Black Magic Sanction by K. Harrison

Kim Harrison delivers another fantastic story with the seventh Hollows novel, Black Magic Sanction.

Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter—and lived to tell the tale. But she’s never faced off against her own kind . . . until now. Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment—at worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom, but trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and an ex-boyfriend turned thief.

It takes a witch to catch a witch, but survival bears a heavy price.

The one thing I liked about Black Magic Sanction is we finally get to see a little more of the witch side of things.  There’s always talk about this coven that oversees all the witches, but we’ve never really seen anything about them.  This time, we see a lot more than we have in the past and not all of it is good.  Well, it’s a bureaucratic organization, of course it’s not all good.  *grin*  However, with the addition of the coven, we were able to see more of Cincinnati through Rachel’s eyes, plus we get some fabulous development for a lot of our favorite characters.

I have to say that the biggest development would have to be to Rachel.  She’s always envisioned herself has this strong confident woman, but in Black Magic Sanction it’s very obvious she’s not.  She definitely needs to grow up and realize that her world is not black and white, that there are gray areas and she needs to be able to navigate through them.  Her unwillingness to even consider anything “bad” being for the greater good totally has negative consequences and I think she’s finally realizing she needs to grow up and re-evaluate herself.  It very much seems like she is, especially once she really looks at Ivy, Jenks and Ceri and starts to compare herself to them.  It becomes extremely obvious that she’s still naive once Nick returns.

Oh yeah, Nick is back and he does not have Rachel’s best interest at heart.  It’s even questioned if he ever had her best interest at heart and Rachel begins to see the relationship they had in a totally different light.  I can tell you though, we’ll be seeing more of him and Rachel will not be as happy the next time around.

I don’t know about anyone else, but does anyone else get the impression that Trent and Rachel’s relationship is going to change…alot?  I know Rachel turned him into her familiar in The Outlaw Demon Wails, but some of the events that take place in Black Magic Sanction gives me a lot of ideas that things are going to change and I’m not exactly sure how.  There are times where I think Trent is totally crushing on Rachel, and even though we don’t see Trent as much as I thought we would after reading the blurb, my feelings on this are still strong.  In either case, their relationship is changing and I can’t see where it ends up.

I have to talk about Al.  He is totally crushing on Rachel and I think he has from the beginning.  Seriously, the change in their relationship now that she’s not his familiar, but his student, is freaky.  I mean, would a demon show is true form to just anyone?  Did we get a glimpse of Al’s true form?  I think we did and I think that’s because he’s going to surprise us where Rachel is concerned.

As for Pierce, I haven’t made up my mind on him yet.  I’m not sure if he’s going to be good or bad, but I do feel like he has a hidden agenda where Rachel is concerned.  He does try to help her, but he wants to do things his way, and ways he knows Rachel isn’t totally comfortable with.  I do believe that she’s not going to end up with him in the end. I can’t see it.  Honestly.  Pierce is either going to get Rachel killed because of his destructive personality or his own agenda is going to make him betray her in some fashion.  I’m just not sure which its going to be.

There’s not much that I can say about the plot. It’s been too long since I’ve read Black Magic Sanction, but from what I do remember, it was fabulous.  Strange that I can say that, but I just picked up the book to read one scene and I’m instantly engrossed in the story again.  Pieces came back to me and it made me want to go back through and read it again.  Harrison’s stories always flow wonderfully and I know that if I was to re-read it again, it wouldn’t take me long at all since I wouldn’t be able to put it down.

Overall, what can I say about Black Magic Sanction that hasn’t already been said?  If you’re a fan of Kim Harrison, then you already know what a fabulous storyteller she is and Black Magic Sanction is no different.  The story instantly captivates, the characters are engaging and you totally get invested in them, and I simply want more.  Pale Demon doesn’t come out soon enough for me, but I know I can always revisit any novel in this series and still get a great read.  If you haven’t tried any of the Rachel Morgan (aka Hollows) series yet, then you really should.  If you’re a fan of the series and haven’t picked up Black Magic Sanction, then you’re missing out.  It’s simple as that.

Read Order:
Dead Witch Walking
The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
Every Which Way But Dead
A Fistful of Charms
For a Few Demons More
The Outlaw Demon Wails
White Witch, Black Curse
Pale Demon (2011)

Also Reviewed By:
Tricia’s review at Literary Escapism
Books Books Everywhere
Bibliophilic Book Blog
Book Smugglers
BSC Review
Falcata Times

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. I’ve been thinking the Trent and Rachel things was in the works since I think For a Few Demon More. I just always got that impression that he has the hots for her, vice versa. And of course Al is just well, Al, so he might be just doing some things to upset her, who knows. I don’t know how far that one will go. Good review and you brought up some good questions. These books are so intense I feel like i need to reread them over and over again to digest all the info.

  2. From all that Kim is saying about Trent and Rachel, I don’t think they will end up together. I want them to try ;) I am just glad there is suppose to be a happy ending for all our favorite characters. Maybe we haven’t even met Rachel’s HEA. I am very curious about Newts role. And I just love Bis . I’m with you, can’t wait for the next book!

  3. I love the weird relationship that Rachel and Al have, I think in his own strange way he loves her as much as he’s capable of. Al is possibly (probably) my favourite character in the series atm. ;)

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