Jennifer's Reviews > A Kiss of Shadows

A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton
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Sep 11, 09

Read in September, 2009

Good: The set-up and the world. I liked the alternate history, the laws for use of magic, the different kinds of fey creatures, the hybrid breeds and how they fit into the court. Bad: Uh...shouldn't there be a more interesting way of inserting the background? Can't they expound in a more interesting setting than a description of them walking down a hallway? Or sitting in a car? Occasionally Hamilton tries to remedy this and in the middle of an exciting chase scene she will stop the action dead and let the characters have a long conversation about the background. It's more interesting than the long corridor scenes but still not the best delivery.

Good: The initial mystery. The idea of a “Ted Bundy” who could magically make women obsessed with him was sinister, creepy, and would strike fear into every woman's heart. Bad: That was dropped like last-year's shoes early in the book. Merri didn't gather clues, or puzzle out who was responsible. Someone told her. Yawn.

Good: The scene where Merri had to flee from the hags and night flyers. She ends up stuck between them and someone who kills with spiders. It was absolutely thrilling. Bad: It ended with, “That’s OK. We don’t want to kill you. We want to be your friend – more if you want because you’re so pretty.” Double Yawn.

Good: Merri's decision to proactively get the goblins on her side. It's actually more forethought and initiative than Anita Blake has shown in all 17 books. Let’s face it, there is more to a strong woman than someone who carries weapons and kicks butt. We certainly wouldn't nominate a man for "strong" if those were his only qualifications. Unlike Anita, Merri tries to think ahead instead of going with the flow and whining about it. Bad: She still needs to faint into the arms of strong men. Will the strength last?

Good: The final confrontation. Nice back stabbing. Nice twist on the "hand of flesh" weapon. I like the sentient abyss itself - a fate much more horrifying than death and it moves by itself. And nice that Merri doesn't ask a big, strong burly man to help her. Bad: They just happened to randomly walk into the room with the abyss? The bad guys didn't lure her, push her, drag her, trick her? Their plan was to just sit around and wait for her to enter the room with the abyss? No wonder they keep losing. There could have been a more interesting lead-up.

Good: Beautiful people. Bad: Boring people. If only they did more interesting things. Sex does not count as interesting. I think in one of the Anita Blake stories Hamilton says, "Good sex isn't neat and clean." Exactly. Book sex just makes people who have good sex roll their eyes and snicker.

Bad: The clothes, the sex, the clothes, the sex, the clothes, the sex...it borders on pedantic. When I read fantasy, I like reading about different ideas, different realities. I want to read about people doing different things than I am - even if those things are chasing bad guys and using guns (things I don't want to do in real life.) The primary audience seems to be American adult women – a demographic that is not deprived of clothes or sex in everyday life. While those things have their place in fantasy, they in themselves are not all that fantastical.

The clothes scenes remind me of playing Barbies with a girl in my third grade class. After fifty outfits, I was asking, “Can we pretend she’s going to steal a treasure from an evil magician yet? Don't your dolls do anything besides put on dresses?”

The sex reminds me of high school when I played Dungeons and Dragons with a group of 14-year-old-virgins. Amusing, but REALLY?
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