on July 14, 2004
This is my least favorite book by LKH thus far. Thats not to say that A Caress of Twilight was a bad book, but it was nowhere near as entertaining as I wanted it to be. It defnitely had the feel of an in between book. It wouldnt really stand alone and I dont think I would have tolerated it as well if I wasnt already so deeply rooted in the story from the previous book. I felt that the lack of characterization was very apparent in this second title. LKH depended too heavily upon physical descriptions and didnt delve deep enough into the core of the main characters IMO. As for the plot, it basically is still following what began in the first installment, but nothing really happens in ACOT until the ending. Still, I cant stop here. I plan on reading the 3rd book ASAP and I also am anxiously awaiting the next installment in the Anita Blake series which I think is far superior to the Merry Gentry books. Basically, this wasnt a keeper, but it is a definite must read for any fan of the series.
on June 28, 2004
So here's the second book in LKH's series about fairy princess Merry Gentry. She was blackballed once from the fairy court but she'll be welcomed back with open arms and the throne provided she wins a conception race with her cousin. When she's not seeking the lucky farmer, she assists a fellow fey that was blackballed from the court for mysterious reasons, navigates Seelie and Unseelie court intrigues and searches for a legendary big bad-The Nameless, a repository of old magic and evil who has been set loose by some naughty fairy (less cornball than it sounds.) But the plot goes into effect only when the bedroom door is open.
Which brings us to the problem here. Does something have to go tight in the lower regions of Merry's body in every chapter? I sometimes wonder if Hamilton mourns the death of hair metal. Every man has washboard abs and long, flowing locks that would make the lads from Poison weep with envy. To be fair, she does run with a supernatural crowd-it's just the repeated, predictable characteristics of every male that grow wearisome. This is made less tolerable with all the sex. Normally I'm not one to complain about this subject. But, again personal taste, I either wanna read pages devoted solely to mindless sex or I wanna read a work of fiction. Combining the two can be a losing proposition as far as plot is concerned. Not to mention that many of the encounters in the book are a little....off-putting (Amazon's rules necessitate that I omit the details but they involve pain and sex with goblins and a teensy fairy guy. Seriously.)
But I keep reading these books nonetheless. Hamilton's alternate universe is artfully constructed. Merry's character is engaging and has some fine moments, such as the moment when she realizes the real reason her Mother truly dislikes her. Recommended with caveats noted.
on August 17, 2003
A Caress of Twilight picks up the story of Meredith, Princess of Flesh, several months after she had been elevated to co-heir of the Unseelie Court. She will be Queen of the court if she has a child before her cousin does, and she has a six month's lead on him, as he's being "punished" for six months. She is back in California, with her own court of various men, ranging from Sidhe bodyguards from the Queen's court to a representative of the Goblin Court.
Hamilton fans may be a bit disappointed: the sex is not as frequent as in the first book or as raunchy as has become the standard in the Anita Blake series. Which is a bit surprising, as Meredith's bloodlines are rich in fertility goddesses and sexual healing.
It feels like a transitional book. Storylines continue from the first book, and are still incomplete in this one. But there is progression. Meredith continues to consolidate her power base among the demi-fey courts, forging short-term (and uneasy) alliances. She also learns a fair amount about being a leader, a needed lesson surrounded by strong men who tend to dominate any situation. As whoever fathers her future child will become her King, she juggles her feelings for some who would make disastrous kings, and those who would be strong kings, if perhaps uneasy longterm companions. And her second Gift, the Hand of Blood, manifests itself in a battle against a lethal magical foe, resulting in Wild Magic being released and many of the Sidhe regaining powers they had once sacrificed to emigrate to America.
Not the strongest of Hamilton's books, but a good fix for the addict (to which I confess to being a charter member, starting with the first, Guilty Pleasures). I look forward to the next one.
on March 25, 2003
I just admit, the first part, and up until the "climactic" ending, I was really into this book. I really enjoy Hamilton's twist putting fairy tale of old creatures in the "new" world, but lately I've noticed a pattern developing. I have to agree with many of the other people on this review. Lately it seems that Hamilton just has some sexual frustrations to get out. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like lately, her books have become more about the sex and less about the plot.
If there's a problem, sleep with Meredith one REALLY good time, and all will be fixed. Everything in the past two books Hamilton has put out have been more about getting layed. At first, I thought the whole "sexual side of powers" was an interesting take, but now, it's just getting tired.
Other than the huuuuuuuuge amounts of sex, the writing style was really enjoyable. I really got into the book, and it seemed like the climax was really going to be something. Boy was I disapointed. Just in the nick of time, Meredith gets a totally new power and is not THE LEAST excited or suprised. It's just, "Doyle had told me once that I would have second hand of power..." What the heck?! I'd be a little more excited. She really could have handled that seen a bit better.
