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This and all of my other reviews are originally posted on my blog (un)Conventional Bookviews
Black Magic Sanction is yet another wild ride for Rachel and her friends, and it sure is for the readers as well! It's impossible not to feel for Rachel in this installment, because so many things happen to her, and she just can't catch a break. And there are some tough things she needs to come to term with. Both when it comes to herself and the society of witches known as the coven.
My review of Black Magic Sanction is pretty much spoiler free, but there are spoilers from prior books, it's impossible to review the 8th book in a series without talking about some of the things that have happened before, especially in a series that has some really well thought-out long-term plots that span over several books. I try to keep even those spoilers to a minimum, but if you are unfamiliar with The Hollows, you might want to check out my review of Dead Witch Walking and maybe start reading the series before you continue reading this review :)
As Rachel continues to work with Al, and tries to compartmentalize her life, telling herself a curse is just a different kind of spell, the coven continues to track her down by all means necessary. Even when Rachel tries to talk to the head honchos in a rational way, all they see is white spell vs black curse. The fact that Rachel uses the curses for good is not something the coven wants to even consider, especially because they use their white spells to kill. It always amazes me that Rachel truly is morally sound and saves other peoples' lives even when her own life would be a lot easier if she just let them get killed or snatched by demons.
The pace is pretty fast, but slows down in important moments, and Black Magic Sanction shows the readers a lot about Rachel as a whole, how she is always trying to make the right choice even when she is at risk herself. I love that the readers also get to know even more about Trent, he is a very interesting, intriguing and secretive character whom I have appreciated from the get-go. He might be a criminal, but like Rachel, he appears to have good reasons for doing what he does.
One of the curses Rachel has twisted in the past is used again in Black Magic Sanction, but for the opposite effect, and for the best reason there ever is to use a curse and take the stain on her soul : to save someone she loves with all her heart. And the way she deals with loss and the possibility of even more of it is very well done. Rachel shows a softer side when she comforts someone else, a side that she doesn't often have to put to the forefront.
In order to make sure the coven will leave her alone, Rachel comes up with a plan that is both hilarious and dangerous, and that danger is there in part because she needs her ex Nick to pull it through. I loved how Rachel dealt with this particular problem, though, and I appreciated it even more that Ivy and Jenks had finally thought of something to make sure Rachel would not ever fall into any of Nicks traps again. Because man, that guy is slippery!   I can't give enough praise for The Hollows series, and I will be forever thankful to Brandee, Jaclyn and Robyn for telling me I needed to read this. So now, I'm returning the favor, if you haven't read Black Magic Sanction yet, go pick it up! It's awesome. There aren't many series that keep being awesome through so many books, but here is one. And I wish it would go on forever, Rachel continues to surprise me, the side characters are always extremely well done, and the writing is close to perfect.
Her face wrinkled when she saw me looking at her. "Honestly, Al, you're going to have to do better, " she said, her words long and drawn out. "You almost let her kill herself. Again."
"What's his name?" I asked as we emerged blinking into the sun. "Tulpa, but I call him Mr. T."
The coven could kill people using white magic with no reprisal, but I use a black curse to save someone and I get shunned.   Jenks made a gagging sound. "This is so sweet, I think I'm going to barf fairy farts."   "The point is, you could excel if you would simply exert yourself!" Al complained. My head shifted back and forth. "I don't want ot be a demon. I just want my name back so my life can go back to chaotic and weird instead of chaotic and desperate."   "Let me out, Pierce!" Jenks insisted. "Or I'm going to use your nuts for a beanbag chair!"