5.0 out of 5 stars Just go in with your eyes open
You should read Kiss of Shadows before reading Caress of Twilight. I want to say before either just go in with your eyes wide open. This story is graphic, Laurell K. Hamilton doesn't close bedroom doors nor does she pull punches as far as what Merry experiences with each of the men. This story is set back in Los Angeles where she is living in her small apartment with...
Published on Dec 9 2003 by Scarletaka
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cold Caress
Somewhere during the Anita Blake series, Laurell K. Hamilton decided to change the focus from horror/fantasy to sex, all the time and everyplace. With the newer Merry Gentry series, she cuts right to the chase.
"A Caress of Twilight" doesn't bother to follow up on its predecessor's sex-choked promise -- okay, we've got scheming and magic and urban fairies. But...
Published on Feb. 22 2007 by E. A Solinas
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2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe I'm too much of a realist ...,
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a big fantasy fan, but I appreciate a well-written novel no matter what its genre may be. Laurell K. Hamilton is one of the few fantasy authors that non-fantasy enthusiasts can read without being too weirded out, but "A Caress Of Twilight" is definitely not her strongest work.
"Caress" continues the saga of Meredith Gentry, a/k/a NicEssus, a L.A. private detective who happens to be a faerie princess and heir to the Unseelie throne. She is competing with her cousin Prince Cel to inherit this throne--whoever is the first to have a child wins. To help her along with this quest, she essentially has five live-in lovers (actually, she starts out with three, and the other two are added along the way). Meredith spends the vast majority of the book either having sex with other fey creatures, trying to get out of having sex with other fey creatures, or arguing with other monarchs in the fey world on various points of faerie protocol, continuously reminding them that despite her mixed blood (apparently she's part human and brownie in addition to faerie) she is an heir to a throne. There's a minor murder mystery thrown in, not to mention some encounters with an exiled faerie goddess who exists in L.A. as--surprise!--a movie star.
As with her Anita Blake novels, Hamilton strives for a seamless blend of the real world and the supernatural here, but does not totally succeed. "Caress" does not flow very well, which has also been a problem in Hamilton's later AB novels. A lot of talking is done, but it doesn't move the plot along. Meredith's lovers/bodyguards, at least looks-wise, are straight out of Zebra Medieval Romance 101. In short, nothing really happens--until the end. Hamilton seems to have a fixation with biting and bloodletting, which of course is suitable for the Anita Blake series (Anita IS a vampire hunter after all) but is borderline disturbing here. Then again, change the faeries and goblins to vampires and werewolves, and you have ... an Anita Blake novel. And, on a personal-peevish note, why does every fictional supernatural creature that comes to walk amongst the humans ALWAYS seem to be a private detective? What, they have no other job skills?
A newcomer to Hamilton would do well to avoid "A Caress Of Twilight," particularly if he/she is not a regular fantasy reader--go with an early Anita Blake book such as "Bloody Bones." There is potential here, and if Hamilton would let up on the sex and biting and politics and concentrate on the story, it would be great potential.
4.0 out of 5 stars Seelie info, lukewarm sex, and a smidge of danger,
I just finished reading the second Merry Gentry books. I did like this one, although perhaps not as much as the first installment.
The Princess and co. stayed in the City of Angeles for the duration of this book. I was happy to read more regarding the Seelie court. Also, Meredith comes to the realization that she's not just a princess...she's heir to the throne, to power.
I know that Ms. Hamilton receives complaints regarding the sex in her books. Personally, I don't think that reading about hot sex, etc. is a bad thing. However, I wasn't all that impressed with what I read in TWILIGHT. The scenes with Doyle, Kitto and Galen weren't all that spectacular. Perhaps this is Ms. Hamilton's response to all the negative comments. The sex is still there, but now it's not even all that great.
It was also nice to learn a little more about men in Merry's life. I wish more time had been spent on Doyle's character. Anyway, I will look forward to reading the next installment of Merry's quest for pregnancy and thus the throne.
3.0 out of 5 stars Watch Princess Meredith pull another power out of a hat...,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Princess Meredith is maturing as a character--good stuff,
Princess Meredith is now an heir to the Unseelie Court--but will inherit only if she becomes pregnant and bears young. Given that the fair folk have become remarkably infertile lately, this isn't exactly a slam dunk despite Meredith's prodigious and kinky sexual appetites. When she is contacted by an exiled member of the Seelie Court, Meredith learns that there is a reason for the infertility that affects the lands of magic--a reason that the King of the Seelie Court will gladly kill--or worse--to prevent from becoming public.
Meredith is under attack both from her cousin and rival Cor in the Unseelie Court and from King Taranis of the Seelie Court. Her alliance with the Goblins is halfway toward its expiration and may expire a lot more quickly if Meredith doesn't take action to preserve it. Worse, the ancient and evil magics that have been suppressed by both Seelie and Unseelie Courts is once again awake and walking in the human world. For Meredith to survive long enough to have a chance at fertility, she must gather her alliances, make her bodyguards truly members of her court rather than rivals for power, and walk the tightrope between weakness and a lust for control.
