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on 28 April 2013
As always Kim Harrison tells an excellent story with characters that intrigue and pull you in. Never left on the hook but always left wanting the next episode.
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on 17 October 2015
I've spent all my free time consuming this series. I love Rachel great role model!
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on 5 June 2015
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on 24 May 2010
I enjoyed this volume of the Hollows series. Rachel is suffering the effects of the shunning that the coven of ethical and moral standards recently thrust upon her. She's now being pursued by the coven and has to avoid a long stint in Alcatraz, a lobotomy and various other kinds of long term damage to her person if she's caught. In many ways this story is a throwback to the events of Dead Witch Walking.

Rachel spends much of the book dodging fairy assassins and worrying about whether she can really trust Pierce. Shady sort that he is. Rachel asks herself throughout Black Magic Sanction what kind of person she has become -- she questions whether she really is a witch anymore. And if she isn't, then what does that make her, a demon? Or something new? There was far too much Pierce for my liking, I didn't feel as if I ever got a break from him (unless Trent was around, which wasn't often); indeed, the only time Pierce left her alone was when Trent was in a scene. Rachel made fewer stupid choices and is matureing nicely, contining her positive development. This time when she chooses to do something that with hindsight will bite her on the backside, she accepts it and welcomes the consequences rather than going into it ignorant of them. Some progress at least! The pacing was better in this book than the previous one and while it dig drag in certain parts, the plot moved forward more or less smoothly. There was a lot of callbacks to previous Hollows books, probably because Kim Harrison spent her time reading the entire series again as she wrote BMS. It was pretty cool!

Jenks has some face time when tragedy strikes; Ivy is more in the background acting in a supporting role for her friends. David is nowhere to be seen, along with Quen. Ceri returns albeit briefly -- I was happy to see her since she's one of my favourite characters. There's rather a lot of Al, although I really like his character, he's better in smaller doses. My beloved Trent popped up in the beginning of the story and then disappeared until the end of the novel, yet his presence looms heavily over the events of the book as he's never far from Rachel's thoughts. Black Magic Sanction sets out to settle once and for all whether Rachel can really trust Trent. I was very pleased that like their relationship built on the changes from the last book: here he and Rachel reach a kind of detente. Or perhaps an understanding. The flashback concerning the Pandora Charm was very interesting... that was definitely my favourite chapter in the book.

We see new plots open up in this book and old ones end. There's a sense of transition in the air and a palpable sense of hurttling forward towards the final arcs. Allies become enemies and enemies become allies once again. The final chapter no doubt a setup for the next novel, and I would hope, the final chapter for the series. Black Magic Sanction is a transitional book that will likely act as a bridge between the earlier half of the series and the final novels. Changes are ahead as the final curtain will fall on the Hollows. I can't wait to see what happens. The next book is called 'Pale Demon' and is the long awaited one where Trent and Rachel go on a roadtrip together. I'm very excited!
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VINE VOICEon 14 April 2010
I enjoyed this book so much more than the last. I was really starting to worry that the series was declining but this one brought it back for me.

I won't go into huge detail about the story line as it's already been done, but if you like Al, Trent, Pierce and Bis, then you'll love it. Al is one of my favourite characters and he is most prominent in this one as he is now Rachel's tutor; We see another side to him and more in depth. We see some of Trent as well as Rachel tries to figure out if he's a good guy, going back to their past to find the answer. Pierce gets more screen time too as he tries to court Rachel and help her with her lay line magic. There is also more of Bis as he too tries to help Rachel. It's a good thing she has all these friends ready to help her as she gets caught up in all sorts of trouble. She has the witch's council after her because she's still shunned, people summoning her left right and centre, men and demons flirting relentlessly, and tricky elves tripping her up at every turn. This is also a huge moment for the pixies, and a very emotional one.

Little things did get to me though. I suppose it's good that Rachel is hesitant about over using the black magic, but the on going monolog about how bad it is, will I wont I, what about the smut, but it's for the greater good... yada... can get tedious.

With fast paced action, tickling romance, scenes emotional enough to make me cry, and humorous demons making me chuckle, I really loved this one. I'm really looking forward to the next and am happy that the series is back on track. I recommend this to fans, and recommend starting at the beginning of the series to new comers. You'll like her is you like Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris etc.
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on 21 March 2017
This book was so well written that tears streamed down my face with the depth of emotion coming from the pages. It's a heartbreaking read at times, a sadness that echoes even after finishing the book but I wouldn't have stopped reading for the world. Next book here I come
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Rachel Morgan's life is not going well: she's been shunned, she's Al's student, and any kids she has will be demons. And after the fragmented storyline of "White Witch, Black Curse," the eighth book of Kim Harrison's Hollows series slips into a very different style -- explosive action, old enemies, a terrible choice, and a tragic loss.

