LitStack Review: The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

by Tee Tate
The Undead Poolundeadpool1
Kim Harrison
Harper Voyager
ISBN-10: 0061957933

Supernatural superhero Rachel Morgan must counter a strange magic that could spell civil war for the Hollows in this sexy and bewitching urban fantasy adventure. Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan has managed to save the demonic ever after from shrinking, but at a high cost. Now, strange magic is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong, and the truce between the races, between Inderlander and human, is shattering. Rachel must stop this dark necromancy before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and all-out supernatural war breaks out.

Rachel knows of only weapon to ensure the peace: ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils. And no one know better than Rachel that no good deed goes unpunished . . .

A witch, a vampire and a pixy all walk into a bar. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, right? Doesn’t really sound like the makings of what would become an vivid urban fantasy series full of heart, does it? But, Kim Harrison took this oddball crew and turned them into a fully realized version of struggle, triumph and the unyielding journey to endure.

Rachel Morgan is not your average witch. In fact, with the progression of the series, readers discover she’s not a witch at all, but a day-walking demon who scares her enemies and intrigues those stupid enough to think they can take her out.

They are all very, very wrong.

Throughout the series, Rachel has seen friends and lovers become enemies. She’s seen the past resurface time and time again and her enemies transcend agendas to become very important allies.

Rachel’s been shunned, been transfigured, been betrayed, but through it all, she has grown into a woman with the ability to take life’s lumps in stride. In The Undead Pool, Rachel again has to take what’s set before her and work her plans toward the ultimate goal of fixing problems that are not her own.

To borrow from Tolkien, this novel, the second to last in the thirteen book Hollows series, is the big gasp before the plunge, but that does not mean the same detailed, scientific, immensely intricate way in which Harrison chronicles the magic Rachel must utilize or the seat-of-your-pants action is missing. In fact, The Undead Pool, sets up what readers hope will be a perfect farewell to the characters and worlds that they have come to love.

For fans of the series, particularly for those wishing that Rachel and a certain rich elf will make strides toward something more in the way of a relationship, The Undead Pool does not disappoint. I won’t spoil anyone of what exactly happens, but I will say there was a certain chapter that had me squeeing like a 12 year old at a 1D concert. It was a satisfying development that I hope will only evolve in the final novel.

The novel also sees more growth for Rachel and revelations that detail the desolution of relationships and points in play that are necessary to the arch of the final novel.

Any Harrison fan comes to have certain expectations while reading a new installment in the series. For me, I expect to revisit characters that have become very real, very welcoming to me. I expect to turn one page after another without the restraint of putting down my Kindle even at the wee hours of the morning. I expect Rachel and Jinx to make me laugh, Ivy to make me sigh and Trent to make me smile. I also expect an adventure that leaves me breathless for the next book. Harrison did not disappoint any of my expectations and though I cannot wait for the final book, I find myself now not eager to have it in front of me, simply because I know it will be the end.

Full of action, another expectation in Harrison’s works, and complications, The Undead Pool is a refreshing installment that sets up perfectly the thrill ride that the final novel promises to be.

As always, highly recommended.

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1 comment

Lizzie Dee 10 March, 2014 - 6:43 pm

Great review! Though I didn’t realize this was the second to last book (really sad about that revelation!), I completely agree with everything you’ve said. And know that I do know it’s almost the end, everything makes more sense – the progression of Rachel’s relationships with Ivy and Trent especially. Can’t wait for the next one!

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