Friday, January 12, 2018

A Kiss of Shadows - Laurell K. Hamilton

Well, the first book read and reviewed in 2018 is not one I would have expected. I'd have thought the first book might have been either David Weber's The Honor of the Queen or the companion book to The Crown.

A Kiss of Shadows (Merry Gentry 1) - Laurell K. HamiltonA Kiss of Shadows
Laurell K. Hamilton
Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2002

The product description:
Meet Merry Gentry, paranormal P.I., and enter a thrilling, sensual world as dangerous as it is beautiful, full of earthly pleasures and dazzling magic, and ruled by the all-consuming passions of immortal beings once worshipped as gods . . . or demons.

Merry Gentry, princess of the high court of Faerie, is posing as a human in Los Angeles, working as a private investigator specializing in supernatural crime. But now the queen’s assassin has been dispatched to fetch her—whether she likes it or not. Suddenly Merry finds herself a pawn in her dreaded aunt’s plans. The job that awaits her: enjoy the constant company of the most beautiful immortal men in the world. The reward: the crown—and the opportunity to continue to live. The penalty for failure: death. 
I know I read this back when it first came out. I can't say if I ever reread it. It's definitely been a while though - there's no review for a previous read here. It's also been long enough that while I remembered the occasional scene from the book, I couldn't remember any of the story beyond the very broadest of strokes. At any rate, I got the itch to reread and bought the first two books in the series (A Kiss of Shadows and A Caress of Twilight) from Kobo a couple of days ago. I started reading yesterday and finished the last twenty pages or so today. In other words, I couldn't put the book down for long at all.

It's not as important with e-books but I remember the original cover, red and black, and I distinctly prefer it to the new cover shown here. It was a cover less likely to raise eyebrows and garner comments from those around I think (part of the reason I've gone e-book for Laurell K. Hamilton's books this time).

On this read I found myself comparing the world that Laurell K. Hamilton has created with the similar(ish) world created for the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Very similar, and yet very different. Both start from a similar mythological base but they take the worlds in such different directions. I do think that if you like the one you'll like the other however.

I'm definitely enjoying the window into a world generally viewed as the "bad guys" and "evil" in a lot of other books (Mercedes Lackey's SERRAted Edge series comes to mind). A world where they're not entirely good, but not all evil, just trying to live as anyone else would be.

The one thing about this series (which is also true of the Anita Blake books by the same author) which might not be to everyone's tastes is that the books are very frank about  sex and relationships. Or maybe it's just me that found that a bit shocking the first time I read the series. On the other hand, at least with the first book there weren't quite as many "vivid/gruesome" scenes as I noted in my review of Guilty Pleasures (from the Anita Blake world).

Either way, I really enjoyed the read this time. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I more or less read a book in one day like that. I think it's been a while though, at least based on the last couple of years worth of reviews I've posted here. More often I've been having trouble finishing books - or if I do finish them, it's been after such long breaks that I've forgotten the first half of the story.

Laurell K. Hamilton has created an interesting world to go along with Meredeth Gentry, one where we've only just scraped the surface and there are depths yet to be discovered, both in the characters and the world they inhabit.

Almost immediately on finishing A Kiss of Shadows I've rolled into A Caress of Twilight, and also bought the third book in the series, Seduced by Moonlight. Definitely enjoying the re-reads.

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