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Black Magic Sanction (Rachel Morgan, Book 8) Hardcover – February 23, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 375 customer reviews
Book 8 of 13 in the Hollows Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The eighth bewitching but overly dense Hollows adventure (after 2009's White Witch, Black Curse) updates the travails of Rachel Morgan, delectable magical jack of all trades. Having recently learned that Rachel is a witch-born demon whose children would be demons, a white magic coven is shunning her and accusing her of black magic. They offer her a terrible choice: sterilization or imprisonment in Alcatraz. Trent Kalamack, drug lord and elf in hiding, offers to get the coven off her back, but her double-crossing ex-rat ex-boyfriend, Nick, shows up and lands her in more hot water. As Rachel battles those she thought were on her side, her survival depends on a paranormal cornucopia of elves, demons, vampires, gargoyles, pixies, and even a leprechaun. This thrill ride celebrates the can-do spirit of one of urban fantasy's most charming witches. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

The current high tide of flip, hyperactive supernatural fiction has lifted Harrison’s Hollows novels about young, lovely, athletic witch Rachel Morgan onto best-seller lists along with similar series by Kelly Armstrong, Charlaine Harris, and Patricia Briggs. In her eighth outing, Rachel is still learning the ropes as far as her powers go. In the first chapter, she’s nearly seized by a lunatic demon. In the second, she has a blowout in a grocery store with a member of the coven of moral and ethical standards, who tries to take her directly to a judicial meeting concerned with her conduct. The third chapter is a kind of breather. During the rest of the yarn, Rachel bounces or gets bounced from one ouchy captivity or near-captivity situation to another, and by the end, it has been firmly established that she ain’t no ordinary witch; heck, she can hop cross-country in broad daylight! She can also dish it out and take it, verbally as well as physically. Lacking any plot, this, uh, adventure depends on the latter ability, on several other characters’ parts besides Rachel’s, to keep on keepin’ on. If it were filthier than it is (sorry, romance fans, no sex for Rachel), it might be amusing in the manner of early John Waters flicks (Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble). Consider it a for-fans-only volume. --Ray Olson

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; 1 edition (February 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061138037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061138034
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (375 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
You know the relationship you are in is in trouble when you start to be annoyed by your partner... a lot. They probably aren't doing anything different than they were doing a month ago, but one morning you wake up and think to yourself, "Man, the way she baby-talks to the dog is annoying" or "Oh my God, if he clips his toenails in the living room one more time I'm going to scream." I'm not saying your relationship is doomed, but you are now past being blinded by how great you feel when they smile at you, and you'd better hope there was more there than initial chemistry or it's over.

I woke up this morning and realized Rachel Morgan and Kim Harrison have begun to really annoy me.

Now, to be fair, I came to Black Magic Sanction pre-annoyed at having to wait an additional month for the Kindle edition. Yes, I realize that Ms Harrison had no control over that, but I was never-the-less annoyed. I also understand that this is the eighth book in the Hollows series, and that any review of something this far along is more to vent than anything else. My secret fantasy is that Ms Harrison reads all of these reviews and takes them to heart.

Bottom line. If White Witch, Black Curse already had you questioning Ms Harrison's abilities, then I would borrow her latest from a friend or the library. If you've been enjoying the series up until now, then a bunch of negative reviews aren't going to mean a whole lot. They wouldn't have stopped me from getting it. Until now, I've been a big fan. Black Magic Sanction is strike 1. I've not gone back to re-read earlier Hollows books to see if the bloom is off the rose or if this is really the first failure in the lot. I really hope it's the latter.

And now, a rant-ish list of spoiler-filled grievances...
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Format: Hardcover
After reading the sample chapters put out by Eos, I was crazy excited to get my hands on this book. Having finished it, I'm happy to report that I'm not disappointed.

The whole story revolves around the fact that Rachel has been shunned by her own kind, the witches, for being able to kindle demon magic - which, since it's demonic, must be bad - and because any children she has will be demons - again, demonic babies = bad. Now everybody and their mama wants to control her: Trent, the coven, Big Al, even Pierce. Trent is angry because he's her nominal familiar and says that if she owns him in the ever after, he wants to own her in reality. The coven wants to either lobotomize and sterilize or lock Rachel away in Alcatraz Prison because she's a black magic practitioner. Al wants Rachel because, well, why does a demon want anything? I suppose he wants her for the prestige and for sexual reasons (or so he hints) and because any child she produces will be "demon spawn." Pierce is interested in Rachel because he thinks he loves her and could love her forever. Bleh.

**** One little spoiler ****

I really enjoyed this book. It gets going and doesn't stop. However, there's just something that I can't put my finger on that is annoying me about this book. Maybe it's Pierce and his antiquated vocabulary. Maybe it's Nick and his god-awful douche bag-ness. Maybe it's Rachel herself and all her whining and trust issues. Actually, there's something about the plot that just gets on my nerves - things are just a little too convenient and easy sometimes. For instance, Matalina, Jenks's wife, dies in this book trying to save Rachel from another fairy assassination attempt.
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Format: Hardcover
I often find it difficult to review a new book from a favorite series because my feelings are pretty simple. They boil down to, "I love this series, I love this book, I wish I didn't have to wait a year for the next one!" That's how it is with Kim Harrison's books anyhow. I am totally hooked on The Hollows.

I figure if you're reading this review you're probably not new to Kim Harrison. The Hollows is not a series that can be read out of order (for any newbies who've found there way here: start with Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, Book 1)). If you've enjoyed the direction that the series has been heading over the past few books, Black Magic Sanction will fill you with glee. If not, what's wrong with you?

What are some little plot teasers I can throw out. Well, the villain of Black Magic Sanction is the coven of ethical and moral standards. As judge and jury to the witch population, members of the coven tend to be ruthless and power hungry...so it shouldn't be any surprise that these ruthless, power-hungry witches have found a way to use white magic for dark purposes. I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel - seeing a witch with an aura as clean freshly windexed glass use white magic to do some pretty black deeds, for selfish reasons, really drives home the point that however ugly Rachel Morgan's sooty aura is, she's the one fighting the good fight. Sometimes appearances really are deceiving.

We see a lot more of Pierce, the former ghost, who serves as this book's dangerous love interest. We don't see enough of Trent, who makes a couple of brief yet crucial appearances.
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