Friday, 31 January 2014

Joint ARC Review: The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison ★★★★★

17285883The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Hollows #12
Publication Date: February 25th 2014
ISBN: 9780061957932
Page Count: 512
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey & Janice
Buy Link: AMAZON / BARNES & NOBLE



Synopsis: 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 the occurrences before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and it becomes all-out supernatural war. However, the only way to do so is through the ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils.


A Wild Magic Ride.

To say this book is highly anticipated might just be the biggest understatement I’ve ever made. I can think of no other series where the author has led readers to such an unbearable edge of anticipation, held them there mercilessly for what seems like millennia, and made them grateful for it. It smacks of pure masochism if you ask me. I had no idea I swung that way, but apparently I’m all for it.

Of course, I’m talking about the Trent-Rachel relationship. What else? It’s quite positively the most addictive, thrilling, nail-biting storyline I’ve ever read ever in the history of ever. And since we’re only one book away from the end of this genre-changing series, it’s time for things to get serious. Isn’t it? Please? Please let it be time to get serious!
Now, you know I can’t actually tell you anything about that part of it. And really, you don’t want me to. You might be thinking you want me to, but you’re mistaken. So just put it out of your mind, ‘kay?

Okay, good.

Moving on, what else is happening in this instalment? Well, lots of things! For starters, strange bubbles of magic are cropping up all over Cincinnati, causing misfires in Inderlander’s innate magic and the spells they cast. It quickly becomes a full-scale epidemic involving the F.I.B , the I.S. and the vampires. So who better to tackle the problem than everybody’s favourite go-to girl, the glue that holds them all together, Rachel Morgan. Luckily, these days Rachel has several sidekicks on standby— none more splendiferous than the most recent addition, Trent Kalamack! And even better, she’s now developed to the point where she will actually accept people’s help gladly. Between Trent’s resources, Rachel’s tenacity, Ivy’s planning, and Jenks’...Jenksness, they’ve surely got this problem in the bag, right?

Well, maybe, maybe not. This might just be the biggest challenge Rachel and crew have ever faced. It’s not just the scale of it, but the unpredictability. How can they prevent something when they have no way of anticipating where will be hit next?

In usual Harrison fashion, the pacing of The Undead Pool is spot on. The story evolves naturally with gorgeous little interludes showcasing the beautiful friendships that have been established over the last 12 books. At this point, reading a Hollows novel is like slipping into my most comfortable jeans. It’s such a warm, delightful place to be, I never want to leave. I find myself watching the percentage on my Kindle increase with dismay. Why can’t it just last forever? I wouldn’t mind, honest! And to think there’s only one more book left...*sobs*

What will we do, guys? What will we do?!

Like the last several books in this series, The Undead Pool is an easy five star read for me, and Harrison’s place in my mind as the leader of the pack is holding firm. I predict this book will be a fan favourite, with several sections highlighted for easy reference and dog-eared from overuse. And trust me, mine will be no exception!

5 Stars ★★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by:


So Worth The Wait! 

I can't talk about the Hollows series without devolving into a gushing, nonsensical, fangirly mess. It's simply not possible. Kim Harrison has wowed and amazed me so many times, over so many years, that at this point if you were to tell me she walks on water, leaps tall buildings in a single bound, or has discovered the cure for cancer, my response would be, "Well duh, of course she has! It's KIM!"

The Undead Pool, though....this is THE BOOK, the one fans of the series have been dying to read for what feels like forever. Those of you not familiar with the series can't understand what we Hollows diehards have suffered. We've been brilliantly and ruthlessly teased, tormented, and outright tortured for so many books now that just thinking about it turns us into blubbering messes. We stammer, forget all the big words we know, and gesture wildly, like the mad people we are. And what's more, not only do we fully embrace the crazy, we feel sorry for all of you who haven't experienced it!

