Reviewed by Oona Juutinen
The Undead Pool is urban fantasy, peppered with some alternative history, and set in the USA where supernatural beings such as witches, vampires, and elves now live openly (if somewhat uneasily) amongst regular folks. And connected to each of these groups, having her nose in everybody’s business all over supernatural Cincinnati, is Rachel Morgan – witch and day-walking demon, who also happens to be the alpha female of a werewolf pack, and who seems to have a habit of attracting trouble where ever she goes.
This time trouble begins when mysterious bubbles of magic appear over Cincinnati, causing the most ordinary spells to misfire disastrously and the local vampire masters to fall into a potentially deadly slumber. Other vampires then get rowdy, chaos ensues, and even the Goddess of the elves (who might not even be real but, if she is, she is probably insane) seems to be involved… And Rachel, of course, is somehow connected to it all.
As the penultimate book of a series planned to consist of 13 parts, The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison feels like an epic beginning of the end: there are car chases and explosions aplenty, as well as quite an impressive amount of twists and turns. And of course loads of sexual tension between Rachel and an elf called Trent, who apparently have had a will-they-or-won’t-they relationship going on for several books already.
Had I read the previous books and thus been able to appreciate the build-up and the conclusions the series is coming to more, I might have viewed The Undead Pool differently. Now, however, the book felt quite superficial, its plot flimsy under the accelerated action. For fans of the series, though, this book will probably be exactly what the doctor ordered. As for me, I will treat it as a lesson learned: reading the 12th installment of a series, with no prior knowledge of what has gone down in the previous books, simply does not lead to a very fulfilling reading experience.
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Paperback edition expected in July 2014. Ebook available for The Undead Pool, as well as nr. 11, A Perfect Blood. Oddly enough, there are ebooks available of most of the anthologies containing short stories set in The Hollows universe: Dates from Hell, Hotter than Hell, Holidays are Hell, Unbound and Into the Woods.