Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Stroke of Midnight - Laurell K. Hamilton

A Stroke of Midnight - Laurell K. HamiltonA Stroke of Midnight (Merry Gentry #4)
Laurell K. Hamilton
Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2006
978-0345443601

The amazon.com product description:
I am Meredith Gentry, P.I., solving cases in Los Angeles, far from the peril and deception of my real home–because I am also Princess Meredith, heir to the darkest throne faerie has to offer. The Unseelie Court infuses me with its power. But at what price does such magic come? How much of my human side will I have to give up, and how much of the sinister side of faerie will I have to embrace? To sit on a throne that has ruled through bloodshed and violence for centuries, I might have to become that which I dread the most.

Enemies watch my every move. My cousin Cel strives to have me killed even now from his prison cell. But not all the assassination attempts are his. Some Unseelie nobles have waited centuries for my aunt Andais, Queen of Air and Darkness, to become weak enough that she might be toppled from her throne. Enemies unforeseen move against us–enemies who would murder the least among us.

The threat will drive us to allow human police into faerie for the first time in our history. I need my allies now more than ever, especially since fate will lead me into the arm of Mistral, Master of Storms, the queen’s new captain of her guard. Our passion will reawaken powers long forgotten among the warriors of the sidhe. Pain and pleasure await me–and danger, as well, for some at that court seek only death.

I will find new joys with the butterfly-winged demi-fey. My guards and I will show all of faerie that violence and sex are as popular among the sidhe as they are among the lesser fey of our court. The Darkness will weep, and Frost will comfort him. The gentlest of my guards will find new strength and break my heart. Passions undreamed of await us–and my enemies gather, for the future of both courts of faerie begins to unravel.
Another book by Laurell K. Hamilton that I more or less raced through - at least when I was actively reading it. I did stop part-way through to finish reading The Crown companion volume and review it. Still, this series has me captivated right now (I don't think I've been reading books at this kind of speed for a few years now, though I can't say for sure).

A Stroke of Midnight is the sequel to Seduced By Moonlight, and the first book in the series is A Kiss of Shadows.

By this point in this series, I don't think it'll be spoilers to say that there is a lot of sex in this book - and a fair bit of violence too. The fact that a 400+ page book covers only a few days (at best, some estimates I've seen suggest that it's less than a day in real time), rather says something along those lines. Nonetheless, I couldn't stop turning the pages, although I do agree with some of the reviews I've seen elsewhere suggesting that the wrap-up of the book came along a bit too fast at the end, and didn't really resolve anything either. However, that opinion comes along only after reading the book. While I was reading A Stroke of Midnight I wasn't thinking about any of that at all. I just wanted to know "what happens next?".

These days it's pretty rare for me to read more than about two books in a series without taking a break to read another author or book in between. I'm on to book five now - with the only break being to finish the last third of an already in-progress book. For a series to hold me this long, I really have to say  "Bravo!" to the author!

I also want to note that while I'm reading this series, I'm also wanting to read more on the "real-world" legends of Faerie in our world, to get a feeling for the way legends, fairy-tales and myths take on the Seelie/Unseelie divide and faerie magic. I do know that the other author/series that's used the two courts in novels have had a very different take on them (That being the SERRAted edge series co-written by Mercedes Lackey). I find - and this is probably more of a personal thing for me - that when I see different authors displaying very different takes on the same topic, I often want to know more about the reality/source materials and what they show.  Yeah, I'm an amateur historian, and maybe that shows in this tendency of mine.

Despite the muttering I did earlier in the review, I want to repeat that A Stroke of Midnight kept me turning the pages, and I'm heading right into Mistral's Kiss next.
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