Joint Early Review: Ever After by Kim Harrison ★★★★★


Ever After by Kim Harrison
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Hollows #11
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
ISBN: 978-0061957918
Page Count: 512
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: ARC - Thank you Harper Collins!
Reviewed by: Lynsey/Janice
Synopsis: The ever after, the demonic realm that parallels the human world, is shrinking. If it disappears completely, so does all magic. It's up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to avert catastrophe and keep life from changing... for the worse.

While saving the world is important, it isn't Rachel's only motivation. There's also the small fact that she caused the ley line to rip in the first place, setting off a chain reaction of unfortunate events. That little mistake has made her life forfeit unless she can fix it. It's also made her more than a few enemies, including the most powerful demon in the ever after—a terrifying entity who eats souls and now has an insatiable appetite for her. He's already kidnapped her friend and goddaughter to lure her out, and if Rachel doesn't give herself up soon, they'll die.

But Rachel has more than a few impressive and frightening skills of her own, and she isn't going to hand over her soul and her life without one hell of a fight. She's also got a surprise: elven tycoon Trent Kalamack. With this unlikely ally beside her—a prospect both thrilling and unnerving—she's going to return to the ever after, kick some demon butt, rescue her loved ones... and prevent an apocalypse before it's too late. Or, at least that's the plan...


LYNSEY'S REVIEW

Kim Harrison is the reigning Queen of Urban Fantasy!

One of the most highly anticipated reads of 2013 for many people, Ever After by Kim Harrison most certainly will not fall short of expectations. It will, in many areas, surpass them. It will also shock, it will thrill, and my goodness it will entertain. An outstanding instalment, easily replacing any and all past favourites as the new pinnacle of the series...so far.

As is usually the case, the story picks up a couple of months after the events of the last book, A Perfect Blood, and sees Rachel meeting up with Quen to discuss the prospect of becoming a part of Trent's workforce once again. Only voluntarily this time, and will no bodily threats involved. Which makes a nice change. Rachel's not too sure, though, and perhaps not for the reasons you might expect. It seems she puts more faith in Trent's abilities to protect himself than Quen does these days, and doesn't think he needs anyone else watching him. Quite the opposite, in fact. However, after a drastic and heartbreaking turn of events, the choice about working alongside Trent is taken out of her hands completely. It's now imperative, especially since she feels partly responsible for what's happened.

Fans of the series will recall Rachel's unfortunate experience with a ley line back in book nine, Pale Demon. For me, personally, those last few chapters of Pale Demon were where my appreciation of Kim Harrison's worldbuilding went from thinking she was simply fabulous, to thinking she might actually be some kind of supernatural creature herself. I mean, she must have been to the Ever After in person to be able to describe it so vividly. And not just visual descriptions, either, but the magic, the culture, the social structure, the history, the wars, the continual decline of the demons as a race. Which, incidentally, Rachel has managed to speed up exponentially by ripping a large hole in one of the ley lines. If only the demons thought it was so incidental. Strangely, they're rather annoyed about their impending doom, and in this book they use one hell of a bargaining chip to make sure Rachel fixes her mistake, and fast. The clock is most definitely ticking.

I'm reticent to highlight too many other plot points as I think it's best to just experience it as it unfolds. And it was a real roller coaster, that's for sure. Totally unputdownable with near-perfect pacing. There are some big shocks in store, as I mentioned earlier, some controversial returning characters, plenty of conflict—both internal and external—and a fair amount of introspection for our dear Rache, as well. There were a couple of instances where the plot moved a bit slower, but out of a 500-and-then-some page book, that's really not bad at all. Perhaps even a necessity. Overall, this instalment felt really meaty, with little filler and lots of massive plot twists and character progression that really change the game entirely for the last two books. And of course, being titled Ever After, you can expect to bask in yet more of Harrison's phenomenal worldbuilding for that setting, and also, get some fantastic insight into everyone's favourite demon, Algaliarept. Outstanding stuff!

For the Rachel and Trent shippers out there (much like myself) you'll be pleased with the amount of time spent together in this book. Gone are the days where Trent would make one, maybe two, brief appearances—usually managing to annoy the crap out of Rachel in the process—but it's clear now that, in whatever role, Trent is a part of Rachel's life. They make strange bedfellows in some respects, but in other's, they couldn't be more compatible. What's lovely to see as well is the developing trust between them; something we couldn't have ever imagined coming from Rachel even as little as three books ago. It's an amazing transformation and a fantastic journey Kim Harrison has taken us on. I'm sad to think there's just two teeny weeny little books left in this series, but judging by the ending of this book, they're gonna be good ones! Oh, yeah.

