Sunday, March 21, 2010

Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

Initially I wasn’t going to write a post about this book since it’s hard to find yourself disappointed with something you looked forward to all year. But after reading The Book Smugglers' review I’ve decided to write one since it made me kind of ranty reading their glowing review. While The Hollows is still one of my favorite series, this books was actually a major let down for me. Instead of the kick ass heroine I’ve come to love, this book’s Rachel Morgan was whiny, morally smug, and had to be rescued far too often for my taste. If you'd like to read a standard book review please follow the link above. In this post I am going to rant a little bit so feel free to ignore this.

Warning - there be spoilers ahead.

I think one of the main problems with this book is the short time span that has elapsed since the first book. In this book Rachel says it’s only been two years since she left the I.S. and I find that shocking. No wonder Rachel keeps doing the same stupid things over and over. She hasn’t had a lot for time for any of her momentary epiphanies to sink in for long. It also kind of cheapened the whole Kisten experience for me to be honest. I know it’s silly since you don’t have be with someone forever in order to love them deeply, but it still bothered me more then I would have ever thought. It also made me less inclined to feel sympathetic towards Rachel for being lonely. Does she have to be in a relationship at all times in order to feel loved? That’s kind of sad when you consider the amazing friendships and family she has.

Another series that suffers from allowing too little time to pass in the series is the Cassandra Palmer series. There’s no shame in allowing some time to pass without writing every detail. This is actually one of the things I love about The Dresden Files. The time between books also exists inside the Dresden world (even if not exactly). After a few books it just starts to feel weird waiting a year for a book only to have it start off exactly where the last one ended. I know that may sound odd to some people, but anyone who’s experienced this knows what I’m talking about.

I also did not understand Harrison’s decision to bring back Nick if not to give him a definite ending in the series one way or another. I just don’t get it. Was it an attempt to show us that Rachel has indeed grown since the time they dated? Well, I don’t think it really worked out that way if that was indeed the goal. Instead their interactions came off more as an “I know best. No I know best” tug-a-war that made them both look ridiculous. Every time they spoke to one another I kept thinking back to the way Trent and Rachel used to interact (which, thank god, they’ve finally just stopped). I guess since Rachel doesn’t have Trent or Al to feel morally superior to Harrison had to drum up someone to make Rachel feel better about herself.

My biggest issue with this installment though has to be the story line with Pierce. Seriously, wtf? Their entire relationship felt forced and the second I read that Rachel and Pierce had to spend the night alone in the woods I wanted to throw down the book. Look, I can understand the pull Rachel would have towards Pierce. I totally do. Teen crushes are hard to shake off, but if this gets dragged out for books I think I’ll have to give this series a break. The whole thing just grates on my nerves. Teen crushes are for a few random hookups. But then, usually reality asserts itself and you realize that you’re not the same person you were are a teenager and that there is no hope for a genuine relationship. Fingers a thousand times crossed that this is the case. Along with Nick, Pierce seems like a convenient way to make Rachel feel morally superior. (At least Rachel’s not as bad as Pierce right?) Also, I really didn’t need to know the size of Pierce’s (or more accurately the dead witch whose body he resides in) junk.

This sounds kind of harsh huh? I just can not believe the story line with Pierce. It pretty much ruined the book for me (though I still liked it overall). I feel like there was a major shift in Rachel’s perspective in The Outlaw Demon Wails and the last two books have just been steps backwards for her character. The whining is starting to piss me off rather then garner any sympathy from me for Rachel’s plight. With the exception of her situation with Ivy and her acceptance that she can twist demon curses there hasn’t been enough character growth. I also can’t even know for sure if Ivy and Rachel have finally grown since Ivy was practically missing from this book. If it wasn’t for the situation with Jenks Rachel’s partners would have been missing for the most part. I don’t read eight books in one series because I can’t find enough books with “me against the world” plots. I read this series because I’ve grown to love the characters. This is why people can’t seem to give up books like Anita Blake even though they’ve deteriorated to the point of being almost unreadable.

I know this post makes it sound like I hated this book, but I didn’t In fact, this book is at least a 7 compared to all the other books out there But compared to Harrison’s previous work, this book unfortunately falls short. I think part of the problem is that I expected more so I was easily disappointed.

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