Carolyn Cushman Reviews Million Dollar Demon by Kim Harrison and Cast in Conflict by Michelle Sagara

Kim Harrison, Million Dollar Demon (Ace 978-0-593-10144-5, $28.00, 464pp, hc) June 2021.

Rachel Morgan’s got plenty of problems in this 15th book in the Hollows series. Everyone now knows she’s a demon, the church that was her home and office is in ruins and no contractor will work on it, her efforts to find a new place keep falling through, she’s on the outs with her demon mentor, her rich boyfriend is out of town with his ex, and Cincinnati’s new master vam­pire, Constance Corson, is due to take over in two weeks – and she really wants Rachel out of town. Things rapidly snowball from there, and Rachel finds herself camping out in the ruined chuch with displaced witches, werewolves, pix­ies, gargoyles, and even vampires. But Constance, as sadistic a monster as Rachel has faced so far, is about to learn that Rachel’s most dangerous when her back’s against the wall and her loved ones are threatened – and this time she finds some delightfully ingenious ways to fight that don’t require world-shattering levels of power, just a little help from her friends.

Michelle Sagara, Cast in Conflict (Mira 978-0-7783-0938-3, $16.99, 544pp, tp) June 2021.

Kaylin Neya had enough conflict at home, what with Bellusdeo, the last female dragon, living with her, along with a cohort of 12 argumenta­tive Barrani – but in this 16th volume in the Chronicles of Elantra Kaylin’s housemates have a new quarrel, arguing with disruptive force over who will become lord of one of the powerful fief Towers that protect the world from Shadow. The Tower will choose its own lord, but that doesn’t stop the fighting. A lot of time is spent going over why the dragon and the cohort leader want the position, and how the cohort members feel about it, and how various other characters feel about it, and how it all affect the political balance of Elantra. The talking goes on at great length, and frequently resorts to the usual device of people telling Kaylin all the things she doesn’t know, or, even more infuriatingly, just hinting that she doesn’t understand what’s really going on. Add too many people involved in the conversations, so that it’s not always clear who’s talking, and it gets to be a bit much. For those invested in the series, though, there’s enough tantalizing new information to make things just enticing enough to keep going, and the last quarter of the book packs in enough magical action to make it all worthwhile.

Carolyn F. Cushman, Senior Editor, has worked for Locus since 1985, the longest of any of the current staff, and handles our in-house books database, writes our New and Notable section, and does the monthly Books Received column. She is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in English. She published a fantasy novel, Witch and Wombat, in 1994.

This review and more like it in the July 2021 issue of Locus.

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