Author Laurell K. Hamilton deepens the character of Meredith (who first appeared in her novel A KISS OF SHADOWS) as well as the complex political struggle between the humans, Seelie, Unseelie, Meredith, and the darker forces of magic. A CARESS OF TWILIGHT delivers plenty of the kinky sex that Hamilton novels are known for, but also reveals interesting and compelling characters.
Hamilton fans will be overjoyed at this fine novel. Although the enjoyment of TWILIGHT will be enhanced by reading SHADOWS, the novel stands on its own. Hamilton's writing style continues to mature and TWILIGHT is compelling and hard to put down.
2.0 out of 5 stars Did anything actually happen in this book?,
The previous novel in the series, Kiss of Shadows, establishd a scheming-court-politics set-up which was the backbone of its plot. Here the scheming is still mentioned and occasionally trotted out but it's overshadowed by the dozens and dozens of sex scenes. What thin continued-story/murder mystery there is is almost lost. Which is a shame, because that was the most engadging part of the book for me when it was there. The mass murder scene was eerily effective, especially coupled with the creepy reaction of one of Merry's guards. Unfortunately the murder and its culprit was essentially forgotten until the very end of the book. Arg. Prince Cel was a much more compelling villain in KoS, or at least a more constant threat. I would have welcomed his return since there's no real sense of danger in this book, spread out and resolved too rapidly as it is.
About the multiple gorgeous sex partners Merry has - if this was a series with a *man* being serviced by this many gorgeous women would I even bother with it? Maybe, if it was done with skill and wit. But not if they were written the way Merry's ravens are. Most of Merry's partners run together in my head after a while during any intimate scene, regardless of the painsaking lengths the author goes to describe them. Lots. Just in case you missed how beautiful they were the first time. After a while my reaction to any character description was "Yeah yeah, he has luscious locks running down to his waist and he has real funky eyes. You done yet?"
Merry's interaction with her guards is always more interesting outside of the bedroom. Of course the series is billed as an "erotic thriller" and I'm not surprised that there's a good dose of eroticism in it. It's just tedious after a while.
There's still some good things in the book. As mentioned above, anytime the plot really does surface I found myself paying attention. The author's also done some neat things with her fey's world - the goblin culture, some of the more bizzare creatures, etc... Unfortuantely there's not enough to make buying the book in hard cover worth it, especially in light of the ending, where -
Holy scha-*moly* do they ever get loaded up with powers. If you boil it down, basically Merry's guards reclaim god-like powers they had back when some of them were, well, Gods. The ones who weren't still get impressive new magic to call on (Even Kitto) and who knows what'll happen to Merry herself. It makes me wary because a common (and well founded) complaint about the Anita Blake series is Anita's stacking up of powers like there's no tomorrow. Is Merry's series going to dive down that road only 2 books in?
The first book's story had a lot of potential and this ending coupled with the fact nothing really changed worries me. Sure some other personal character developments popped up but nothing that couldn't have been done in a meatier story. If the next book is more plot intensive, you could probably skip this one and not have missed anything. Get it from the library if you can.
3.0 out of 5 stars Continuing her trend into soft core porn....,
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. :)
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read,
By A Customer
This Book was great. I do agree it was not as jam packed full of action as I wanted (I am spoiled and will not ever find a series as good as her Anita Blake series.) but the sex part was wonderful. Laurell Hamillton is a fantanstic author and all of her books even the ones that are still in the developing stage are better then the normal author's books you just pick up. And as for other reviews so what if she writes about her fantasies we all wish we could and we all enjoy reading about them. As for her charecters being of her body size it is easier for her because as she told me at a signing where I meet Mrs. Hamillton it is easier to write about your body size because you can just stand up and see if certain moves are pysically possible or not. I also think it is about time we had some petite dark women instead of the tall blondes, I am a tall brunette and I still love the charecter of Merry and also Anita Blake they are not perfect women but no one is and I would rather see these strong characxters fighting for their lives and what they believe and being loved and adored than the other perfect princess types other authors dwell on. I love these books and I feel everyone is welcome to their own opinion but be sure to pick them up and read them for yourself and decide because if you don't you may miss some of the most exciting and erotic books out there.
2.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the paperback (some spoilers below),
While not complete and utter dreck like Narcissus in Chains, this book still lacks a little thing known as a plot. What we have instead is page after page of descriptions of men, clothes, women etc, three sex scenes with three different men, the usual bloodletting that is present in practically all of LKH's books (you know, the 'pivotal' scene where the heroine allows some mythical creature to suck blood from her) and no logical detail paid to an apparently dire problem. Another thing that bothered me was the similarities of this series and Ms. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. There were more parallels than I could count. The repetitiveness that as made Anita Blake books almost unbearable is also present here, which does not bode well for a budding series. And just a personal gripe, enough with the men with flowing hair! Every single male in an LKH book that the protagonist finds attractive (and that's a lot of men) has hair shoulder length or much longer. With her rambling descriptions of flowing rainbow locks and chiseled jaw lines, all I could picture was Fabio. And it seems to me knee and ankle length hair wouldn't' be very practical for an elite group of warriors.