The last thing I'll comment on is the quickness that the climax ended. It seemed to me that Hamilton realized that she was at deadline really soon and just shoved the ending together. It was a little too convenient, too easy for such an impossible to kill being. I have to say three stars because I feel that Hamilton could have done a little more with what she created.
on November 30, 2002
"A Caress of Twilight" is the second of Laurell K. Hamilton's books featuring faerie P.I. Meredith Gentry, alias Princess Meredith NicEssus, heir to the throne of the Unseelie Court. The story supposedly hinges on a Hollywood "goddess" (actually a real goddess) who needs Merry's help in a fertility rite and an unnamed evil stalking Los Angeles. It sounds good; the problem is, we spend more time in Meredith's bedroom than anywhere else. Hamilton's prose is wonderfully evocative, and she describes her characters so skillfully you can almost see them (I loved the scene with ex-death god Rhys "helping" the police at a multiple murder scene). She has a great opportunity here to join the ranks of fantasy writers such as Piers Anthony and Mercedes Lackey in her mingling of the mundane and the magickal. Unforunately, she lets this chance slide in favor of delivering a semi-soft-porn romance revolving around Merry and her harem of guards who are in a race to get Merry pregnant and ensure her claim to her aunt's throne. I found it somewhat disturbing that Merry's main method of dealing with her guards' problems involved sex rather than logic or even magic. This is, after all, a woman who may become Queen of the Dark Court; a queen needs more than a seemingly endless sexual appetite to rule well. The confrontation with "the Nameless" at the end of the book is contrived and haphazard, as if Hamilton realized she had to wrap up this storyline somehow but only had a few pages to do it in. I really would have liked to see more of Meredith the P.I. and less of Meredith the sex object.
Okay, I think I have got the elements of a Laurell K. Hamilton novel down now. We have (1) a female heroine, (2) who investigates crimes, (3) which the police do not like her doing, (4) pays attention to both her wardrobe and weaponry, (5) has very detailed sex, (6) with a lot of different guys, (7) none of whom are really human, (8) which has political ramifications for the world in which she lives, (9) complicates her life by insisting on protecting those within her circle, (10) fights a terrible monster, (11) hates other people fighting her battles, and (12) manifests a new power when she most needs it to kill the terrible monster, (13) thereby reaching a new level in her continuing evolution.
Those elements certainly defines Hamilton's latest novel, ________ (You can put "A Caress of Twilight" in there, as well as the previous volume in the saga of Princess Meredith of the fey, or any one of the Anita Blake novels). We certainly have to admit that Hamilton has her formula down, but this is really becoming too redundant and repetitive. At her best, as in the early Anita Blake novels, Hamilton is a superb horror writer who comes up with some of the best climaxes I have ever read in the genre. I always figured if her novels were adapted to the screen they would be rated "X", not for the sex, but for the violence. Now we not only have this formula, we also have Hamilton's annoying habit of revealing new information about the characters and their powers just as they are needed. There is no sense of anticipating what happens because the resolution of most crises involves the application of something new and hitherto unknown. In the old days, we would have dismissed a book like this as a potboiler.
For those who have been becoming more and more distressed by Hamilton's apparent attempt to to be a best-selling author of soft porn, there is more sex in this tale than "A Kiss of Shadows," but the details are toned down. I think. But then please take into account that Princess Meredith is having all sex for reasons of procreation and alliance building, not lust and love. Then again, the dedication mentions that this is the first novel that Hamilton's husband has read from start to finish, and perhaps there is a connection. Of course, the titles of these books certainly emphasize the sex and sensuality and I shudder to think what might be down the road as we get beyond kisses and caresses. I leave such potential titles to your own imaginations. Have fun.
on June 10, 2002
Laurell Hamilton, if you haven't heard, has created a new heroine, so she can write about something besides Anita Blake and vamps. Of course, Merry Gentry pretty much IS Anita Blake. She talks tough. SHe's short. She's cold-hearted, so they say. She even uses the EXACT same lines like "Never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn't do yourself." The focus is just a bit more on magic.
Oh yeah--she also has this obsession with kinky and rather incessant, promiscuous sex, just like Anita. While Anita came slowly into sleeping around, Hamilton solves this problem for Gentry by a simple device: Her Queen orders Gentry to sleep around. Therefore, the whole book becomes Gentry's amorous adventures. And it has to be deemed plot related because the whole plot is basically how many studs she can sleep with. Oh, yeah. As with Anita, all the studs are very studly, with washboard abs, incredibly handsome and, um, well hung, which Hamilton usually makes graphically clear.
