There comes a moment in every series when the author must move the cast forward. The inner demons, the almost childish decision-making and relationships must end or the series remains stagnant. Stagnant characters grow dull to readers.
Fortunately for the fans of Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series, A Perfect Blood accomplishes this. Knowing that she is more demon than witch, Rachel must comes to terms with her reality or allow others to suffer for her fear.
A Perfect Blood begins with Rachel trying to register her new car and renew her driver’s license, an activity stressful regardless of who—or what—a person is. Unfortunately, a demon isn’t considered a citizen. Rachel starts stating that yes, she is a demon but she doesn’t use demon magic. The bracelet around her wrist prevents her from calling upon the ley lines. It protects her from Al and the other demons learning of her survival.
It doesn’t take long for the I.S. to pull Rachel into their service. Finding a partially transformed person strung up in a public setting with blood at his feet and a demon-known word by him can’t be ignored. Rachel brings in the F.I.B., much to the annoyance of the I.S. They don’t want humans interfering it an Inderlander crime.
Through the help of Rachel’s bodyguard, Wayde, she learns that Humans Against Paranormals Association, a hate group, is linked to the crime. In typical Rachel fashion, she involves herself in the case. There’s one major flaw, however. She cannot invoke the higher-level witch charms using her blood, not can she take advantage of her ley line powers.
Not only does Rachel need to figure out exactly who she is, but also she needs to decide where to draw the line. She doesn’t want to kill people with her curses. She tries to use the cleanest ones possible, even though smut still taints her aura with each twist. Helping her along the way is a witch named Winona and Trent Kalamack.
In addition to the changes in Rachel herself, Harrison alters the other characters in a logical, almost bittersweet way. The most obvious occur with Ivy and Trent. Ivy no longer uses Rachel as a crutch as she did before. The clearest sign of her ability to move forward is how she tries to help the living vampire Nina deal with being possessed by the dead vampire, Felix. Rachel laments that Jenks is also moving on, thought it’s not nearly as apparent as it is with Ivy. Jenks is moving on more from the loss of his wife than working with Rachel. He has taken on the role of a single parent, but his fighting fever and loyalty remains just as strong. While it’s sad to see the old trio not as linked as they were, the separation feels natural. Had it not happened, the relationships would seem forced or false.
Trent and Rachel manage to reach some sort of harmony mixed with romantic tension. Fatherhood appears to have done wonders for Trent’s character. He acts as an unexpected source of support and confidence in Rachel—even though his own life isn’t directly on the line. The dialogue between the two is comfortable, not awkward or forced.
A Perfect Blood is the book for all Hollows fans to read. Not only is the plot more riveting and surprising, the cast of characters works seamlessly on each page. Of all of the books, it’s definitely in the top three.