Customer Reviews for

Black Magic Sanction (Hollows Series #8)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

24 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

superb urban fantasy

Having defeated various paranormal criminals and resolved the Kisten case, detective Rachel Morgan finds out she has been betrayed to a white magic coven who shun her for using black magic as a witch-born demon whose offspring will be demons. Stunned by the declaration...
Having defeated various paranormal criminals and resolved the Kisten case, detective Rachel Morgan finds out she has been betrayed to a white magic coven who shun her for using black magic as a witch-born demon whose offspring will be demons. Stunned by the declaration and the sentencing, the coven offers her a choice of solitary incarceration at Alcatraz or sterilization.

Drug kingpin Trent Kalamack the elf offers Rachel a deal that would get the coven to back off of her but the cost is high. Her former boyfriend Nick Sparagmos arrives to make her situation worse as only he can while she wonders what game he is playing this time. Only her demon teacher Al seems to be on her side, but Rachel trusts no one as she realizes the coven that she has paid annual dues to for years can be bought and sold regardless of the buffoon announcements of the coven's Oliver to the contrary.

There is a lot going on in the Hollows as Kim Harrison shows her bewitching skills with a strong entry that follows up fresh and nice after all that occurred in the super The Outlaw Demon Wails and White Witch, Black Curse. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Rachel learns of the shunning sentencing and never slows down as she battles her "allies" who prove corrupt. As she and readers learn more about the coven and its history, fans will regale in the heroine's latest urban fantasy as the escapades keep coming at Rachel.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on January 18, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Sorta disappointed...

I really liked this series and had been waiting for this to come out. I was sadly disappointed with this book. I had a very hard time trying to finish it. What I enjoyed most about the previous books was the ongoing relationship between Rachel and Ivy...which was pai...
I really liked this series and had been waiting for this to come out. I was sadly disappointed with this book. I had a very hard time trying to finish it. What I enjoyed most about the previous books was the ongoing relationship between Rachel and Ivy...which was painfully left out in this book. The prior two books had taken this part of the story to new levels giving me the feeling that the moment would finally come for these two characters. Alas, this was not so. And to rub salt into my wounds, one of the more annoying characters in the series, a ghost with a body, plays a more prominent role now. If the author has taken her series in a new direction, then I'm sad to say that I'll be sitting the rest of it out.

posted by 144014 on March 1, 2010

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    Enough Hypocrisy!

    Narration: 5 stars
    Story: 3.5

    Kim Harrison brings back the characters we love in book eight of The Hollows series, plus the ghost that made an appearance in book seven. (Though I do miss David, Rachel's werewolf friend.) As always I love the writing and get caught up in the story with such ease. I'll be adding this book to a short list of books that made me cry real tears. I'd say I'm up to about seven or eight books now, which will give you an idea of how rare it is for an author's writing to have such a profound influence on me.

    Marguerite Gavin, the narrator of Black Magic Sanction, did a fantastic job with the voices. Her accents, inflections, emotions, and voices were spot on. This series is a complicated story with a wide and wild variety of characters; Marguerite manages to give each and every one of them their own voice, no matter how small their role is in the book. Every audiobook I listen to that she has narrated impresses me. Beautiful job.

    I don't give five star ratings out lightly, so the fact this series has stolen several from me is saying something. I'd say this book was more of a 3.5 than a three. Kim doesn't skimp on plot, which is one of the reasons I love this series so much, but in this book Rachel started to do something that made me want to strangle her. She started to whine and b*tch more than her usual self.

    Pierce, the ghost who became a real boy and Al's familiar in book seven, loves Rachel. He haunted her for a year and wants to do is keep her safe. Instead of Rachebeing civil to him, she's constantly yelling at him to go away. Pierce treats her with more respect than she deserves considering her attitude, while Rachel treats him as if he's fairy crap smeared on the bottom of her boots. Of course part of this is because he made a deal with Al to get a body, but another is because of her heartache over Kisten. Regardless, Rachel's approach to Pierce made me lose respect for her as a character. I personally think Rachel went OOC in this book with her over-the-top hypocrisy with Pierce's dealings in black magic.

