BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A Perfect Blood, the 10th book in the Rachel Morgan urban fantasy series, joins Rachel as she follows the trail of an evil, insidious group bent on using her blood for their nefarious means, while navigating the ins and outs of her new identity as a demon.
PROS: The magic world of The Hollows is fully realized and intricate, and as always, Kim Harrison’s characterizations are rich and engaging.
CONS: There were a few instances where the prose meanders and you might find yourself wanting to get back to the action.
BOTTOM LINE: A Perfect Blood delivers top notch urban fantasy with plenty of action and intrigue, and characters that you’d want to be friends with yourself! Although it isn’t recommended new readers begin the series here, Harrison manages to wrap up the main story line without leaving you wanting, and her writing is in top form.
Rachel Morgan has her hands full. Even though her shunning has finally been rescinded, people are still treating her as an outcast and her new status as demon is leaving her feeling alone and alienated from her witchy brethren. A band of charmed silver around her wrist is dampening her magic, and being unable to tap a ley line is driving her crazy. However, after causing a rip in the Ever After, her demon teacher, Al, thinks she dead and that’s just fine with Rachel. She’ll do just about anything to stay out of the Ever After, and if her bracelet comes off, Al will know she’s still alive. Good thing Trent Kalamack thinks he can get the bracelet off with no repercussions. She’s dubious, but willing to try, tired of not being able to practice heavier magic. She’s also been assigned a bodyguard in the form of Wayde, a hairy were that she’s convinced is inept at his job, and as a result, she’s constantly trying to slip out from under his nose. Meanwhile, corpses are turning up all over the city, and Rachel is asked to help find the culprits. She suspects that HAPA (Humans Against Paranormals Association) is involved, and so do the powers that be (the IS and the FIB). Unfortunately, she’ll have to work alongside a living vampire piloted by a very powerful, much older vampire in order to catch the killers. When Rachel is actually captured by HAPA, the you-know-what hits the fan, and Rachel has no idea how she’ll get out of this one, but if she does, you can bet she’s going to rain hellfire down on those responsible, and with the help of Jenks and Ivy, anything is possible. However, this group is nothing to be trifled with. They want Rachel’s blood to serve their own ends, and the implications of this are horrifying for all supernatural creatures. Then there’s that pesky problem of Al and the rip in the Ever After.
A Perfect Blood is one of the most complex of the Rachel Morgan books (The Hollows), and for the most part, was a rollicking read. The author explores the developing relationship between Rachel and Trent Kalamack (not necessarily romantic), which is fascinating in its nuance, and we also get to peek in on Ceri and the kids, which was charming. Ivy is largely on the sidelines for this one. She’s around, but doesn’t get near the attention versus the other books. However, there is a side story that’s hers alone. Another positive was the interplay between Jenks and the fairy Belle, who’s taken up residence at the church after Rachel killed her family. Very unique and sweet.
The Hollows series is not a light, fluffy urban fantasy series, and A Perfect Blood is rich in subtext and complex relationships. I won’t say this is my favorite of the bunch, but I liked it quite a bit and Kim Harrison’s writing never fails to impress me. Her characters have come such a long way, and in spite of their great strengths, it’s their faults that make them endearing. After all, Rachel has an ego a mile high and can be frustrating in her stubbornness. Ivy is still dealing with years of abuse at the hands of her master and relationships are still a challenge for her, and Jenks is still reeling from his own personal tragedy. What is always evident, however, is the love and loyalty that these characters have for one another, and they’ll do anything for each other. As always, I love the world of The Hollows, and look forward to seeing where the series goes from here.