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The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison
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's review
Dec 29, 2008

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bookshelves: fiction, urban-fantasy, romance, fantasy, lgbt
Read in March, 2008

Sixth book in the Rachel Morgan series. Or possibly The Hollows series. Further adventures of our plucky witch as she faces down yet more demon trouble, resolves things a bit with her roommate, rescues an elf, and goes skating.

Okay, here's the thing. I like these books. They're fun, and they have a genuinely artless sort of appeal. The series started out really rough clay, if you know what I mean, so it was clear from day one that Harrison has an instinct for what will satisfy emotionally, if not always intellectually. That's still true, and the writing took an exponential curve up through the first four books. But now it seems to have levelled out, and I'm . . . frustrated. I like them, so I want them to be better than they are. Less transparent, for one -- Harrison telegraphs most surprises before she means to, and she has this really annoying way of coming down on the beat stomp thump crash when she should be tap rest tap. At least there is a beat though, which is more than can be said for a lot of urban fantasy marketed to women.

And still emotionally satisfying, even if yet again the person Rachel romantically dabbles with is epically less interesting than any other option on the table. The supporting cast is really great in a lot of dimensions, and the plot continues to clatter right along. I just wish Harrison would slow down, let her books mature longer, let herself start to think about things like rhythm and congruity and, you know, subtlety. Because I really think she could, and it's driving me a bit nuts.
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