Rachel Morgan has been through every sort of heartache and sorrow from the beginning of the HOLLOWS series through A Perfect Blood. Kim Harrison has spared her heroine nothing, and it has been a remarkable ride that has shaped Rachel while telling a interesting, if at times infuriating, tale.
Rachel’s genetic pattern makes her a demon. In previous books, she went through a number of trials to prove that. The unexpected effect of being positively identified as a demon is that society does not know what to do with her. From the beginning of the book, as she tries to get her driver’s license renewed, Rachel is stymied and pushed around by any number of influences. The law enforcement agencies want to know all about demon magic and exactly which spells she can do while other agencies have her classified as dead, which would only really make sense if she were a vampire. This bureaucratic nightmare would be a comedy of errors, but Rachel has already paid a great price emotionally, physically and socially in order to be who she is, so it is actually kind of painful.
All through A Perfect Blood, Harrison weaves a theme of tolerance and acceptance of people who are different. Using the different magical races as her colors, she paints a stark picture of discrimination and outright hatred based on genetic differences. The most direct example is HAPA: Humans Against Paranormals Association. As a group of non-magical humans dedicated to the extermination of the other races, they represent some of the deepest, darkest aspects of humanity. Harrison uses HAPA brilliantly, showing how their serial-killing experiment is based on jealousy and fear.
Another interesting storyline is Rachel’s choice to reject demon magic. After some of the horrible things that have happened in past books and with the threat/pressure of the government trying to establish who and what she is, her choice makes complete sense. With a magically crafted silver armband from Trent Kalamack to help her, Rachel is back to crafting only normal witch magic, but with less efficacy than before. Again, Harrison’s touch is deft as she portrays Rachel’s temptation to again take up her demon magic in order to protect friends and family and to stop a group of psychotic killers. Her struggle makes all kinds of sense, even if at times Rachel frustrates me with her emotional conflicts. It’s always so much easier to see what needs to happen when I am just reading the book, after all!
A Perfect Blood is a good book. There is plenty of action, plenty of angst and lots of moving parts to keep track of. Harrison continues to develop the background and supporting cast even after all these installments, revealing fresh perspectives on why Trent or Ivy or Jenks react as they do. For fans of the HOLLOWS series, this is a quality installment, but not above and beyond the other books in the series. Harrison opened a whole can of worms in this book, and I can’t wait to see what she is going to do next!
Rachel Morgan (The Hollows) — (2004-2017) The Outlaw Demon Wails has also been published as Where Demons Dare. Publisher: All the creatures of the night gather in “the Hollows” of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party… and to feed. Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining — and it’s Rachel Morgan’s job to keep that world civilized. A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ’em back alive, dead… or undead.