Book Review: A Kiss of Shadows
Plot: A Kiss of Shadows is the first book in the “Merry Gentry” series. The books follows Meredith NicEssus, a sidhee faerie princess of the Unseelie court. After attempts were made on her life, she fled the royal faerie court, ruled by her sadistic aunt, Queen Andais. Although magical creatures are out in the open, Meredith is living undercover in the human world by masking her true identity and working as a private detective for Grey’s Detective Agency under the name Merry Gentry. However, while working on a case, her true identity is revealed and unforeseen events led her back to the Unseelie Court where her aunt makes her an unexpected offer.
My Thoughts: After reading all of the “Anita Blake” books, I was looking forward to Laurell K. Hamilton’s “Merry Gentry” novels. I think I set my expectations too high, because I was hoping to read a book that would rival the first half of the Anita series, but instead I was left feeling disappointed. I hate to compare the two series, but I found so many similarities that it’s hard not to. Even though Meredith’s Fey world is very different than the vampire world of Anita’s, the same themes remain throughout the novel: A petite female character that has more power than she’s aware of and ends up being forced into sexual situations with multiple men makes it so much like the last 10 Anita books. Though, I dont really mind the amount of sex that takes place in the Fey world, it’s to be expected. There was also a line about being one of the monsters that felt very Anita-like and the dialogue was even similar in style.
What truly disappointed me was the repetitive writing and the need to describe every single detail about what each character is wearing in every new setting. At least that’s how it felt. My mind completely checked out of the story a few times, which is why it took me so long to finish the book. It just wouldnt hold my attention for more than a few minutes at a time. That might not have been a problem if I was already connected to the characters, but there was so much going on in the 480 pages, that it felt more like a follow up novel than an introduction to a series. Too many characters were introduced that I found it hard to keep them all straight. The Seelie/Unseelie courts also have a very diverse group of characters/creatures and for several different types of sidhe to be introduced in one book was a bit of an overkill.
Even though the storyline of A Kiss of Shadows was all over the place and kept going all different directions, I like to think the series has potential. The sidhe world has a lot of interesting characters and Merry’s personality makes me want to follow up on what happens to her next. I know LKH is capable of writing a truly great story and parts of her brilliant imagination came through in A Kiss of Shadows. I’m just hoping the next in the series has a more consistent storyline that makes Merry’s world less confusing to dive into.
Read at your own risk if you enjoy stories that mix sex and violence with magic.