The 11th volume in Harrison’s popular ongoing urban-fantasy series (A Perfect Blood, 2012, etc.) continues to chronicle the adventures of Rachel Morgan, who is both a witch and a detective.
In Harrison’s alternate universe, set in Cincinnati, the world of magical beings, including vampires, witches, elves, werewolves and demons, has crossed with the world of humans. In partnership with Ivy, a vampire, and Jenks, a pixy, Rachel now works as a freelance investigator. When her friend Quen asks her to watch over Trent, a handsome but stubborn elf who attracts trouble, Rachel bridles at the idea. Then, she discovers that someone is abducting what are known as Rosewood babies, infants stricken with a usually fatal, supernaturally inspired disease. When both Rachel’s close friend and goddaughter disappear, Rachel and Trent have no choice but to put aside past differences and join forces in order to find them and set things right. Along the way, the pair discovers they are up against a merciless and powerful demon named Ku’Sox, who forces Rachel to go outside the realm in which she normally dwells into what is known as the Ever After in order to recover her abducted friends. Harrison’s fans know every corner of the imaginary and intricate world the author has created, including Rachel’s history with Trent, which complicates the path she must take in order to retrieve her friends. Adding to the fanciful characters’ drama is a past when a genetic-manipulation cataclysm reduced the human population and changed the balance of how humans and the others interact. The storyline is populated with insider references that will mystify those who haven’t already been steeped in the world Harrison has created, but for fans of her work, this lengthy and complicated volume will be a welcome new addition to her universe.
There’s no denying this tale is skillfully written, but the author’s tendency to rely heavily on endless, mundane dialogue can be a turnoff to readers who would rather have their stories short, sweet and to the point.