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Laurell K Hamilton

Dear Author

REVIEW: Lick of Frost by Laurell K Hamilton

Dear Ms. Hamilton:

I specifically requested this book despite the fact that I have not read the Anita series since Obsidian Butterfly. I am somewhat of an apologistBook Cover for the Merry Gentry series. I actually had to create my own mythology regarding the characters in this series in order for me to continue enjoying the series. My frame is that – Merry Gentry has been picked to be the goddess incarnate to bring life back to the Sidhe. The whys and wherefors haven’t really been worked out in my mind (and I haven’t had alot of help from you on this either), but it is the one way I could get over the Mary Sue-ish issues and enjoy the fantasy aspects.

I think its also important that I began reading the Merry Gentry series at a time that there wasn’t alot of mix between fantasy and romance. You’ve really been a genre leader in some respects.

The star in the Merry Gentry series is the first book, followed closely behind by the second. The next two books began to show some wear in the story and while Lick of Frost has more substantial plot and less reliance on group sex scenes, it still lacks the power and verve of the introductory books in the series.

Merry Gentry and several guards (too many to count at this point) are housed in the residence of former Sidhe goddess and current movie star, Maeve Reed (I always read Maeve Binchy but I doubt she’d like the idea I was placing Binchy in your books although Reed is the wickedly awesome and beautiful movie star in the books and there are far less flattering creatures I could append to the name Maeve). Maeve has gone off to Ireland on an extended vacation while Merry and her band of men make free with the estate. Despite the fact that Merry has dozens of men, they are all holed up in a tiny cottage, sleeping sometimes many to a room. If the men are as you describe them, I can only imagine the state of that tiny little house.

The story opens with Merry and Doyle and Frost in a conference room to discuss the allegations of rape against three of Merry’s men: Rhys, Galen, and Abe. While it is pointedly clear that Merry and her followers are there simply as a courtesy since they have diplomatic immunity, the scene goes on and on for no other reason but to set up the basic plot conflict and that is Taranis, the King of the Seelie Sidhe, is using his powerful glamour to induce Merry to come to his side. He is desperate to have a child and believes Merry, with her fertility lineage, will bring him what he needs for if King Taranis is infertile, it means infertility to all the Seelie Sidhe.

As a plot, this is a compelling storyline and provides ample reason for some of the Seelie Sidhe to align themselves with Merry (the need for procreation is apparently universal) despite their disdian for Merry’s half human blood which continues to be a barrier between acceptance and rejection for other Seelie Sidhe.

Ultimately the problem is that most of the story is tell and no show. Merry and her followers engage in several conversations with each other to debate the purpose of King Taranis misuse of his power. It is through these “As you know, Bob” conversations, that we readers find out more about the world and the internal conflicts between the Sidhe and the political ramifications of a future with King Taranis.

There is little to be learned that the reader doesn’t already know unless the reader is a new one. But for new readers, the past relationships are so complex that I suspect one would be lost within a few pages despite the amount of info dumping that occurs to bring everyone up to speed.

Further, this book goes almost nowhere. For example, a quarter of the book (first 7 chapters) are essentially the scene in the conference room with one entire chapter where Merry goes all Ayn Rand on us and tries to teach us how those who don’t believe in free sex, sex several times a day with several parties, are narrowed minded humans.

The story stalled in alot of parts as there was little action until the last couple of chapters. I know that in the past I haven’t loved the books, but I’ve always found them readable. This one, though, was a struggle to finish. In some ways, though, I am glad to have read it. There is sufficient resolution in this story for the Frost and Doyle fans, fans who are wondering about Merry’s pregnancy and so forth, to read this entry in the series and not need to go forward. C-

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased in hardcover or ebook format.

Dear Author

REVIEW: Mistral’s Kiss by Laurell K Hamilton

Dear Ms. Hamilton:

Mistrals KissOther than really funny (albeit unintentionally so) excerpts from your blog, I haven’t read anything by you in a year. Unlike other readers who can’t quit you, I have weaned myself off the Anita series. I haven’t read the last two books. This is quite an accomplishment for me. Unfortunately, despite my desire to free myself from your clutches entirely particularly given that the Merry Gentry series is now expanded to 15 books and not the original 8, I am still a helpless fly on your terrible, sperm covered web which is why in a weak ebook shopping moment, I bought Mistral’s Kiss in ebook format. damn that one click shopping anyway.

This book has no plot and consists of four episodes or scenes, three of which are sex scenes. I read that you couldn’t figure out what genre you were writing in. It’s erotica. E-R-O-T-I-C-A. It’s not, as you put it, “more like hard-boiled mysteries, or horror novels in tone of writing, but the romance and the magic … there, too.” Say it with me, erotica. See, a mystery requires some sleuthing. Horror novels generally aren’t filled with everyone’s spunk everywhere. Romance really doesn’t come into play when the main character is having public sex with all of her hot bodyguards standing around. There is lots of magic because I can’t quite figure out how Merry can walk after her continuous bouts of sex.

Because there is no plot, the book is short, and the entirety of the story takes place over less than a day, I hardly know what to write as a synopsis. Let’s see the timeline goes as follows: Merry wakes up in bed with some of her men. Another lost artifact appears. Gives all of her people more power. Aunt Andais is not happy, but like all of the evils in your books, she’s emasculated (I think this is a masculine adjective, but don’t know what the feminine counterpart is). Andais lets Merry do everything that Merry wants. Merry goes on to have sex with Abeloec, Mistral, and one other character. There is a run in with Sholto. Something paranormal ensues. It’s easily resolved. Everyone is happy.

This “book” (and I use that term loosely and defined as words bound and sold with a cover from a NY publisher) is nothing more than a series of scenes. It cannot work as a stand alone novel. It has virtually no relation to the previous book (i.e., what happened with the accusation against Rhys of raping the Seelie woman? Or the ball that Taranis is holding? or anything). It has no resolution. No crescendo and denouement unless we can count each orgasm as a mini story. It’s short. My Silhouette Nocture ebooks had about the same length as Mistral’s Kiss ebook.

The saving grace is that there are tender moments between Frost and Merry and Doyle and Merry which almost makes it worthwhile. What am I saying? Of course, paying $17.95 for this pap isn’t worthwhile unless the reader is a sick addict. I don’t really have any confidence that you won’t totally ruin Doyle’s character as you have Jean Claude and Richard and kind of Frost. I’m putting in a spoiler here just in case others have been successful in the LKH 12 step recovery program. Merry admits that she loves Doyle and that she wants him to be king.. I don’t really know how to grade this book. I read it one sitting, but it lacks any elements of a real story. The sex isn’t really that good. I just am so invested in the original series with Doyle, Frost and Merry, that any tiny scrap makes me happy. Sick. I am sick. I need help. I guess its a D.

Best regards,

Jane