The shame of it is that Hamilton is a compelling, page turning prose stylist. She's never boring. Yet, sometimes you look up and wonder, "Hmmm. Did I really want porn today?" Her books are increasingly kinky and non-stop, rather graphic, blow-by-blow sex. Not romance. Sex.
I'm no prude. I'd even enjoy one or two such scenes. But when they dominate the whole book, they cause the book to lose focus. They become the book--somewhere in here, there was the makings of a plot. It gets kinda derailed. I hope Laura isn't too frustrated at home. :)
on May 10, 2002
To start with something positive, the interaction between Meredith and her guards is well written. I was impressed with the description of the emotions in a number of scenes. I found myself nearly brought to tears during certain passages (not going into specifics because I don't want to give spoilers), and absolutely furious with the characters at other points. I also enjoyed the way Ms. Hamilton wrote the climax of the novel and the last chapter/epilogue. The language she uses is vivid: one can literally see what is happening in their head. I also enjoy the fact that this novel, being told from Meredith's point of view, almost reads like a particularly long and very descriptive journal.
Now. I was somewhat disappointed by this work. My biggest gripe with this novel is the fact that it seems to be far too brief once the actual action starts. I could be thinking this simply because the first book in this series had so much more to it. This installment does not seem to be particularly plot-driven. It's like another reviewer said, I knew there were problems after so many pages were read and the only thing that had happened was Meredith attending a meeting. I desperately wanted to know more information about certain events that occurred, and I wanted more background information on other characters and things. It could be that Ms. Hamilton is doing this deliberately, to keep us waiting for the next installment of the series. Readers of this book are given a taste of several different things, but almost none of them are elaborated on. All in all, I'm glad I read it, but I wish that this book had been much longer.
on May 7, 2002
Okay, it isn't a big plot or an even terribly interesting plot, but at least there is a reason for the story to exist other than for Laurell K. Hamilton to prove she should be writing screenplays (do they have screenplays?) for porn films.
Merry and Co. are enlisted by an exiled Seelie court fairie turned movie actress who is so desperate to have a child she risks her life and the wrath of the Seelie court King. It is a situation pregnant with possibilities as Merry herself is also desperate to have a child and win the Unseelie throne from her evil aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness. Unfortunately the delicious ironies such parallel stories might suggest go wasted in this lightweight plot.
A short book in total page length, it is also short on plot and action. Basically you could probably skip the second book and move right on to the third (whenever that may be) since number two does little to advance the overall story arc other than some revelations about Kitto and some more magic for Merry. Where is the conflict that drives the narrative? Merry's chief foe, Cel, is conveniently locked away and his partisans only have small roles, all off-stage. The evil whirlwind of lost fairie magic, good and bad, that has been unleashed is supposed to be frightening but it just felt like another routine thing for them to defeat. And Merry borrows a page from Anita when she decides that it isn't enough to save her own skin, but that the men of her guard need her protection as well. Although on the whole I dislike this conceit I admit I thought the scene with Frost that prompts this was rather affecting.
On the upside it is short on the meaningless sex-scene filler that marred A Kiss of Shadows - hurrah! And frankly Merry is a much more appealing protagonist than Anita. Anita may be the more complex character, but her angsty whining was annoying. Merry is more self-aware of who she is and what it means to be a fairie princess. While not yet in a position of power, she is gaining not only in magical gifts but in political astuteness. By taking charge of her guard and the dealing with the consequences she is setting herself up to seize the power she will need to rule. Anita, never comfortable with her powers and roles of leadership (see the werewolves and pards)suffers by comparision. Merry has a lot of potential, as does this series but Hamilton seems intent on churning out meager plots and endless descriptions of clothing, hair and assorted accessories. Longtime fans of Hamilton, of whichever series will probably enjoy this story. A little something to tide them over until the next installment.
on April 29, 2002
This book probably rates 3 1/2 stars, but three will do. I enjoyed this book just like I've enjoyed everything else LKH has written. Her writing style is to keep things moving quickly so I didn't realize that I was one third into the book before I got a hint of plot (and not a terribly complicated one, just "I want a baby.") I hoped the murders might have led somewhere but they played a very VERY minor role, not to mentioned being resolved almost as an afterthought. A lot of characters make a brief one-time appearance, then are just given passing comments, Queen Niceven, Queen Andais (seen a couple times), King Taranis, Dt Peterson, Jeffrey, Jeremy Grey, even Sage only has one other brief appearance at the end of the novel. There's only so much that sex, or the promise of sex, or sexual innuendo can do to carry the story. In this case, sex is the story, and everything else is just filling the pages. On second thought, maybe 3 stars is too much. Hey, I enjoyed it regardless of the weak plot, it just wasn't that great.