Review: The Undead Pool

by Wench Donna and Wench Angela

The Undead Pool is the next-to-last installment in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series, featuring Rachel Morgan. This was a new-to-me series last year, and I pretty much read all the books one after the other, so I was waiting with much anticipation for the release of The Undead Pool. I looked on jealously at some of my Goodreads friends who managed to get ARCs for the book. I was pretty envious, but restrained myself from trying to dig for spoilers. I wanted to be surprised by what was to come.

Wench Donna and I have written our own mini-reviews of the book, and they just go to show how different our reading perspectives can be. We hope you enjoy reading them; we’re curious to see if your reading experience was similar to ours, and whether you agree or disagree with our feelings about the book.

Here’s the description from Goodreads:
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.

Warning! Spoilers after the jump.

Donna’s Review

The Hollows is one of those series I started reading without knowing much about it. It quickly became one of my all-time favorites. I have mixed feelings about The Undead Pool, since it’s the penultimate book in the series.

There has been a tremendous amount of growth by many of the characters since Dead Witch Walking. In that book Rachel, Ivy, and Jenks form Vampiric Charms, a supernatural detective agency, and together move into a decommissioned church located in The Hollows, an area of Cincinnati. Rachel (a witch), Ivy (a living vampire), and Jenks (a pixie) form a close but off-beat family unit.

By the twelfth book, The Undead Pool, much has changed. Each character has endured a great deal of heartache, and been through many adventures and dangerous situations together. That’s important: the togetherness. They have remained close friends and loyal to each other.

Best friends forever.

I don’t know what Ms. Harrison’s end game is for the final book. There are some loose ends tidied up in this book. I was a little alarmed at how little Algaliarept appears in this installment. Does that mean he has no role to play in the finale? (Hell, no! – You see what I did there?) He is quite upset with Rachel and some choices she makes in The Undead Pool, so he definitely keeps his distance. I think it would be a shame for this to continue, since he has been one of the most interesting characters in the series.

Rachel’s love life has come to the forefront. Her feelings for Trent, and his for her, finally pay off in Chapter 22. As a HUGE fan of the slow burn, I did my dance of joy.

Love the dance moves.

Rachel is a magnet for trouble, literally. Her ley line is being tampered with, and it causes simple spells to misfire with disastrous consequences. She is also being pulled in different directions, as the historic conflict between elves and demons threatens to divide her loyalties and cause chaos, both in the real world and in the Ever After.

There is not one, but two big bads in The Undead Pool. One of them bears a striking resemblance to Kirten, Rachel’s and Ivy’s dead friend and lover. I think this character could have had a more prominent role in the story. There is little interaction with him, and there is not a big showdown between him and Rachel and/or Ivy like I was expecting. Oh well!

The Goddess storyline was, mmm, slow? I don’t know what to say about it. Maybe Ms. Harrison is setting up something more about The Goddess for the final book? I did like getting nuggets of information from Newt, who obviously knows all the answers. I’ve a feeling all will be revealed, compliments of her, in the final book. (Oh, I really wish I knew the name of it, so I could refer to that undoubtedly cool name, instead of “final book.”)

The major focus of The Undead Pool is magic: ley line magic, demonic magic, and wild (elven) magic. Rachel is the one who ties them all together. Will there be an epic showdown in the series finale between the different factions? Probably. Will Rachel come out on top? Absolutely.

Angela’s Review

So this book is all about tying up some loose ends and setting the scene for the final book in the series, due out next year. This book resolves the issue of who the HEA is going to be. It is a predominant theme throughout, and the previous book, Ever After, was very clear on where this was heading. I’m not all on board the Raent train, but if Rachel Morgan is happy then I’m happy. Unlike the resolution of another series whose name I won’t mention.

It was interesting to me that my favourite characters this time were the side characters. They are entertaining and help keep the book moving along, as it concentrates on Rachel and Trent’s relationship.

Crazy-ass Newt — She’s the last female demon in the Ever After. I exclude Rachel Morgan because she is a day-walking demon who can go between the Ever After and the surface. Newt is the highlight in every single scene she has, plus she loves revealing little tidbits of information for the reader to ponder about female demons and the past conflict between elves and demons. I also can’t get rid of the image of Newt and horses riding around in the Ever After.

Bis — The gargoyle has continued to grow over the course of the series. He now has developed sophisticated computer skills and continues to grow in depth.

Jenks — What can I say, except I love him? His sarcastic mouth, his urging for Rachel to have sex already with Trent, and his backup skills remain a vital part of the series.

Zac Efron playing Jenks and having to say “Tink’s pink dildo.”

The story revolves around The Goddess and her mystics. The mystics play a very central role in the story, and it’s up to Rachel to try to reunite The Goddess with her mystics. As Rachel learns more about wild magic and its implications, it puts her offside with the demons. She doesn’t want the demons to know she is able to wield wild magic and demon magic. It makes her a dangerous force.

I wasn’t too enthused with this storyline. It didn’t grip me as previous outings with Ku-Sox had. However, this being the next-to-last book, there is a bit of stage setting for the final book. I also found the book a little hard going until around the 75% mark, when the story picks up its pace, and Rachel and her friends become involved in trying to retrieve the mystics. It took me around a week to read.

Those mystics love Rachel like a magnet.

There were a couple of surprises. I’m curious to know about Jonathan, Quen, and Trent’s past. After all, Trent has been raised by these two men for a long time, and Jonathan’s surprising actions in this story perked my interest in this aspect of the tale.

There are still many questions left to answer. Are the Rosewood babies the answer to unifying elves and demons? Can Rachel save Ivy’s soul? What really happened to Trent’s parent and his siblings? Why are we suddenly curious about Jonathan?

Let us know below what you thought of The Undead Pool. Can you wait until next year? What burning questions do you need to have answered? What did you think of the Goddess storyline?

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