But what, exactly, makes The Undead Pool so extra special and worthy of being crowned THE BOOK of all Hollows books? Let's start with the plot. As usual, Rachel and company have a crisis on their hands, and this time around, it all starts with an exploding golf ball. Magic is on the fritz all across the city, with even the simplest and most innocent of charms turning deadly, and it's not picky about who it hurts, either. Anyone who is anyone in the Hollows world is affected or involved in some way. The danger is everywhere, striking hard and fast and never in the same place twice. Needless to say, tensions are high and tempers are short as everyone scrambles to figure out what's causing the magical mishaps and how to stop them - and naturally, right in the thick of the trouble is our favorite itchy witch, Rachel Morgan.

I loved how big The Undead Pool was, and I'm not talking about the number of pages. Elves, demons, vampires, Weres, the FIB and the IS - they were all there and accounted for. Only the witches were missing, and with so many other peeps involved, I barely noticed their absence. You'd think that with such a diverse cast, the book would feel overcrowded, but Kim expertly juggles all the different characters and groups, giving each a vital role to play in the story without the story itself feeling weighed down or cluttered. What's more, she doesn't skip a single beat while doing it. The book's pacing never falters, the writing is as smooth as ever, and there's a perfect balance struck between riveting action scenes and quieter "human" moments.

There's incredible character development as well. After twelve books, it's impossible for any reader not to become attached, and I'm no exception. I am terribly invested in the lives of Rachel, Ivy, Jenks, Trent, Al, Newt, David, Bis, Edden and everyone else who strides through the pages of the Hollows books. They've all come such a long way since the series started, and they continue to flourish in The Undead Pool. Rachel in particular has matured as a character, no longer recklessly rushing off on her own, straight into the arms of danger. She's impacted so many lives, and you really feel that in this book when everyone comes out of the woodwork to help her. Ivy has changed, too. She's still struggling to be her own vampire, but she's found love at last and even if she has to fight tooth and nail for it (which she does), she's more at peace than I have ever seen her. Or how about Trent, the once-murdering drug lord who has slowly but surely become a trusted friend, ally, and a hero worthy of the name?

Now, you may have noticed I haven't said anything about romance. There's been one brewing for a while now, and the burning question on all of our minds is, "Will they or won't they?!" We're aching to find out if Rachel will get her HEA, and we've got very definite opinions about who she should get her HEA with. And that, my friends, is why The Undead Pool is THE BOOK. After what seems like the longest romantic draught in literary history, Rachel's love life finally gets some attention. As for what happens, and who it happens with.....you don't really expect me to tell you, do you? C'mon now, you know me better than that! But trust me, it's absolutely, positively worth all the years of waiting.

There is so much more I could say and a thousand more praises I could sing about this book, because it's just that good. I've read it twice now and I'm still finding new bits to highlight and bookmark. Pretty soon my entire copy will be marked up, and you know what? I'm totally okay with that.

The Undead Pool is another gripping Hollows adventure that is guaranteed to thrill and enchant fans, and I predict many (if not all) will end the book in a euphoric daze, their faces wreathed in smiles and their minds whirling as they try to process the sheer awesomeness of what they just read. Or maybe that's just me ;).

5 Stars ★★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


2 comments:

  1. Oh wow, wow, wow!!! Awesome reviews!!! I am so sooooo excited to read this one! Kim was one of the first "adult" books I picked up when I left YA due to there being no paranormal YA--aka the Dark Days. But those days are looong over!

    But still, I love returning to these early authors as they continue and wrapup their series. I think I started Kim's just as the second book released, back when we still didn't know what this mysterious author looked like by lack of proper author photo! It's such a shock how much the series has taken off these last few years and now we're nearing the end?! What will we all do?!

    But alas, end it must, I guess. Looking forward to reading this one myself! Already have a copy preordered signed! through B&N and I sooo cannot wait to read this one!

    And again amazing reviews!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jessica! I remember the "dark days" too - and I also remember when urban fantasy was just hitting its stride and we had a bazillion wonderful UF titles to choose from (before the contemporary craze started). Those were the days!

      I don't know what we will do when the Hollows series ends. Cry a lot, I imagine, LOL. We'll have to start a recovery group, and make sure we're all stocked up on booze and chocolate to help us cope with the loss of what is, without question, one of the greatest UF series ever written. I'm excited to see what Kim writes next, though. I am sure it is going to be amazing :)

      I preordered the same signed copy through B&N that you did. Can't wait to add it to my collection!

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