    At this point in the series, Rachel shouldn't be so blind. A person performing black magic doesn't automatically make them immoral. Isn't that the point of the plot? Rachel's shunned for dealing in black magic, even though she's only performed it selflessly. Rachel's covered in smut from black and demon magic; she still can't grasp the concept that black magic doesn't equal immoral. Am I the only one who got tired of her going all B*tch Monster when it came to Pierce for that? Kisten should come back from the grave, but it's obvious that isn't going to happen. If Rachel's going to move on and date someone it should be someone who understands her. Pierce, I believe, is perfect for her in that respect. He's been shunned, he's dealt with black magic to kill demons, and he's currently Al's familiar. He's practically the manly version of Rachel.

    Jenks's tragedy in this book is what had me balling my eyes (and more than once). My heart broke right along with Rachel's and Jenks's. The only thing I didn't understand about the attack on their church was the fact no one from the coven showed up afterward. I found that lacking, which is odd because I normally think Kim does a fantastic job pulling her story and plot together without any holes.

    Another wonderful story (besides the Rachel hypocrisy) by Kim Harrison accompanied with the delightful voice of Marguerite Gavin.

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  • Posted April 28, 2010

    Sanctimonious sanctioners

    Rachel Morgan started out as a "Dead Witch Walking" and managed to escape her government job and become a private magic practitioner with her partners, Ivy the Undead Vampire and Jenks, the pixie. Since then, she's battled the forces of evil in Cincinnati but she's managed to acquire some demon marks in doing so.

    Now, the time has come to pay the magical piper. The coven's sanctioned her. Sanction means she cannot come into the stores of regular witches. Worse, the coven wants to imprison her. But, it's not what you think. If Rachel doesn't cooperate and become a breeder for their future children, they're going to lobotomize her.

    I've loved this series from the beginning, but I found myself able to lay this book aside and read others, which is quite rare. Part of the problem was I disliked the coven and while they were somewhat believable, they just few less developed than other Harrison created villains. Plus, Nick, the ex boyfriend was back.

    In the end, I realized I mostly read this one to find out what Jenks is up to. Suspect the next Rachel Morgan book is one that I will wait to see what other reviewers think before I opt to purchase.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Black Magic Sanction

    Not a page turner, but a decent read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2010

    Disappointed

    The thrill is gone! I thoroughly enjoyed the previous books, but was disappointed with this one. Incessant circle running with Al and Nick... whom I wish she would just kill and get it over with.
    This book didn't "grab" me like the previous volumes. In fact, I haven't finished it. Hoping for an improved 9th book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2010

    very entertaining

    If, like me, you've developed an affinity for the very candid and spunky Rachel Morgan, you'll enjoy this read. Like the previous 7, this book goes into: 1) Rachel's love/hate relationship with Trent, Al, and her chaotic life, 2) her endearing camaraderie with Ivy and Jenks and, 3) the never-ending quest to know and understand who and what she really is. Somehow, after this 8th book however, I'm starting to think that Kim Harrison's writing is like a Michael Bay movie. There doesn't seem to be a clear direction as to where the storyline is going. And after she muddles through Rachel's repetitive personal realizations, sexual encounters with men where the chemistry is questionable if not non-existent, it really never comes full circle in the end. I still found this book entertaining and I think Rachel remains as one of the most endearing heroines around. But I think it's time for Harrison to start wrapping things up before the plot becomes more tired than it already is.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Disappointed

    I have to start off by saying that I love this series. I waited a long time for this book to come out. Sadly - it was not worth the wait. I was sooooo disappointed. I normally devour a book in less than 2 days. And I'm usually sucked into Kim Harrison's books from the first sentence, but it took me a week to get through it. I felt like the story was all over the place and Rachel was way too whiney. I enjoyed the stuff with Al and I always love anything that has to do with Jinx. Although I was not pleased with this book, I will remain faithful to the series and read the next one.

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