Publishers Weekly: Picking up from 2020’s American Demon, Harrison’s 15th The Hollows urban fantasy pits her enduring heroine against a new fearsome foe while still delivering the soap operatic supernatural machinations fans expect. The struggle for control of Cincinnati heats up when master vampire Constance Corson makes it clear that the city isn’t big enough for both her and witch-born demon Rachel Morgan. To protect her friends and save her home, Rachel must fight back with every spell, charm, and ally at her disposal. It won’t be easy: she’s on the outs with her demon mentor, Al; on the verge of homelessness thanks to Constance’s machinations; and her lover, Trent Kalamack, is out of town. While he’s away, Rachel must resist the deadly allure of Pike, her vampiric foil who walks the line between reluctant ally and uneasy enemy. Meanwhile, she’s wrapped up in the intrigues of myriad supernatural factions, caught between friendship and obligation—and if she succeeds in ousting Constance, she may need to accept a level of power and responsibility she’s never wanted. This entry relies on the substantial worldbuilding of the previous novels, which will satisfy existing fans but may leave new readers struggling to catch up. For dedicated readers, however, this proves a rousing addition to the series.
To save the city, Rachel Morgan will need to show some teeth in the next Hollows novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison.
The new master vampire of Cincinnati has arrived . . . and she wants Rachel Morgan out. No matter where Rachel goes, Constance is there–threatening Rachel’s allies, causing city-wide chaos, and, to add insult to injury, even forcing Rachel out of her current quarters. Ever since Rachel found a way to save the souls of vampires, the old undead’s longtime ascendancy has been broken. Now Constance sees eliminating Rachel as the key to consolidating her own power.
Rachel has no desire to be enthralled or killed–and she’s terrified of what may become of the city if Constance forces a return to the ancient ways. But even a witch-born demon can’t stand against the old undead–at least, not alone. And if Rachel refuses to claim the role of Cincinnati’s master demon, the city will tear itself apart, taking her and all those who stand beside her with it.
Library Journal: Constance Corson, the new subrosa, or master vampire, of present-day Cincinnati, has finally arrived, and she’s ready to take out protagonist Rachel Morgan. As Rachel looks for a new home in the Hollows, she learns that many Inderlander vampires are being forced from their homes so that Constance and her group can move in. Unable to ignore the problem, Rachel starts bringing the evicted Inderlanders into a partially destroyed church for temporary residence. Everywhere she turns, Rachel finds that Constance is bullying her friends, cutting off supplies, and terrorizing everyone in her way. To stop Constance, Rachel might need to usurp her role as Cincinnati’s subrosa—and take control of the city—which is more than Rachel believes she can handle. With the return of long-standing characters and the addition of some new faces, Harrison’s new entry in the series reveals Rachel to be a flawed but tenacious person who puts personal ties before power. VERDICT Rachel Morgan comes back strong in her 15th outing (after American Demon), as she takes on a new master vampire and finds herself dealing with emotional turmoil and high-stakes action in equal measures.
Tor.com: It’s been almost one long year since Network Effect dropped, and let’s face it: the world is ready for more Murderbot. Dry wit, misanthropy, and space adventures are promises delivered in full in this month’s 6th installment of Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries…
Murderbot, though, isn’t a stand-in for any other oppressed group, as much as some of us might see ourselves in its outsider-status, hatred of ally condescension, and “not applicable” gender. The prejudice it faces isn’t because it is socially-coded as a weapon, but because it is a weapon, and so the shape those redemption stories take is fundamentally different. Murderbot isn’t a story about simply learning to love yourself as you are, but of reckoning with the decision to not be the thing you were born to be. It’s about learning to trust even in the midst of justifiable fear. It’s also—for all its death and mayhem—a soothing escape from reality, the likes of which Murderbot itself would approve.
NPR: Martha Wells’ newest entry in her award-winning, nerd-charming, trope-bending Murderbot series, FUGITIVE TELEMETRY, is a lot of things that you probably don’t expect.
One of Wells’ superpowers has long been her ability to pack an epic’s worth of material into a very small package. And here, she uses the condensed timeline and single location as a way to put Murderbot in a situation of constant moral reckoning.
Sure, there’s no end here without a showdown, some explosions, a cool robot fight and a messy conclusion full of smugglers, broken glass and gunfire. But how a person (a thing, an object in the process of becoming something else) made to enforce rules, that willed itself into being by breaking them and now compelled to abide by them, gets there without doing itself further moral compromise is the tension that Wells creates. Murderbot was made to be Murderbot. That will never change.
The question is, can it choose to be more?
Booklist: El works as part of the Order, a sisterhood and core central body that rules Aytrium and keeps it running. Her magic, or “lace,” is powered by consuming the flesh of her ancestors. This power comes at a harsh price, and it’s one that El is willing to escape at any cost, which is why she agrees when a resistance group asks her to spy on the sisterhood’s top officials. Hall’s world is intricately woven, with a complex web of side characters, suspenseful pacing, and slowly unraveling revelations. The Order and the world of Aytrium is exceedingly dark, and sexual assault and body horror are major parts of the plot. El’s inner motivations are sometimes revealed very late despite the first-person narration, and the plot’s revelations rush toward an abrupt end that doesn’t quite fit the intricate work of its beginning. All of that said, Star Eater is an exciting horror-fantasy about power, violence, and control, and El’s complicated quest to be free of the violent magic system at the sisterhood’s core will keep readers compelled from the first page.
SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
Machine, Elizabeth Bear (Saga; Gollancz)
Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tordotcom)
Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tordotcom)
The Midnight Bargain, C.L. Polk (Erewhon)
Elatsoe, Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
Beneath the Rising, Premee Mohamed (Solaris)
The Space Between Worlds, Micaiah Johnson (Del Rey; Hodder & Stoughton)
The Best of Elizabeth Bear, Elizabeth Bear (Subterranean)
New Scientist: …a great noir-ish, Agatha Christie-ish murder mystery typical of the series, with far less shoot-’em-up than the series name suggests, plenty of deduction and the navigation of awkward relationships.
Like all the Murderbot books, the plot is fast and the dialogue punchy, a snappy vehicle to carry the bigger narrative arc of Murderbot as it emerges from its defensive psychological cocoon.