5 Stars ★★★★★
A special thanks to Harper Voyager for the ARC. I read many ARCs throughout the year, but to receive one for your favourite series is a special treat. Like Christmas come early!

And one last thing. Don't forget to check out Kim's blog post here about her book tour competition  for Ever After. By pre-ordering a book at one of two remaining cities still competing—ATLANTA and MINNEAPOLIS—you could ensure a visit from Kim to either Eagle Eye Books in Decatur or Uncle Hugo’s in Minneapolis. First one to reach 150 pre-orders, wins Kim!


JANICE'S REVIEW

Another Hollows masterpiece!

Before I start my review, I would like to give a shout-out to the author. Kim Harrison, you are a genius. Eleven books into your uber-popular Hollows series and you haven't missed a single beat. The series is as fresh and entertaining now as it was when you first introduced us to Rachel and company way back in Dead Witch Walking. Thank you. You deserve a big pat on the back. And cookies. And a parade, complete with floats and marching bands. And....well, you get the idea.

Okay, now that the fangirling is out of the way (LOL), let's get down to business, shall we?

Remember Ku'Sox, that douchecanoe demon we met in Pale Demon? Well, he's back and causing serious trouble on both sides of the lines, and it's up to Rachel and friends to fix what he has broken. To somehow make things right again. For everyone. An impossible task, considering Ku'Sox was created to be virtually unstoppable. Even his fellow demons are afraid to take him on. So is Rachel, but unfortunately, she doesn't have the option of bowing out, and she can't afford to fail.

I know what you're thinking. Rachel is an old pro at this saving the world stuff. She's a kickass heroine who has squared off against several Big Bads over the course of the series, and while her victories may not always be clean or pretty, in the end she always prevails. This time will not be any different. Right?

Yes. No. Maybe.

Stakes are high. Higher, I think, than they've ever been before. Ku'Sox proves early on that he is willing to strike where it hurts the most, and strike hard. I was expecting him to behave badly, but to such a degree? Nope, didn't see it coming, and to be honest, it threw me off for the rest of the book. Suddenly, I was reading without a safety net. I mean, if this and that could happen, then anything could.

It was brilliant. Everything felt brand new somehow, like I was stepping into this exciting, wonderful world for the first time. And that feeling? It changed my entire reading experience. I didn't race to the finish, devouring the pages as quickly as I could. Instead, I slowed down. I bookmarked and highlighted like crazy. I reveled. 

A lot happens in Ever After. A LOT. It's a very busy book filled with all sorts of juicy Hollows goodness. I think, though, that what I liked best were those odd moments when it would suddenly hit me, just how much Rachel's world has changed. It's no longer as simple as making runs and crafting spells or curses. Her life is so big now, so different than it was when the series started. It's been an incredible journey so far, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

If you are a Trent fan like I am, start stretching and warming up now, because you've got a lot of happy dancing in your future. That's right, our favorite elf gets a nice chunk of page time in Ever After, and let me tell you, he makes the most of it! You think you loved him before? You ain't seen nothin' yet. Trent is more open, more tactile, more EVERYTHING in this book, and I couldn't be happier.

Action, emotion, character development, plot twists and surprises - you name it, Kim delivers it. In spades. Ever After is the best Hollows book yet and I loved it from beginning to end. Especially the end. In fact, the entire last chapter has become my favorite Hollows chapter of all time.

5 Stars ★★★★★
**A very special thank you to Harper Voyager for providing me with an ARC.

6 comments:

  1. Great review! My best friend LOVES this series! I'm so glad I can tell her the new book is a good one!
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! It was so good I already can't wait to re-read it in Jan with everyone else!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great review!
    Kim Harrison is a fabulous writer and Ever After is epic!
    Can't wait for January :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm already insanely excited. Your review helps me be even more so. And wow, I didn't know it was over 500 pages. That makes me even more happy.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Clint. Epic is the right word! Can't wait to discuss it properly with everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Erin. I know! 500 pages of pure awesome. Can't beat that :)

    ReplyDelete

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