A simple trip to the grocery store goes horribly awry when Rachel is approached and attacked by a strange witch -- who turns out to be a white-magic witch from some sort of moral-police coven. But Rachel doesn't have much time to worry about it: she ends up being summoned using Al's name, and learns that they found out about her connections to the demons.

They also offer her a nasty choice: stay in the witch prison Alcatraz, or be lobotomized and neutered. Trent and Al are trying to nab her powerful, unusual self as well.

While Rachel manages to escape (with the help of Bis and Pierce), she's now being attacked from all sides by the coven. Fairy attacks, demon summonings and full-out pyrokinetic attacks on the church are among the problems she has to deal with. But even if she stops their fanatical leader, Rachel will have to fight back with (almost) everything she's got.

Maybe it's just me, but a lot of urban fantasy hero/ines seem to be able to do morally/legally questionable stuff all over the place, but never suffer any consequences. Fortunately, Kim Harrison doesn't do that. "Black Magic Sanction" is all about the consequences of Rachel's black magic/demon activities -- and more precisely, what the other witches are gonna do about it besides just shunning her.

The narrative is still rather choppy in places (such as Rachel's daylong stint in Alcatraz... boom, it's over!). But Harrison's prose is smooth and muscular -- most of the book is a sort of Ludlumesque thriller, with Rachel and all her friends (and a few enemies) racing around frantically trying to stay alive. And while her quirky sense of humor is still firmly in place (Ivy's secret vice: Nancy Drew books!), Harrison dips into tragedy about halfway through the book -- and she makes you feel every stab of grief.

Rachel continues to be a likable, down-to-earth heroine who basically gets inundated in trouble of all kinds -- she's trying hard to keep herself as free and morally clean as possible, but it's becoming harder all the time. Al is still delectably nasty and funny ("Ooooh! Books!"), Pierce is stalkerishly creepy and somewhat annoying (Rachel can do better than this guy), and more facets of the elusive Trent are revealed. And Bis... is simply adorable. Love the gargoyle!

A whole lot of nasty stuff falls on Rachel Morgan's head in "Black Magic Sanction," and despite some choppy moments Kim Harrison's latest is a solid fantasy-thriller.
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on 13 June 2010
Friends and I read this in book club a few weeks ago and we love it. Kim Harrison's writing gets better with each of the books in this series and the plot twists are as always leaving us wanting more. The type was small but the book was packed with action and if she'd gone for a larger font the book would have been way to heavy to enjoy reading. This is no. 8 in the Rachel Morgan series, just for those of you who have difficulty keeping track with all the different names of books out there, and, may no. 9 hit the shelves soon.
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on 14 November 2010
This is a strange book. It's the 8th book in the Rachel Morgan series. In the books Morgan (a witch) works with Ivy Tamwood (a vampire) and Jenks (a pixie) as she battles the forces of the dark side.

In this book, the witches coven hear that Morgan works with demons to "do down" the baddies and decide that she needs to be reigned in. They tried "shunning her" at the end of last book. When that didn't work, they decided to be more proactive and attmpt to arrest her (and send her to Alcatraz) or lobotomise her.

The first half of the book is good. It sets up the arrest attempts well and I was thinking (at that stage) that this was the best book in the series. The problem is that I think that once she gets to the "dealing with the coven" stage, it takes too long to get to a conclusion.

Through the second half of the book, I was thinking "Come on, come on, get a fricking move on." In short, it dragged and that dragged down my view of the whole book to my mind.
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VINE VOICEon 4 June 2010
Every time I finish a Rachel Morgan novel I wonder how Kim Harrison can keep it up. Well this is how, she takes a simple idea, in this case the Coven being after Rachel, fleshes it out with her superbly drawn characters and lets it run. What we get is another excellent supernatural adventure featuring all our favourite characters. The novel mainly features Rachel, Pearce and Al but everyone else gets a look in. Sadly a much loved character also dies in this one but several bad guys also make a return to muddy the waters. If you you're a fan you're going to love this one but there's not much for the casual bookshop broswer as the series is so well established now and Harrison does not re-iterate old stuff. Already looking forward to the next one.
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