Kim Harrison’s “Black Magic Sanction”

The eighth book in Kim Harrison‘s Rachel Morgan series, Black Magic Sanction reels the reader in slowly at first. But as problem upon problem leap at Rachel, the pages begin to turn faster and faster.

Black Magic Sanction begins with a quick trip to the grocery store. Sounds harmless, but not for shunned witch Rachel Morgan. She winds up on the run once again, in and out of demon calling circles and the coven for ethical and moral standard’s clutches. In the end, she’s forced to cut a deal with a demon once again.

Rachel battles both internal and external battles throughout the novel. She struggles with her sense of self, knowing she’s not a demon or a witch, but something in between. She fights to overcome her need for adrenaline and danger, hoping to create a safer, more secure life for her friends and family. She alternates between the need to use black magic, and the desire to remain a white witch, but also wrestles with society’s negative perception of her abilities. She faces down her demon-mentor Al over and over again. And she attempts to push Pierce, a once-dead-now-living witch, out of her heart for good.

All of the internal battles make Rachel seem very wishy-washy, even weak. Much like Harry Potter in the fifth book of J.K. Rowling’s award-winning series, Rachel gets on the readers nerves with her angst. It’s understandable that she would be upset, frustrated, and tired of defending her right to live. But she almost pushes every one who does believe in her away with her self doubt and loathing.

Pierce, on the other hand, takes confidence and power to a new level. His enthusiasm and fearless nature make him an easily lovable character, despite his tendency to use black magic with nary a thought. Algaliarept, also know as Big Al, becomes a main character. Finally. He brings out the worst in Rachel, but also the most cunning.

Black Magic Sanction, the eighth book in Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series, took a while to gain speed and energy. Much like Rachel Morgan herself. But the darker, more self-assured Pierce and Algaliarept more than made up for a whiny protagonist.

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