American Demon by Kim Harrison
Rachel Morgan is back--and The Hollows will never be the same.
What happens after you've saved the world? Well, if you're Rachel Mariana Morgan, witch-born demon, you quickly discover that something might have gone just a little bit wrong. That the very same acts you and your friends took to forge new powers may have released something bound by the old. With a rash of zombies, some strange new murders, and an exceedingly mysterious new demon in town, it will take everything Rachel has to counter this new threat to the world--and it may demand the sacrifice of what she holds most dear.
I adored the original Hollows series and I loved the ending (especially the epilogue set 25 years later) so I was both super super excited to return to the world of Rachel Morgan but also terrified that it would be diminished... That by returning, the author would somehow un-pick the happy ending and change things in a way that would ruin the original series for me.
I shouldn't have worried.
Rachel and the gang are back and are as awesome as always! The relationships are just as strong, the characters as fierce and funny (and slightly annoying), the story just as action-packed and engrossing, and even though they're mixed up in a new world of hijinks and chaos, I'm sure they'll end up right where they are supposed to be. (Although, I'm nervous about Bis! *sobs*)
American Demon is perfect for fans of the original series and for new fans to join the fun. There is a nifty little "case file" at the beginning that recaps characters, relationships, key plot points and lots of other bits and pieces to help navigate the series from this point out. You may not want to begin here if you're super spoiler adverse and plan on reading the first 13 books but if you don't welcome back to the Hollows!
Poison & Honey by Kristen Brand
Leigh Morgan has known that magic existed ever since an unearthly monster abducted her sister. It’s why she’s in Otherworld now, posing as a servant in its dark, decadent palace. She’s gathering intelligence and working with a small band of allies to bring down the Others and free their human captives. Her mission depends on blending in, so the last thing she wants is to attract the attention of a cunning prince.
Dredarion Rath wants one thing: to disgrace his older brother and prove himself the worthier heir to the throne. And out of all the servants in the palace, he chooses Leigh to help him. Just her luck.
Now Leigh has to keep her work a secret from a bewitching man who sees right through her--and who's not nearly as cold and inhuman as he seems. She can't screw this up, or the humans forced into servitude will never go home. But juggling two conspiracies at once, it's only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down, and the man she's falling for has her executed for her betrayal...
This was an interesting read. The novella isn't quite Urban Fantasy as it's set in "the Otherworld", a world full of magic, castles, medieval clothing and a whole host of strange creatures but the "mud people" are humans kidnapped from our world and taken to the Otherworld to be slaves. Given how things play out, I assume it will flip back and forth between the human world and the Otherworld as the series unfolds... But I get ahead of myself.
There is a lot of information to absorb in this novella. You meet the characters, you learn their motivations, you learn a little about how the world works and there are power plays and politics galore! It was interesting and absorbing and kept me turning the pages wanting to see how Leigh and Dredarion's relationship would develop and how their personal feelings would mix with their respective goals.
Despite being interesting throughout, it does have a relatively slow start but it doesn't change the fact that I was on the edge of my seat as the story slowly built to an explosive conclusion that left me desperate to read the next book.
Word of caution: The ending isn't quite a cliffhanger but it flirts with the edge sufficiently to irritate.
My main complaint - and I can't believe I'm saying this - was that the relationship between Leigh and Dredarian went from something teasing and promising to serious feelings, in the blink of an eye. It felt rushed and slightly unsatisfying but even so, I'm not going to lie about being stupidly excited to see how things evolve between them given the events of this book.
I'm also curious as to how Dredarian's relationship with his brother plays out... The pair of them give me Thor and Loki vibes (with Dredarion being the Loki-esqe character) and I thought they were awesome.
Kristen Brand is a new to me author and Poison and Honey is book one in a new series. I had no idea what to expect when I started this book and I'm still not entirely sure what to expect going forward but I'm excited to read more of the series just the same!