Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

(The Hollows, #8)
Urban Fantasy
Published Dec. 2010

In New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison's most complex and nuanced adventure yet, bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan fights a deadly battle - mind, body, and soul.

Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter - and lived to tell the tale. But she's never faced off against her own kind...until now. Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment - at worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom, but trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and an ex-boyfriend turned thief.

It takes a witch to catch a witch, but survival bears a heavy price

“Sweet mother of chaos," he breathed. "Rachel, you are indeed one of us. Have your time in the sun. You're worth the extra wait.”

A common complaint with series in general is that the books start to go off course, become redundant, or just plain stupid as more books are released. The Hollows is the opposite. I honestly believe that the second half is even better than the first, and the world and characters just get more interesting with each new release.

I officially dislike the witch counsel. We hadn’t seen them before, only heard of them, but egads, what a despicable group. What they planned to do to Rachel sickens me. There’s a lot of disturbing stuff in this series, and out of everything, even the tortures and murder scenes, this is more disturbing to me on a personal level. Against your will, being lobotomized and stripped of mind, choice, and even freaking fertility! Leaving the person an imprisoned husk. Wow, what monsters.

As another creative technique (Rachel never ceases to amaze me with how she can wiggle out of things), Rachel impresses me with her bargaining, in addition to a cool twist with Trent. Nick and his devious ways have returned, and a fun moment with Al/Rachel/Nick is written – cool. I also really liked the Lee scenes. Before his character didn’t sit right with me but now he’s more enjoyable.

Rachel “high” is just hilarious. Whether it was in the vamp club getting blood sugared, Jenks accidentally buying her street grade brimstone in ‘A Pocketful of Charms’, and now being sedated with darts, she’s a hoot. Here, maybe best of all, she leans out the window singing “I’m king of the world,” almost getting everyone killed, flirts with Lee and his ‘scar’, sits at Al’s feet (the concern from him was thrilling), and compliments Ivy’s eyes. I repeat: Rachel wasted is always fun.

“You try getting through the Hollows traffic with a stoned redhead hanging out the window shouting, 'I'm king of the world!'

I was pleased to see Ceri at first (she’s been missing too long), but her smugness started irritating me. Can anyone tell I really dislike smugness? It’s one of my biggest pet peeves, whether in life or in invented characters. Al times shine, the demon warmed his evil self even further into my soul with his scenes. I’m really digging the mentoring bond developing.

I liked Ivy for the most part but she seriously chickens out when it came to using magic and going with Rachel to help Jenks. I actually liked Trent the last part of the book. This is of course after he pissed me off by getting amused when Rachel is scared of being chemically castrated and lobotomized. >:0

Sadly there’s a character loss which leaves a devastating absence.

There is one sex scene and, while I don’t want a perma-relationship there, I found it hot because it was unique with the discovery with the ley line, and honest during a vulnerable moment. Pacing stays up to speed and a lot happens in this one. It was a delight to shift between reality and the Ever After. Both of the worlds fascinate. As always Kim writes her characters realistically, uses words which make them seep into my mind perfectly, and makes me want the book to never end while I rush through it with anticipation.

If only these books could be endless? But in this life I guess nothing’s perfect.

*This Review was based off a Re-Read*

   Book Quotes:

“Rachel, what do you do? Put an ad in the paper for trouble?" - Glenn

“Rachel, my itchy witch," Al said as he tugged the lace at his cuffs. "We've talked about this. You simply must stop collecting nasty little men. How many do you really need, love?”

“I was cold, hungry, and in a hole in the ground. But at least I had my elven porn, damnit!”  - Rachel

“What are you doing in Nicky's room, Rachel? Oooh! He summoned you to the west coast, didn't he? Did you kill him? Good for you taking care of that little problem! I should give you a bunny." - Al

“Tears could not be equal, if I wept diamonds from the skies. My word silent, though I should howl. Muffled by death, my wings can't lift me high enough to find you. I feel you within. Unaware of my pain. Not knowing why I mourn. And why I breathe alone.”- Jenks

   Other Reviews from this series:

   Publisher Sanctioned Wallpaper:

You can download this free wallpaper from Kim Harrison's Site