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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on October 22, 2015
This story was unusually detailed and ridiculously over the top, and I absolutely loved it! The royal guard kept me captivated and Merry, the MC/sidhe Princess, is so very likeable. I started this book knowing how long a series it is, knowing that I'd be reading little else for many months to come if I enjoyed it, but guess what?--I ENJOYED IT!

This came off a recommendation from my sister. She tried explaining the storyline of this and the author's Anita Blake series to me, and I'm like WTF. Odd, but whatever. She told me I MUST read a Laurell K. Hamilton book. I then HAD TO read one just to know what the excitement was all about. Since I prefer faeries over vampires, I decided to give this one a try. I'm so glad I did!

Although it took me a few chapters to get into the wordiness, it grew on me and I learned to like it.

If you can handle heavy world building and a large volume of unusual, but magical, creatures/characters, this dark, steamy paranormal fantasy series is worth a start!
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on July 12, 2004
I am hopelessly hooked on Laurell K Hamilton. Every book that I pick up that she has written sucks me in and keeps me enthralled until the last page. I have read all of her Anita Blake books, but this was my first taste of The Merry Gentry series. Needless to say, it was very entertaining and action packed...things Ive come to expect from any Hamilton book. There was a bit of sexual overkill as well, but Hamilton does tend to go overboard in that area and I was not surprised or offended by it.The book oozed with a steady supply of unbearably hott men as Merry made her way from one adventure to the me, even though her life was constantly in danger, she was one lucky girl. All in all, this was a fabulous read. A definite keeper.
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on June 1, 2002
While I really liked the beginning of this book, I was very disappointed with that lack of follow through and closure. The main character has a distastefull enlarged ego and sexual appetite. The encounters were so often that they were not even interesting.
When you take away the plot and add sex, it is usually called porn.
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on May 22, 2004
This is the first Laurell K. Hamilton novel I've read. Most people recommended her Anita Blake vampire series, but I decided to give this shorter series about faeries a whirl first. I can see why so many people are hooked on Hamilton. Hers is a world so beautiful and magical that you find it difficult to escape. A Kiss of Shadows is a great novel (with a great cover). Princess Meredith NicEssus, half faerie and half mortal, is hiding from her aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, and has assumed the identity of a PI who specializes in supernatural cases. But when her cover is blown, she succumbs to her aunt's wishes. To seduce and be surrounded by gorgeous immortal men doesn't seem like a bad thing, except that her life depends on it...
I loved the fanciful language throughout the novel. I gave up on fantasy fiction a long time ago due to the lackluster books in said genre. Laurell K. Hamilton's writing is wonderfully creative and incredibly riveting. I cannot fathom the bad reviews here. Most people have complained about the many sex scenes in the novel and thought that Meredith was promiscuous. I for one loved the erotic undertone. I am a fan of erotica and I thought that the sexual content in this novel wasn't bad at all. The one thing I didn't like about Shadows is that Ms. Hamilton over explains the plot. The novel should've been a bit shorter. Other than that, it's great. Laurell has made me fall in love with fantasy fiction all over again. I cannot wait to read the other parts of this series. And since I've become a vampire novel enthusiast, I shall definitely give her Anita Blake series a whirl.
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on June 19, 2003
There are big similarities in all of Hamilton's books--and between her main characters. From Nightseer to Caress of Twilight... This book contains all that readers of Hamilton appreciate, a witty, intelligent, strong-minded female main character not afraid of her own sexuality--and a variety of mystical powers and sexy supernatural beings... However, these novels are a little different from Anita Blake's series. Any reader who's read Anita Blake from the begining realizes that Hamilton has paid less and less attention to Anita's job(s) as an Animator and a police contact. The police mysteries so integral in the first novels are still there, but the focus is now on increasing Anita's power, repetative internal moral debates, and sex, sex, and...more sex... (Which has compromised the integrity of Anita's character.) A Kiss of Twilight presents us with something different. The characterization of Merry Gentry and the other characters in this series is a little lacking compared to Anita Blake. However, it seems like Hamilton may be letting all out in this series. Mostly with the sex. Unabashed, fan-service type sex. This novel doesn't try to have many higher morals or purposes--from page 1, it's focused on magic, violence, and sex. Almost as if Hamilton tailored her character and setting to allow her to focus, with Merry Gentry, on things that compromise Anita Blake. It's not as deep, sure, but it's fun. Very fun. The fun of Anita Blake without the moral debates.
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on December 9, 2003
This was my first experience with anything by Laurell K. Hamilton. I got this unabridged audio version from my library and before I was finished with it I was online buying my own copy. Many reviews have told of the Story, so I won't add much of that. This book was a very big change from what I was normally used to. If you come out of this book shocked that it was sexual I have to ask what planet did you come from? This book was very graphic, no closed bedroom doors or waking up feeling glorious and fabulous. Laurell K. Hamilton goes into this mystery/detective/erotic story with an open dialogue about the fact that the Fey are very open with their nudity and sex. In no way did I ever find that I was misled with this book. It was erotic and yet the story line of Merry trying to discover who is ultimately trying to kill her is well written and thought out. The characters are all amazing. Merry of course is this gorgeous beautiful thing but an outcast of her family even though by all rights she is a Princess. Her cast of Merry men are a variety of beautiful, tortured souls who are trying to keep their friendships or relationships with Merry without upsetting their Queen her Aunt, another beautiful but sadistic monarch over her people. We are allowed looks into what really could be things that actual Royalty are concerned with which is gaining the throne and the lengths some people will goal to gain power. Queen Andais is a horrible sadist, but we are allowed a glimpse of her concern for the life of her son. Laurell K. Hamilton made me actually care about the villians of the story. Unlike many my two favorites of this story are Sholto the King who would be one of the chosen if he'd not been born with what the court considered an abomination a set of tentacle like arms that start below his chest. He's a tortured soul that I was hoping could find what he was seeking to be loved by another Fey. Then there is Cel the Prince (Queen Andais's son)the spoiled and sadistic bad guy he was so evil I liked him:) There is a man for everyone in a variety like a pile of snow flakes no two are alike. :) I enjoy this book and have read it and listened to the audio at least 10 or 12 times. This book is definitely an aquired taste. Me, I loved it. Laurell K. Hamilton never ceases to amaze me and I eagerly await the 3rd in this series.
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on September 20, 2003
I too accidently ran into Laurell K. Hamilton's work. My ex husband bought it for me, assuming it was something I would like... and boy was he right!
From the moment I picked up "Kiss of Shadows", I could NOT put this book down. Merry was exactly the kind of release I needed from the typical Anne Rice novel. I loved how the storyline curved in all sorts of directions and I loved the introduction to Andais and Doyle. The [physical] scenes were daring and creative and not at all like a typical romance novel.
I've always been a lover of fantasy novels and Ms. Hamilton did a BRILLIANT job with this novel. I've been a VERY devoted Hamilton fan since this book and now own every novel she's written.
I recommend this novel to anyone who has an open mind for fantasy, [physical activity] and magic.
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on September 12, 2003
I bumped into Laurell Hamilton's work by accident - I needed an inexpensive item to bump up my order to qualify for free shipping, and "A Kiss of Shadows" was a "bargain book". It had some pretty good reviews, so I thought I would give it a try.
I loved it ! I was immediately hooked into a whole new world of faeries and magic in the modern world. I loved the escapism it offered and combined with the erotica (ok, hot sex !), I just couldn't put this book down.
Whether you like a mystery with some fantasy and sexuality thrown in, or you like your sexual fantasy stories with more than just the same old plot, this book is a good, fun read.
I can't wait to read the next book in this series - "A Caress of Twilight", and then maybe I'll venture over to Ms. Hamilton's 'Anita Blake' series as well.
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on December 25, 2003
I loved this book! Merry is a great character. After reading the reviews on this site, I was worried she'd be some promiscuious shallow Anita imitation. She's not! She's strong and fun and smart and sensual. And the world around her is so rich, the creatures so vividly described, that I could almost picture all the gorgeous sidhe and other fey folk Laurell K. Hamilton talks about. I didn't think there was that much sex, just enough - and the plotline was intriguing enough to keep me reading until 2 am. Shakespeare it's not, but I loved every minute of it and can't wait to read the next one!!!!!
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Laurell K. Hamilton branches out from her bestselling Anita Blake novels with a new, fae-oriented series. She really shouldn't have bothered. While "Kiss of Shadows" starts off dark and intriguing, the plot rapidly degenerates into a NC-17 fantasy without much more than sweaty gyrations to recommend it.

