Jan 27 2013 11:00am

The Sad, Lonely Bed of the Hollows’s Rachel Morgan

Ever After by Kim HarrisonUrban fantasy heroes and heroines aren’t known for their stable relationships. I mean, once you get past Cat and Bones, Mercy and Adam, and Charles and Anna, the picture gets ugly, fast. (And two of those three are from the same author, the obviously stable Patricia Briggs.)

Poor Sookie’s slept her way through half of the greater Shreveport area since the early days of bliss with Vampire Bill. Harry Dresden couldn’t find a lasting relationship if a woman were Superglued to his leather duster. And Anita we really even want to go there? (And there, and there, and there?)

But maybe the worst love life of all belongs to Rachel Morgan, the “itchy witch” heroine of Kim Harrison’s Hollows series. Rachel wants to find the right guy (she loves vampire Ivy as a friend and not the way Ivy wants), but Rachel has had buzzard’s luck when it comes to romance.

In honor of Ever After, the eleventh book in the series (out of thirteen), which has just been released, let’s have a quick, graded retrospective on Rachel’s love life.

Dead Witch Walking by Kim HarrisonNick Sparagmos was the first guy to catch Rachel’s eye. She met him midway through the first book of the series, Dead Witch Walking, after Trent Kalamack trapped Rachel while she’d turned herself into a mink. After keeping her in a cage for a while, he decided to throw her into the city rat-fight ring. One of her first opponents was a big, scarred rodent who turned out to be a cursed human named Nick. Thrown together by furry circumstances, Rachel should have known Nick would be trouble. Over the course of the series, he’s been proven a demon-consorting thief, a hopeless liar, and obnoxiously selfish, yet Rachel forgave him again and again. Until, finally, even she’d had enough betrayal.
Grade: S, for Slimeball.

Next, she moved on to Kisten Phelps. Beautiful, blond vampire Kisten, despite the unlikely pairing (he was Piscary’s scion and Ivy’s ex), was good for Rachel, and vice-versa. With Rachel’s help, Kisten overcame an ugly past to become a noble, emotionally rich character. In fact, Rachel and Kisten were such a perfect couple that Kim Harrison, speaking in an interview, said she felt they were in danger of a happily ever after. There’s nothing quite so deadly for an ongoing series than an HEA in book three or four, so Kisten had to go. I mean, GO, permanently and finally. Seven books later, many Hollows fans, perhaps including this one, have never quite gotten over it.
Grade: P, for Perfection (and maybe M, for Martyr).

After having her heart ripped out and stomped on, it was perhaps forgiveable that Rachel next turned to a fellow witch, Marshal. Marshal wasn’t a bad guy at all, and in fact met Rachel while helping her try to fix yet another of Nick’s fiascos. In the end, though, Marshal was way too normal to deal with Rachel’s mess, and there’s nothing to kill a blooming romance like having one’s significant other being shunned. Given a choice between walking away from Rachel or staying with her and being seen as a pariah by the whole witching community, Marshal walked. Even Rachel didn’t blame him. Well, not much. Eventually.
Grade: C, for coward.

As Rachel was drawn more and more into the Ever After and the world of everybody’s favorite demon Algaliarept, aka Al, the next man to try and claim her heart was Gordian Pierce. Is a male ghost-witch still considered a man? Probably, since Pierce—a Civil War-era witch buried alive in Rachel’s cemetery—makes a deal with Al to gain a body and hopes to get Rachel to return his love. But as much as Pierce loves Rachel, she learned the hard way that she couldn’t trust his decisions. He was destructive and Rachel eventually came to consider him as amoral—which is saying something considering he keeps company with Newt the ancient, crazy demon.
Grade: U, for undeserving.

And now, at last, we come to Trent Kalamack, with whom Rachel and most Hollows readers have had a relationship that has gone from hate-hate, to hate-lust, to hate-grudgingly-tolerate, to hate-very grudgingly-like. She’s trying now for hate-like-trust. There was a Kiss (yes, that capital letter was intentional) at the end of Pale Demon that seemed to begin a shift in their contentious relationship that continues through A Perfect Blood (2012) and now Ever After.

Trent’s annoying ex-fiancee Ellasbeth is back in the picture (who also happens to be the soul-sucking elven mother of his child). Yet one can’t help but hope that in the end, when the thirteenth and final Hollows book comes out in 2015, maybe Rachel and Trent find their way together—if they don’t kill each other first.
Grade it C.O., for Cautiously Optimistic.

After all the betrayal and treachery and heartbreak, doesn’t a red-haired itchy witch deserve an HEA?


Suzanne Johnson writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy. The most recent book in her Sentinels of New Orleans series is River Road. You can learn more about her at her daily book blog, Preternatura.

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1. Rebe
Poor Rachel! I'm still heartbroken about Kisten. :( But Trent might be promising. Might. We'll see!
Lege Artis
2. LegeArtis
Curran and Kate from Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews - very stable relationship in UF...
I was big Kisten fan... Harrison broke my heart killing him...
3. Torifl
I have never gotten over Kristen's death nor foriven Harrison for putting me through it. What scares me is Harrison has, on numerous occasions, cited that Rachel will not recieve a normal romantic HEA. Eeep.
4. Charlayne
Love it. Of course, my husband is the big Rachel fan in our family and he's still hoping for and Ivy/Rachel hitch-up.

