Kim Harrison is the author of my favorite ‘horror’ series called The Hollows. About 10 books long and still going, this series is so much fun, when each new book comes out I cannot put it down until it’s read.
By the latest book, Pale Demon, the main character Rachel Morgan is a witch-turned-demon living between a church in Chicago and the demon home world in the Ever After. When living in her church, she has a gargoyle familiar in the belfry, a territorial pixie clan in the back yard, a vampire for a roommate, a demon for a teacher, and she can work both demon and earth magic. Interested yet?
In this continuity world of The Hollows, mankind has almost been wiped out by a genetically altered virus in tomatoes. Don’t ask me why tomatoes, that’s just the way it is. As a result, all the supernatural beings came out of the woodwork and was like “Hey! We exist! Let’s rebuild!” And that’s kinda what happened. It’s only been about fifty years or so from the epidemic, so there are still a lot of bugs to be worked out of the cohabitation system, but otherwise things are going pretty well. All supernatural things are safely and – for the most part fairly- legalized and supervised so everyone can feel safe around each other. There’s a law enforcement group who’s sole job it is to police Interlanders as they’re called, and they’re staffed with a mix of humans and supernatural being such as witches and living vampires.
Now living vampires are people who are basically half breeds. They can withstand sunlight, they don’t need to go dormant, they do still have a blood craving but not on the level of a full vampire, and they still have their soul. Once they die however and their soul leaves their body, they will arise again as a full undead vampire. This is important to know as one of the main characters is a living vampire.
Another good thing to know is that as far as humanity is concerned, elves do not exist despite everything else being real. See, through the course of the series we discover that a long, long time ago demons and elves were at war. Not quite sure why, but they were. And the elves were practically wiped out, but for a few small pockets that managed to evade detection and slaughter. The only thing is neither side was happy with just killing the living. Each basically came up with a curse for the other. For the elves, they came up with something to dampen a demon’s power, weakening them. The resulting race of weakened demons eventually evolved into the witches of the current continuity. So basically all witches are demons, its just that they’re powers are dampened. But with some genetic tampering, those bands can be broken and the witches can be demons once more. This is what happened to Rachel Morgan, our heroine.
See Ms. Morgan suffered from an illness as a child, something that we suspect was common among those with stronger ties back to their demon ancestry than their more human counterparts. A rich billionaire, who just so happened to be an elf and the father of Rachel’s current frenemy, opened up a camp for these sick kids, and performed genetic experiments on them. Trying to heal them on the one hand, and I think break those bands on the other, because somehow (still not sure quite how) those limiting bands that the elves cursed the demons with is somehow tied into breaking the curse the demons put on the elves.
Not ones to be outdone, the demons did some genetic tampering of their own, and essentially made the elves sterile. As far as I can tell, elves of the current continuity can still conceive, albeit it is three times as hard to do so and the likelihood of the babe or mother surviving is very low.
So Rachel is in possession of this big secret that all witches are essentially one gene mutation away from being full blooded demons, a secret that the witching community at large would kill to protect. And they have, they just haven’t killed the right person yet.
Witches, elves, and demons are all out for her, or her blood for one reason or another. What’s a girl to do? Fight magic with black magic. Which of course is never a good idea.
Using black magic to save those she cares about, non-lethal ones I might add, Rachel has been cast as a black witch by her community, giving them yet another reason to come gunning for her. Thankfully with friends like Ivy and Jenks, these folks don’t often get too close to her.
I think that’s about it. Nothing else really comes to mind when I’m thinking about this series. So from here on out folks, we’re in this together.
Enjoy. I know I will.