Part-mortal Princess Meredith NicEssus -- undercover as Merry Gentry -- is a P.I. in Los Angeles, which apparently is swarming with fey and fey-wannabes. Keeping her identity a secret is vital, since she knows the dangers that would follow being uncovered. But while investigating a supernatural date-raper (and falling prey to him) Merry's identity leaks out.

Before you can say "bonk 'em all," she is given an ultimatum by her aunt, the queen of the Unseelie Court: she and her evil cousin Cel are both going to try to have a baby. The one who succeeds will be the next ruler -- the other is toast. Merry is assigned a harem of fae men, all of whom want her as much as she wants them. Physically, anyway.

Here's a warning: "Kiss of Shadows" has a lot of sex. A LOT of sex. A sufficient amount that, among other things, Merry hops in the happy sack with any guy lucky enough to meet her. Oh, and she has a male harem. Sound like an adult movie? Well, it pretty much is -- lots of excuses to have sex, including an enjoyable rape (did a woman really write this book?) and Merry nearly being molested by the entire L.A.P.D. And that's before it gets really raunchy.

For anyone hoping for more than soft-porn, the book is lacking. It starts off strong, with a battered woman and a magical want ad, and Merry going undercover to lure out the magic-sucking guy involved. But once she bonks her selkie boyfriend, the plot goes down the tubes. What is worse, the sex obscures the mysterious cultures and subcultures of the fey and sidhe -- Hamilton hints at interesting cultures, rituals and different races, but seems to lose interest in the idea.

Without a developed backdrop, the actual plot feels rushed and half-finished. Hamilton also could use a better editor, since her writing quickly becomes repetitive -- lots of hair, unusual eye color, strange powers. All the men are madly attractive, chiseled, and devoid of any individual personality. All the women are beautiful, usually dainty.

Merry isn't terribly interesting -- she starts off as a moderately entertaining P.I. with a barbed sense of humor. Then it just sort of fades away. Queen Andais is also moderately interesting, as the villain of the piece. Merry's harem guys have paint-by-numbers personalities, and after the initial introductions they just become a heap of interchangeable sexy bodies.

Buried somewhere in "Kiss of Shadows" is a really good novella, but it's choked by a poorly thought-out soft-porn movie. Hamilton had the right idea, but the execution is a painful "Kiss."
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