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Giant Laurell K. Hamilton Post

August 12, 2012

Not the worst cover art I’ve seen

Laurell K. Hamilton is a name that has been in my consciousness for a long time.  The first book I read from her was Nightseer, which came out in 1992.  I’ve been waiting for the sequel ever since.  Although, she is a very, very different author now; I’m not sure that it would really feel like a true sequel if the Hamilton of 2012 were to pick up where she left off back in 1992.  Hmm.  Things to ponder.

The cover art on the version I read wasn’t awesome.

Hamilton is probably most well known for the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books.  Book one, Guilty Pleasures, came out in 1993.  The series is now on about #20 with one novella and one outtake (Micah and Beauty).  I’ll be honest.  I stopped reading them after #10, Narcissus in Chains.  There’s nothing wrong with them.  They’re not bad books.  They just went in a direction that I didn’t want to follow; which, oddly enough, is kind of the direction that the Meredith Gentry books start with.  At the end of the day, it all comes down to sex.  The Anita books start off with a very repressed and conflicted young woman fighting against her feelings as much as she’s fighting against the monsters.  By the midpoint in the series Anita has embraced all of it; feelings, monsters, and multiple partners.  That’s great.  I’m happy for her.  I’m just not interested in it.  I liked her repressed and

Sexy legs! Or possibly poison ivy.

controlled.  I liked her outsider perspective on both the normal world and the supernatural world.  She didn’t quite fit in to either place.  I thought that was really fascinating.  So, I set her aside.  About the same time (2000) A Kiss of Shadows came out.

Merry Gentry is a princess of the fey.  She’s part human, part brownie, and part princess of the Unseelie court.  She isn’t at all repressed.  She’s in hiding from her aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness; her uncle, the King of Light and Illusion; her psychotic cousin Cel, heir to the  Unseelie throne; and any other assorted fey that might be interested in her.  Yeah, that doesn’t last.  By the end of the first book Meredith has been outted as a fairy princess, she and Cel have been declared co-heirs – the first one to have a child gets the throne.  To help with this Meredith is given a selection of the Queen’s guard as her personal harem/bodyguards.  So, not much in the way of repression here.  I liked that.  I liked knowing what I was getting from the start.  And yes, sometimes it feels like the plot is packed in around the personal stuff, but at least I find the personal stuff interesting.  And yes, the sex is pretty hot.  So, that’s handy. 

Darkness is... purple?I know I’ve talked about this series before.  And, I don’t really want to go into a ton of detail on later books since basic plot elements in books five or six would count as spoilers for books two or three.  I’ll put up a parade of covers… yeah, they’re not awesome.  But they could be so much worse, so I’ll take it.  I read most of these in about ten days so I’d have a hard time doing a detailed analysis of them anyway.  And that’s not what they’re for.  They’re sort of like literary popcorn.  They’re light, they’ve been covered in enough condiments to make them a little bit bad for you, but only if you overindulge.  And they’re fast.  I’ve finished all eight books and the amount of story time elapsed is probably six months or so.  Some of the books pick up hours or even minutes after the previous book ended. 

It’s not a series that I would recommend for slow, measured reading.  It rewards rushing, even gorging.  At the very least I would advise reading the previous couple of books before picking up a new one.  There are certainly rough spots.  Some of the characters are annoying, but I feel like they’re that way for character reasons not because of poor writing.  Frost, in particular, gets on my nerves.  He’s remarkably insecure for a preternaturally beautiful super-being.  But, eventually, even he becomes a little more human and I can forgive his less attractive personality quirks.  The thing I do really like about the character of Merry, is that she’s not blind to the faults in her lovers.  She sees them, she just likes them anyway.

A Kiss of Shadows – read in 2001
A Caress of Twilight – #28
Seduced by Moonlight – #46
A Stroke of Midnight – #48
Mistrals Kiss – #49
A Lick of Frost – #50 (Halfway to my goal!  Woo hoo!!!)
Swallowing Darkness – #53
Divine Misdemeanors – #54

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