Rachel Morgan is a Demon. She’s finally accepted it. The problem is that to stay safe from the rest of demonkind after riling them up a tad she has to wear a charmed silver necklace that separates her from her magic.
She’s a Demon, but a magicless Demon. And that’s getting in the way of her doing her job and protecting her friends - especially since she’s never been one to hide in the background. And it couldn’t be a worst time to be magicless, with the anti-Inderlander hate group HAPA now active in Cincinnati and a trail of witch victims being left in their wake. And if she decides to reclaim her magic, exactly how does she placate Algaliarept who has every reason to be rather annoyed with her.
Add in both the IS and the FIB treating her as a very dangerous person, she herself being a prime target for HAPA as well as her changing relationship with Trent and a new bodyguard shipped in by her parents and she has a lot to handle.
We have introduced some brand new concepts and shadow groups into the story now - with both HAPA and The Men Who Did Not Belong. Both are going to be interesting. After all, while HAPA is an outright hate group and certain to be reviled, where do the Men Who Did Not Belong stand? Especially since they’re a large, powerful, dangerous human organisation that seems to lack Inderlanders and feels entitled to police, imprison and even kill Inderlanders at their own discretion. There’s a lot of nuance that needs developing and exploring there - does the IS know? What about the Coven of Ethical Standards? What about the Vampires? I think there are seeds for a lot more plots here with both HAPA and the Men Who Did Not Belong and I’m really curious to see where it goes.
I’m also quite relieved that we had a storyline that revolved around human hatred of Inderlanders, including slurs, attempted genocide and prejudice that, in turn, didn’t invoke actual marginalised groups in the real world or marginalisations at all. Inderlanders were hated, but not oppressed, attacked but not facing a power imbalance. It’s a fine line to draw, but in a genre
However, while these stories are interesting and could have gone somewhere, I also feel they were kind of unnecessary. We have existing plotlines - Ku’sox and Al and her relationship with Trent and her relationship with Ivy and Jenks and her continuing realisation of what it means to be a Demon, trying to find a balance with the Demon World, how other Witches treat her, Rynn Cornel’s wish for her to help vampires keep their soul after death - there was a lot of plot there left hanging and we didn’t really develop any of it - instead we ended up going down these new plot lines instead. And they’re interesting, I’ll look forward to reading them, certainly - but we already had issues pending and I was left with the feeling that not much had happened. I’d just read a 500 page book that can be summed up with “HAPA exists, the Men Who Don’t Belong exist, Rachel took her bracelet off”.
In some ways I feel vaguely frustrated by this book. I knew she’d start with the charmed bracelet but after Pale Demon, when she finally embraced once and for all that she was a Demon, while at the same time laying down the mighty smackdown on all around her, I expected some grade A arsekicking. I expected Rachel Morgan, Demon, laden with a few choice curses (which she would, of course, be in two minds about using) and a whole lot of powerful magic making it clear that, in general, she’s a major power to be reckoned with and respected.