The conflict of the story is weak as well, and not very realistic (600 or more dead from mysterious causes and the police manage to keep it from the media? Please). Not to mention the perpetrators that unleashed this indescribable evil upon mankind go unpunished by both the sidhe courts and the human world? Somehow I think with hundreds dead from magical causes answers would be demanded. No one's gonna mop up the acres of blood and corpses and say "Darn those wacky fey!"---which is what happened, apparently. And it would seem that if the villain had just hired an assassin, instead of resurrecting this horrible, unstoppable scourge, things would have went much smoother for him/her. But no, that's just too logical and wouldn't have allowed Merry to save the day with a newly discovered awe-inspiring power (another cliché borrowed from Anita).
So, in my opinion, this book is not worth the price of a hardcover. Entertaining at times, and I really do like Merry as a character, but with boring, trite scenarios that are sure to elicit much eye rolling from the reader. It would be better to get it at the library or wait for the paperback before spending your hard-earned money.
1.0 out of 5 stars this was really bad...just bad...and WEAK,
By A Customer
yet entertaining enough that i read it straight through (though i'd have to say it's cuz i had nothing better to do, being stuck at the airport and all). even though i knew it was terrible even as i was reading it, i finished it because i just wanted to know what happens. so for that, it gets 1 star. but in terms of writing style and plot development and character development, LKH really didn't seem to give it much effort this time around. the characters are really weak and not developed. instead of showing us a character through his/her actions, Merry makes sweeping general statements and we're basically supposed to take her word for it. the whole plot is ridiculous - the Nameless, oh the horror, and then poof -i guess my main issue is that there is absolutely NO DEVELOPMENT in this book. things happen, but we don't even get to experience it. Merry is just like, "Yeah so then this is what happened and that's that, and now it's all settled but oh no, i still have to get pregnant and have sex with all these guys." the only people who are going to read this book and read it all the way through are hardcore LKH fans like myself who just have to read this stuff to keep up with the storyline in hopes that LKH will finish up her series with the same skills she started Anita Blake with.
1.0 out of 5 stars In one word...Pathetic,
Somebody pass the vasoline, because Merry has to be chaffing from all the free-lance humping going on in this book. This is not a novel...this is soft porn pulp, which is fine, but even as soft porn goes, I like a little PLOT to make the sex some how significant, take Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty series for example.
Not only does this book lack anything so extravagant as a cohesive plot, but it is so obviously the author's own gang-bang fantasy committed to paper that it's almost embarrassing. Hey, Merry is very petite...just like Ms. Hamilton! She is very very pale with dark dark hair, that is slightly curly....just like Ms. Hamilton! She has red red lips...My Laurell, that is quite a bright shade of red lipstick your wearing today!
And the character Doyle is so much the embodiment of a white woman's Big Black Well-Hung Buck rape fantasy that I wanted to gag. I'm all for artistic expression, the exploitation of archaic racial stereotypes under the guise of fantasy writing doesn't qualify as such. Here's a broadcast for Hamilton, INTERRACIAL SEX IS NO LONGER TABOO, and the generally educated public knows that dark skin doesn't = freakishly large sex organs. Maybe she should take a break from her fantasy writing for a bit and pick up a Newsweek.
Another sloppy cliché was to have Galen, the only eunuch in the crew, albeit, temporarily, sussued up in an apron cooking away at the stove. Come on...was this meant to be funny? Somehow I think it wasn't.
Beyond these obvious quirks, the characters are 2 dimensional hand puppets meant for one action and one action only....you know it. Only Andeas and Frost were the least bit interesting, but even Frost's angst was beginning to grate on my nerves after an hour. Merry is insipid, and I don't see the so called strength some of the other readers claim to have seen her develop. She just insists upon bringing her "Princess" status into the light when her boys begin to knock heads over who's turn it is to sleep with her...what a power player!
This book iritated me, as is plainly obvious,but in a way, I admit it's my own fault. I'm use to reading the work of Octavia Butler, Gwyneth Jones and even Poppy Z. Brite (you want good dark fantasy? Try her). These authors books tend to feature "actual" strong and deep female characters, as opposed to what our Merry here is posing to be. I picked up the audio version of Kiss of Shadows on a whim from the library, so I decided to give the second book a go. First book was tolerable, but this one was just plain pathetic. I 'm guessing those who loved this series this much were either just accepting it for the low quality, mass produced, publishing house stock fodder that it is, or their social awareness is lacking.
Oh, and Anita Blake is another travesty...try Nancy A. Collins "Sonja Blue" series instead.
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Caress of Twilight, A by Laurell K. Hamilton (MP3 CD - Aug. 3 2007)
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