Oct 162013

A Perfect Blood
A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Thought dead by the demon collective, cut off from her magical heritage, Rachel must face a new, purely human threat. But this threat is potentially more dangerous to Inderlanders as a whole than any threat previously faced. As if the world has not suffered enough from the plague that wiped out a good chunk of humanity, a human supremacist hate group is targeting witches in search of a perfect blood. A blood they can use to wipe out all Interlanders, once and for all.

Kim Harrison does a good job with A Perfect Blood; not the best in the series but far from the worst, and still farther from a poor showing. In A Perfect Blood, Rachel Morgan is cut off from demon magic by a Wild Magic charm given to her by Trent Kalamack in the previous book, Pale Demon. Ku’Sox, the dysfunctional demon experiment in genetic manipulation to purge the Elven curse, nearly killed several key members in the series.

At the conclusion of Pale Demon, Rachel is saved. Being saved is not quite as fulfilling as saving yourself. Part of the “cost” associated with being saved is being put in a bottle (at least her soul is, her body is rushed to intensive care by Trent– putting his otherwise dirty money to good use.) Then, he binds her demon magic with a Wild Magic/Elf Magic charm. Again, sort of saving her. It’s also weird that being saved is more common when the protagonist is female, and less common when the protag is male. Societal influences, ya think?

What I dislike most in this story is that Rachel seems rife with contradictions, and contradictions that I cannot easily stomach– she wants to believe she’s a good person, and in a previous book even went out of her way to “do the right thing” even when it was stupid– but as part of her “growing up” story arc, Rachel no longer does stupid things that are morally and objectively “right”, and with her newfound adult approach to life, she doesn’t even beat herself up about not doing the right thing.

Case in point, Pierce gets mentioned a whopping 13 times in 438 pages– the man was abused by Algelierept (sp?), potentially killed and towards the end we find out he was handed over to Newt, the semi-insane, sole-remaining female demon in the Ever After. Yet while Rachel makes many plans, she never once entertains the notion of rescuing Pierce from his fate– not even to say “he was dumb enough to have sold himself to Al, so I’m not going to rescue him.” The absence of such thoughts from a stream of consciousness (i.e., first person narrative) says loads about a person.

Rachel spent most of the book “running” from her problems, and only towards the end does she change direction– and that, seemingly, because of her infatuation with Trent. Rachel seems less strong around Trent than she has around other boyfriends. Trent is an extremely strong and central character to the series, and twinning Rachel’s path with his is, imho, a huge mistake. They were more entertaining as nemesis than ally.

HAPA, sometimes cleverly mispronounced by Jenks to sound like HAPPY (as in not-so-happy anymore), is a human supremacist hate group bent on utilizing any means (including demon magic kindled by the blood of witches) to eliminate the inderlanders (a funny word that basically means the supernatural.)

All signs quickly point to HAPA being funded by highly secret, highly influential illuminati types– and so, after bungling one capture attempt, Rachel getting caught by HAPA instead of the other way around in the second capture attempt, and then getting rescued (sorta– she had mostly rescued herself) and bungling yet a third capture attempt– Rachel finally gets her dynamic duo of dastardly devotees to demonic destruction (read: the two head HAPA conspirators– at least in this story.)

Through the story, Rachel makes a number of mistakes, is healed by the one person (Al) who was voted most likely to kill her, then utilizes wild magic to accidentally save her ass which turns into someone else saving her ass yet again.

There’s also this weird fifth wheel (bodyguard from parents who is inept beyond belief, despite all arguments to the contrary) who sticks around despite actually threatening to quit unless Rachel agreed to treat him like he knew what he was doing and follow instructions– she never does, he never leaves.

OK, so I guess the more I think about it, the less fantastic the book was. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, but there are so many plot points building up that make me go “wait, what?!” Still, the series has been good enough that I will finish it out (knowing that there are only going to be 12-14 books in the series, and I’m in the home stretch.)

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