BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In the 11th installment of the Hollows series, Rachel must fix the ley lines and stop one of the most powerful demons ever in order to save demonkind, and herself
PROS: Lots of action, angst, bombshells…and gargoyles!
CONS: Honestly? No complaints here! Loved it!
BOTTOM LINE: Tension-filled and action packed, Ever After is one of my favorites in the series so far!
As Ever After opens, we find Rachel heading off to Chicago’s Carew Towers to meet Quen, Trent Kalamack’s right hand man, for what Rachel suspects is a job offer. Well, it is, of sorts, but it’s not quite what Rachel had in mind. Quen is afraid that, with his new responsibilities as a father to his and Ceri’s daughter, Ray, and also to Trent’s daughter Lucy, he’s not able to provide the level of security for Trent that he’s managed in the past, and he’s asking for Rachel’s help. If you’ve been keeping up with the series, you already know that Rachel and Trent have a long, very complicated history, and Rachel is adamantly opposed to the idea. She doesn’t quite trust Trent, plus she’s pretty sure that Trent would be insulted if he found out about Quen’s offer.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, in this case, their meeting is cut short with the news that Rosewood infected babies are being kidnapped from the hospital where they are being cared for. With his usual impeccable timing, Trent calls Quen and requests their presence at the hospital, and while there, Rachel witnesses who she thinks is Nick Sparagmos fleeing the scene. Nick is Rachel’s ex and also psychotic demon Ku’Sox’s meat puppet, so if he’s involved, it means big trouble. Rachel also learns that these babies have been treated with the enzyme that blocks the actions of the Rosewood genes, and it’s the infants that have been treated that are being stolen. Oh, and Rachel happens to be the sole survivor of Rosewood syndrome, thanks to the work of Trent’s father. Rachel is about to have her plate heaped high with even more trouble, and the stolen babies are just the beginning.
The ley lines, which are used by demons and witches alike, are in discord, and the demon courts have decided that Rachel must fix them or she will have to die. Rachel knows that Ku’Sox is responsible for the problems with the lines, but the demons are terrified of him (for good reason) and would rather kill Rachel than stand against Ku’Sox. The demons have only given Rachel a few days to fix the lines or she’s toast. She’s determined to not only fix the lines, but she also wants to take down Ku’Sox in the process, and it might take Trent, and his wild elven magic, to do it. However, when Ceri and Lucy are kidnapped, all bets are off, and Rachel will do anything to get them back safe.
If it seems like there is a lot going on in Ever After, it’s because there is, and this is not the book to start with if you’re a newbie. That said, for longtime fans, this will wrap up some very important threads while opening plenty of doors to new stories, and hopefully for Rachel, an end to her loneliness. Ivy is pursuing a relationship with Nina (the living vamp with an undead rider from A Perfect Blood), and even Jenks seems to be moving on. As a result, Rachel is feeling even more isolated, but there are a few powerful folks that have her back. Quite a bit of this book explores Rachel’s developing feelings for Trent and even, to her great surprise, the affection (platonic, but affection nonetheless) that she has for Al. Kim Harrison has hinted at Al’s past in other books, but he becomes much more of a sympathetic figure (as do all demons) in Ever After and gives us much more insight at elf/demon politics and the need for the two races to come to some sort of truce, or at least an understanding.
With Ever After, Harrison has presented an emotional, game changing entry into what is already one of the best urban fantasy series out there right now. Rachel is much surer of herself in this one, and while she does have her moments of indecision and some healthy self-doubt (things get pretty bad at times), she’s at the top of her form magically and she’s not afraid to let her demon flag fly. Also, one of the best things about Ever After is we get to meet the gargoyles. You already know Bis (who has a huge part in this), but the big guys (and girls) are a delight! If you’ve been wanting a book that centers around Rachel and Trent, you’ve got it with Ever After, and expect a few bombshells along with way. Tension-filled and action packed, Ever After is one of my favorites in the series so far!