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A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton
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's review
Dec 12, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: i-own
Read in December, 2009

Meredith Gentry #1: A Kiss of Shadows, by Laurell K. Hamilton

I think this is either a book you love, or a book you hate. There's not much of an in-between. Personally, I rather enjoy this book and have reread it a few times - generally once a year, before I read the newest book in the Merry series.

The basic concept is that Merry Gentry is a faerie princess living in voluntary exile in Los Angeles, working as a private detective. She'd fled the royal courts after she realized the assassination attempts would never stop - most of the sidhe do not welcome Merry because she is half human, and thus half mortal. Her exile is broken when her aunt, Queen Andais sends for Merry - she wants to recognize her niece as heir to the throne at last. But in the Unseelie court, politics are deadly, and just treading water takes a tremendous amount of work. And Andais's offer, like much that occurs at the courts, is not what it seems...

I think the biggest complaint about Hamilton's writing is the amount of sex included in her works. However this first volume is pretty slim in the erotic aspect. I enjoy the Merry series because of the world Hamilton has created - the updating of old stories and legends, the unique characters of the sidhe, the intriguing court politics. Even the human world is aware of the fey and magic; police departments have witches on staff, reporters can sense magic and use it on the trail of stories, etc. I don't care for erotica, and tend to skip past those sections, but I've read where Hamilton says she uses a lot of it for character development and that I can see.

I really, really enjoy many of the characters in Merry's world. Doyle, the Darkness, a sidhe who was the queen's left-hand enforcer - a man who is stern, scary, and yet vulnerable. Barinthus, a former god with the nickname "Queen-maker." Rhys, one of the few sidhe to enjoy the modern world, with a love for Bogart and film noire. Queen Andais, a rather terrifying, sadistic monarch. And Kitto, who's quickly becoming my favorite - a goblin-sidhe crossbred who's agoraphobic and short in stature, a little child who's two thousand years old. And the sidhe...a race much like elves, with glowing skin and beautiful eyes. Many of the sidhe have tricolored eyes, with three bands of color; the sidhe descriptions make for some very gorgeous characters.

All in all, I think it's a pretty damn good story. I love the amount of detail and thought Hamilton puts into her world and its characters. I like how she reveals parts of sidhe history as the book unravels, as well as drops hints about Merry's past. Even though I have read it before, I'm always saying to myself "just one more page" as I go through it again.

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