My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Published: December 8, 2009
Series: Book #8 in the Merry Gentry series
Setting: Present day, Los Angeles
Author Website: http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/
About this series:
Meredith Gentry works as a private investigator for the Grey Detective Agency: Supernatural Problems, Magical Solutions in Los Angeles. It’s a great location to get lost in, which is what Merry has been doing since she ran away from Faerie and her power aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness who wants to kill her. But she can’t run forever, now she is going to have to fight.
About this book:
I can’t believe this is the first Merry Gentry book that I’ve reviewed on my website. And that makes me sad as this series has been great, up until this book. When I read in the book’s acknowledgments that Hamilton had an O-dark-thirty moment while writing this novel I got concerned. I’d still highly recommend this series to anyone, just be sure to start with the first book in the series so that you’ll fall in love with all the main characters and you’ll forgive this book’s few shortcomings.
This is book is filled with plenty of Hamilton’s sharp wit, racy sex and steadfast loyalty. For example, Merry contemplates that having morning sickness in front of the murderers would certainly cause a distraction, but it wouldn’t actually be professional.
While Hamilton is famous for her sexually explicit bedroom scenes, this book lacked the passion that she usually inspires. I started to feel like whenever Hamilton didn’t know what to do with the current mystery she threw Merry into bed. While these scenes certainly inspire lust, they lack an emotional connection which turns lust into passion. The trouble was that Merry’s lovers in this book aren’t the men she loves. They are men that she feels responsible for as the princess but that isn’t love and it shows.
Merry’s loyalty to the Faerie is what drives this series but over the course of 8 books she has collected more followers than we can count on all our fingers and toes. Too many cooks will spoil the soup, and too many characters will muddle the story. It was hard to focus on what this story was about when every time someone entered a scene we got a summary of their history with Merry. It just ruined the pace of this book’s mystery which would have actually been pretty good if it had been given center stage. For example, Hamilton ends this story with a status update on everyone around her. In just the final page and a half of the book all these characters are mentioned: Adair, Adam, Amatheon, Barinthus, Brennan, Brii, Cathbodua, Dogmaela, Doyle, Frost, Galen, Ivi, Jeremy, Julian, Maeve, Merry, Mistral, Rhys, Royal, Saraid, Usna, and Uther. Twenty-two characters, most of which really didn’t have an active role in this book’s core mystery. Yet the history for each of these characters was provided during this book. It is no wonder this book felt slow and methodical. Just introducing them all with one or two lines would fill a decent sized novella.
The ending certainly felt like a good-bye to Merry but I hope that Hamilton has one more Merry book in her so that we could see the birth of her children. She has alluded to another Merry book on her blog but it sounds like it might be a long wait until we read it. Maybe Hamilton is saving the rest of her story for a spin-off about the children. One could hope.
Learn about other books in this series:
Book #1: A Kiss of Shadows
- Published: October 3, 2000
- This first book sets the stage for how difficult it is to be an outsider. While Merry has lived in both the human and Faerie worlds, regardless of where she is she always knows that the other side of her heritage is with her.
Book #2: A Caress of Twilight
- Published: March 26, 2002
- Merry is now surrounded by royal guards who are there to protect and service her. They need to get her pregnant before her cruel cousin, Prince Cel, produces his own heir and claims the throne that rules Faerie.
Book #3: Seduced by Moonlight
- Published: January 3, 2004
- Merry’s power grows as she is surrounded by her royal guards. In this book an ancient relic comes to her. Though some are pleased as it must be a sign that the Goddess is still with Faerie, others are bitter that Merry, a half-breed (half mortal/half fey), would dare to rule the Sidhe.
Book #4: A Stroke of Midnight
- Published: February 1, 2005
- Merry investigates the murder of a fey and a reporter inside Faerie.
Book #5: Mistral’s Kiss
- Published: November 30, 2006
- As the title implies this is Merry and Mistral’s story. Merry still hasn’t conceived a child and if Prince Cel gains the throne her death is certain.
Book #6: A Lick of Frost
- Published: October 23, 2007
- Frost is the key hero in this book. Meanwhile King Taranis, ruler of Seelie Court, tries to get at Merry through her guards. Taranis has accused them of crime to the mortal authorities and if they are convicted they’ll be sent back to Faerie where Taranis will torture them.
Book #7: Swallowing Darkness
- Published: November 4, 2008
- All pretenses of hiding are gone. Merry is a Princess whether she is in Faerie or on mortal land. Her enemy list grows with each new gift from the Goddess. In this book Merry must match wits with Gilda, the Fairy Godmother, and self-proclaimed leader of fey in Los Angeles.