Pale Demon injected life into the Hollows series. It was tense, sexy, and all about the characters. A Perfect Blood has a lot to live up to. And it does have a promising plot – witches turning up dead, partially turned into demons, which Rachel is cut off from a great deal of her power.
Unfortunately, A Perfect Blood feels like filler. Pale Demon pushed Rachel and Trent’s friendly and adversarial relationship forward by forcing them to spend a cross-country road trip together. By A Perfect Blood, Rachel is (unwisely) ignoring Trent’s calls and stagnating their relationship. They’ve had sexual chemistry since Dead Witch Walking and Kim Harrison seems to be flirting with letting them consummate their attraction. But they spend most of this entry clumsily avoiding each other.
Instead of Rachel and Trent fireworks, we get the resolution of mostly forgotten plot threads. Did Rachel ever get her pack tattoo? You’ll find out in excruciatingly slow passages with Rachel’s new bodyguard Wayde. Is her relationship with Malcolm really over? Is that actually his name? I can’t remember. He’s so milquetoast I’d forgotten he existed until Rachel suddenly needed his help. If that’s not his name, it doesn’t really matter, because the narrative quickly establishes that their brief relationship is over. Also solved: re-felting Kisten’s pool table. At times, it felt like Harrison had a list of questions people asked her and was ticking off the answers one by one because it would pad out the slight story.
A Perfect Blood wasn’t all filler. Jenks and Ivy are both growing and changing. Jenks might still miss his wife, but he’s moving on. Likewise, Ivy moved on from her never-happened fling with Rachel. Her relationship felt out of the blue, since I don’t remember her flirting with the character in question, but it’s nice to see characters in the Hollows acting happy. It may also be the first mainstream threesome I remember reading.
The action scenes are also well done. A Perfect Blood introduces HAPA, or the Humans Against Paranormals Association. This feels clunky to me initially, since they’ve apparently been around for ages but never been mentioned before. HAPA proves to be a good antagonist, however, so I’ll let it slide. Although they’d only be decent antagonists during this book, which Rachel is at less than half power.
I think there’s life left in The Hollows. There are still intriguing plot threads to play out. There’s some new guys in town. They didn’t play very interestingly in A Perfect Blood – they were a bit of a deus ex machina – but there are possibilities there. (Maybe that’s what A Perfect Blood needed: more Al. He’s barely in this book, but Harrison makes the most of his appearance. He’s got a wonderfully chilling scene at the end.) But with A Perfect Blood, I could see the wheels spinning. Recommended for fans of the series; newbies will want to start elsewhere.
New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison returns to the Hollows with the electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed Pale Demon!
Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the I.S. and the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: a human hate group is trying to create its own demons to destroy all Inderlanders, and to do so, it needs her blood.
She’s faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more, but humanity itself might be her toughest challenge yet.
Read an excerpt here.