Magic, sexual tension, bloodshed and convoluted plotlines color this urban-fantasy road trip, the ninth in the series featuring Cincinnati witch/incipient demon Rachel Morgan (Black Magic Sanction, 2010, etc.).
Rachel’s ability to invoke demon magic has gotten her shunned by her fellow witches, and put her at risk of life imprisonment—or worse. Since she’s on the no-fly list, she’s forced to drive to the witches’ convention in San Francisco for a slim chance at a pardon, accompanied by her vampire roommate Ivy, her pixy sidekick Jenks and, unexpectedly, the elven druglord Trent Kalamack, who has promised to plead Rachel’s case, and (as always), also has his own agenda. En route, they’re pursued by rogue pixies, the only coven member sympathetic to Rachel’s predicament, assassins targeting Trent and a mysterious demon, who, unlike others of his kind, can appear during the daytime. It’s always fun to watch Rachel outthink and outfight what appear to be overwhelming odds. Those who have followed the complex love/hate relationship between Rachel and Trent through several books will be glad to see it finally making some significant progress. However, the method Trent employs to help Rachel retain her liberty is stunningly ruthless. It’s amazing, given her rock-solid sense of morality, that she can still be attracted to him, particularly since the core of the series concerns Rachel’s retention of that morality through her extensive travails and personal transformations. Although Trent exerts himself and suffers significantly to redeem the horrific consequences of his actions, readers may be somewhat put off—probably not enough to skip the next volume, however.
An exceptionally enjoyable ride, if at times somewhat ethically and logically questionable.