desperate I am to get my hands on the next installment. The second and biggest downside is that whenever the book is really good or there are shocking events, I have no one to discuss it with. In EVER AFTER there were several major shakeups that have left me reeling even several days later. And that ending, pure torture. But as far as this review goes, to avoid spoilers, suffice it to say that EVER AFTER will keep you on the very edge of your seat with its heart pounding action, bitter heartbreak, and staggering emotions. Simply put, The Hollows series is one of the absolutely top best Urban Fantasies out there, and you don't want to miss it!
(Received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss)