"Let's take a look at my track record. I live in a church with a vampire who is the scion of a master vampire who would just as soon see me dead. I date her old boyfriend, who used to be said master vampire's scion, and my ex-boyfriend is a professional thief who calls demons and trades information about me for tips to steal artifacts that can start an Inderland power struggle." This is the shape of Rachel Morgan's life as we go through A Fistful of Charms, the fourth book in Kim Harrison's series about the Hollows and the Inderlanders who inhabit it.
In fact, in this story we take a road trip away from Cincinnati - Rachel receives news that Nick (her old flame) and Jenks' son Jax are in trouble, and sets out to help them. Since Ivy is supposedly unable to leave Cincinnati - otherwise Piscary gets pissed - Rachel invokes black demon magic in order to make Jenks...more useful. In the course of the story Rachel beats two Were alphas, discovers the existence of the Focus which could cause widescale warfare between Weres and Vamps, takes her relationship with Ivy to a new stage, and ogles Jenks......a lot!
There is a lot going on in this book, and it rapidly became my least favourite so far. I enjoyed the interaction between Rachel and Jenks - particularly because his presence was so missed in the previous book - and the uniqueness of his situation in this book. It was also heartbreaking to realise along with Rachel that Jenks actually counts as an old pixy. I liked the set up of the plan, and cheered the double cross of Nick.
However, there were many things I disliked or got tired of. Weres aren't really my thing, and so I found it difficult to stay interested in the main part of the plot. I ended up wanting to shake Rachel, because she came distinctly whiney in this book. Everything needed double or triple analysing and, because we're stuck in her head since it's all first person, we got to hear it all again and again and again. The Focus was suddenly thrust in as a new point having never been mentioned at all in any prior books, and hence came across as an extreme plot device. I also disliked the way Nick was treated - I mean, I never really liked the guy from the get-go and was relieved when he upped and left in the last book and paved the way for Kisten. But no one deserves to become such a jerk from being a fairly nice guy - it's almost as though Harrison got sick of the character herself or wanted to open the path for something else to happen in Rachel's future and so needed to get rid of Nick.
Still, with all that said, this is still a great series and it sounds like there are explosive events ahead of Rachel - especially now that she has more of a handle on what makes her tick.
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