Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Hollow Ending Part II

So, I was mildly wrong last year when I referred to Ever After as the last in Kim Harrison's Hollows series. Seems that title is actually The Witch With No Name, which actually is marked as the "Last of the Hollows". Well, other than a short story due out sometime next month.

Anyway. As the last book ended with Trent in financial and political straights and the demon Aligarept not speaking to her, we join Rachel and company in this one dealing with more limited resources than normal. We also have the undead vampire trying to give living vampire Ivy her first death, in an attempt to get Rachel to reattach their souls. (Which Rachel is loath to do, since it leads to the undead walking into the sun, consumed with guilt over what they've done without one. Think Angel/Angelus, only not as sexy, and much more angsty.) We also see the return of Landon and Ellsabeth, elves with agendas of their own.

Early on, during an escape from one of the traps designed to kill off Ivy, Trent and Rachel find what happened to the undead vampire's souls. Having this knowledge, Rachel, with help from Landon, reattaches Felix's soul under much duress. (Felix being the undead vampire currently acting as puppetmaster to Ivy's living vampire girlfriend Nina.) Which, of course, ends with Felix's suncide.

Mind you, regardless of how horribly the soul reattachment went, the undead still want them back. And Landon is more than happy to provide them. Which has the side effect of undoing part of the curse that binds the demons to the Ever After.

So, basically, it's mad chaos as Rachel is forced to try to save the world again, all while combating the Elven Goddess again.

Without going too far into the resolution here, it's very satisfying to read. Ivy plays a much bigger part in the proceedings than she has in a few books, which is good. (Ivy's been kind of fading from the series once the sexual tension between her and Rachel faded out.) Al gets his stuff together, which is also good, since he plays a trickster's archetype throughout the series. That he's also named guardian of Trent's children adds to his role.

It's kind of odd, looking back over the 13 books of the series, how two of the major protagonists (Trent and Al) started off as fairly nefarious antagonists. That they evolved into complex and compelling characters (even if that transition wasn't always smooth) that we care about is a testament to Harrison's writing skills.

It's even more interesting learning the details of the war between the elves and demons in more depth, seeing how the different strategies in the war ended up with unintended consequences and collateral damage.

In short, while I'm sad to see the series end, I think she ended it well and before it got stale the way other series fiction has become.