I can't see Harrison not giving her an HEA in the end, unless she kills her, of course.
5. Stacey M
I've been kinda leaning toward Trent/Rachel ever since he kissed her to bring her soul back. And, I feel even more so after reading Ever After. But, there is a large part of me that keeps hoping that somehow, someway Kist will come back - maybe Kim Harrison should read Drink Deep? And, I have a little bit of a crush on Al too, especially after what we discovered in Ever After about his wife and his feelings for Ceri. Figuring out a way to give Rachel the best of all 3 guys would be the perfect (for me) HEA.
Suzanne Johnson
6. suzannej3523
I have to admit I've been kind of hoping for a Rachel-Trent HEA for a while now, even before the kiss. Trent is such a loose cannon...but then again so is Rachel. I love Al, but just can't quite see it happening. Ivy's unsettled again, so I have to say a) I loved what seemed liked deserving resolutions for several characters in Ever After, and b) I honestly have no idea where Kim is going to take Rachel at the end. Two more books....But I loved the maturity Rachel shows in EA.
7. Sue S
I'm really sad to say this, but after EA, I'm officially tired of them all. Seems like we've been dancing around the same issues FOREVER. Ivy's angst, Rachel's immaturity, Trent's situational morality, over and over and over. Same song different verse; same dress different color. And we still have two more books to go? I don't think so......
Phyllis Lamken
8. flip58
Hahaha I love Gordon Pierce, much, much more than Kisten.
Suzanne Johnson
9. suzannej3523
@Sue S -- I might have agreed with you a little up until this one. I really felt Rachel had grown up in EA, and Trent's behavior a little easier to understand. They're still treading the same ground, relationship-wise, but EA felt as if they were all taking some solid steps instead of one forward and three back. Well, except Ivy. That situation does seem to go on. I'm predicting a vampire-centric book twelve, but that's a total guess.
10. Jennifer R
I have no hope for Rachel's love life, and that was before I heard that the author states she won't get that kind of happy ending.

As for her and Trent...I dunno...probably would still go wrong somehow. Sigh. I don't feel strongly about it at this point, but I also wouldn't invest in any guy as a romantic interest for her now!
Suzanne Johnson
11. suzannej3523
@Jennifer...I hadn't read that Rachel wasn't going to get a romantic HEA, but that doesn't surprise me. The whole thing with Rachel was that she had to learn to accept herself, learn her strengths, and figure out who she is. In some ways, it might even be a copout to have her "find herself" through someone else. Still, I'm foolish and romantic enough to hope :-). Of course, I'm also still holding a grudge over the whole Kisten thing.
12. Renee_r_wils
Kisten should have never been kept away. Take him out for a few books but have him (as a surprise) show up in the end and let Rachel choose. Very stupid to have gotten rid of Kisten. If fans aren't satisfied, getting them to read another one of your series can be hopeless. (they know you'll disappoint them yet again, not to mention the hundreds of typos and mistakes readers had to pay for and put up with throughout the entire series.) Also, the cover of the book (s) should depict a woman with curly hair since readers heard nothing else but how annoying Rachels hair was to her. Hundreds of times through the series we read how Rachel "tucked a stray curl behind her ear" time and time again. You give the cover picture straight hair? Lol Readers were inundated with adjectives describing her hair. The book cover pics would have been much better with a truer looking Rachel.
13. minesha
Man, that is a lot and lot of relationships. I started reading the 8th book first where Trent and Rachel kiss..any oh my I absolutely loved it !! I can't wait when they oficially actually get together!

In which book does Charles and Anna come?
14. VampireNovelFan
I think people have been misunderstanding Kim Harrison. In terms of Rachel's HEA she didn't mean she wouldn't have one. It's just that the ending isn't going to be the white picket fence with 2.5 kids. Rachel's going to find her ultimate love before the series end (she actually finds it in The Undead Pool), but Kim doesn't plan to be gag-worthy about it and for that I'm personally grateful. I find myself constantly annoyed by endings that wrap everything up in the perfect little bow. Though this is fantasy, I want something a little more realistic.
15. roxanne rhoads
I hope Trent and Rachel have a happy ever after. I knew something was between them from the very first book evn if they didn't know it and most fans didn't want it.

I adored Kisten and hated to see him go but I had a feeling things would always head towards Trent. I guess I have a sense for love/hate relationships. LOL

I don't know if Rachel's happy ending will be exactly what everyone expects or hopes for I just hope it works out and makes most of us readers happy too.
16. Drew Goodwin
No to the nasty CEO Trent. Reminds me of a recent Presidential candidate I once had for governor. I think Rachel and Ivy would make a better match. My two cents. Please don't flame me over politics I'm just making a point that he sees soulless shallow and self absorbed.
17. Tracy Stewart
I really loved rach and kristen, I was heart broken when he died. I have started to like Al but know it would never work cause he can't be trusted, and I love the way Trent and Rach's new relationship is developing. She had better have a happy ending....I think most readers would be really annoyed to follow a character so long and not have a happy ending...unhappy endings are for reality, not fantasy.
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