I have enjoyed Kim Harrison's books so far, it's been a fun playground, but if this book is any indication of future work to come, this may be my last foray into The Hollows. I was going to give this book a 2, then I realized I had almost nothing good to say about it, and thought a 1 was sufficient.
***SPOILERS TO FOLLOW***
The things I liked (what little there was):
Bis is the bomb, such a protective little tyke, it was great to see more of him and get tantalizing hints of his role in things to come. I'm very, very curious to see what sort of part he'll be playing in Rachel's magical development. Obviously a unique one.
Jenks is always a ray of sunshine (or fairy dust), even if he was getting just a little repetitive here. Potentially my favorite of the good guys these days. Oh, and Ford was fun to play with, since he's possible the ONLY male in the entire series Rachel hasn't developed a sexual crush on... yet.
Rynn Cormel. I was interested to see what was going to be done with this character and I wasn't disappointed. I had hoped Harrison wouldn't confine Rynn to happy-go-lucky, good-guy vampire tricks, and she doesn't. He's not quite a bad boy, but he's a very real and dynamic character, made even more interesting by being what he is: lacking a soul and still somehow thriving, if an undead vampire can be said to thrive.
Glimpses of Al and Trent (as they are by far the most interesting mysteries still floating around in this series) were of course, very welcome, and very interesting.
The reasons this is the worst book of this series:
The number one reason: Pierce. I mean, come on now, not only is he a character who ONLY got introduced in a short story, and is spoken about in this book as though he's been there all along, but his importance to Rachel is so contrived that it's laughable. I mean, seriously, we are only now (in book 7!) finding out that ALL ALONG, Rachel has been hedging all her bets against this man, and THAT is the main reason she can't land herself a decent relationship? Oh. Please. I was so disgusted reading about how 'all this time she's been measuring all the other wanna-be's up against him' that I just about had to stop reading. On that note, if you're going to introduce a main character in a short story and then go on like everyone knows who he is, the least you could do is include the short in this book somewhere...
The number two reason, and I never thought I would say this: Rachel. Is it just me or is she getting less and less interesting the longer this series goes on? If she does the 'woe-is-me' routine, or talks about how her life sucks, or it's all her fault people are A) treating her badly or B) leaving her, one more time... I try to be sympathetic, but let's be honest, she gets herself into these situations more often than not. There's a fine balance in writing angst, and this one tipped way too far into the depressing side. And I begin to wonder if Rachel really will ever learn, because one minute she'll be talking about how she's going to change, and then the next minute she's back to doing something stupid (like chasing Banshee's down dark alleys solo when a few pages previous she was talking about how witches are no match for them). I'm beginning to see some stagnation in Rachel as a character.
And btw, I thought she and Ivy had come to an understanding, if not resolved the (possible) romantic issues? Then why is it being rehashed for the billionth time here? A direction really needs to be chosen and stuck with between those two. It's getting seriously annoying, and how sad is it when the two main characters of a series are the most irritating parts of it?
The Banshee story. This book's main B-plot involves a brand new species being introduced into the Hollows. Frankly, I was unimpressed. From the eye-catching title, I had expected far more work with Al (who really only shows up at the end), or at least SOME continuation of the previous remaining loose ends. Aside from Kisten, there was almost none of that here. I realize the author is trying to take the series in a new direction, but so many species and mini-character have already been introduced in the Hollows that, frankly, reading about an unsympathetic Banshee who (like many others) is trying to kill Rachel, was just uninteresting. Glenn and Eddings were fun though.
Marshal. I never cared for his character much in the first place, but I have to admit his exit from the series felt especially strange. If I didn't know better (ahem), I'd say he got shoved out to make room for another love interest. But there wasn't one in this book, right? Oh, wait!
Kisten. Um. Really? The mystery that's been stretched out over maybe three books now? An entire novel dedicated to answering it (and dealing with Banshees... who have to be the most unsympathetic characters that Rachel somehow manages to be sympathetic too. And on that note, you couldn't care less about Banshees killing a family for sustenance, but you'll hate Trent until the day you die for safekeeping his entire race? Alright then...) So the mystery of Kisten.. is no mystery at all. In fact, it's a fact that probably could have been discovered and explained on a side-note, and avoided all the build-up that eventually lead... nowhere. Hey, not everyone can die in a blaze of glory, but I figure a huge opportunity gets missed when you decide to blow it up this big and then crash it with no interesting resolution what-so-ever.
There are many more things, but it would be crying a bit too much to name all the minor details behind my disappointment with WWBC. In summary, definitely the worst book in the series, and thank goodness I didn't actually spend money on it. Hopefully not a sign of things to come.