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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 14 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on March 10, 2003
As many have commented before me, I found Anita Blake and the vampire hunter series fascinating. She creates an interesting and in a way realistic alternate universe. Anita's character degression is the most fascinating thing about the series, in my opinion. You had some truly fascinating characters, if a little flat.
The faerie series started out somewhat similar. You have a subtle alternate universe with the faeries moving from england to the u.s. and having a treaty with Jefferson. I think that is a very clever idea. Unfortunately, the fascinating character development is absent. Hamilton has definitely substituted bad sex scenes for character development. Let's talk plot...unless you're Hamilton, then we won't discuss it after all. Again, some great ideas, but in her other books, the plots have been slowing down due to way too many kinky sex scenes, and in this book, has been almost substituted completely. Most of the political machinations have a dangerous situation and different "cultural" groups has become, "Do we share or not when we sleep with her?" The big bad evil creature(s) were barely explained because we were too busy getting descriptions of the size of Doyle. Erotic? Good lord no. Crude and shallow. Harlequin had more class than some of those scenes.
Yet, I am giving it a two because there are some good points. First, like I said, it has an interesting premise. Second, I felt that there was some hope in the first book, although there was a bit too much kink in that one for me too, however I can't give this a one star when I am holding out hope for improvement in future books.
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on November 11, 2002
As usual, Laurell K. Hamilton has delivered a book that promises more than it delivers. There's an intriguing and suspenseful plot waiting to be developed, and in some ways, it is - we get hints of intrigue at the Courts and hints of anti-fey prejudice in L.A., which contribute to the noir atmosphere LKH seems to flirt with. Unfortunately, it seems that Princess Meredith and her chronicler are more interested in giving us the Harlequin romance version of faery sex. Meredith never stops. To Ms. Hamilton's credit, though, the constant playtime does lead to a power struggle between Merry and her harem.
I'm very divided on this book and on the series in general. I like her ideas of alternate history - the golden goddess of Hollywood and the development of the politics in the Courts were well worth reading about, and I really liked hearing the speculations on ancient magical history. But it seems that... well...there's too much of a focus on how much and by whom Merry's getting some. I would really like to see that change a bit, and more focus placed on Merry's future.
Unfortunately, Merry is also limited in her options for work - she cannot be the 'decoy' she had been, she cannot interview clients alone, etc. What can she do? Other than the publicity value, what does she do to earn her paycheck? I'd like to see some more hints of real life stuck in at work.
I'm weak-willed. I admit it. Despite the rather unfriendly review above, I'm going to keep reading the series, just like I've kept reading the Anita Blake series. But that doesn't mean I can't be the loyal Opposition. My advice? Read the books, but read them with critical eyes.
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on August 31, 2002
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.
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on June 11, 2002
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.
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on May 22, 2002
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.
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on March 26, 2002
Caress takes up shortly after the end of Kiss of Shadows, with Merry Gentry back at her Los Angeles apartment, in bed with Rhys and Nicca, two of her Ravens. Am I going too fast? For those not familiar with the world of Merry Gentry, the Fey are real and live in Cahokia, IL. Merry, a.k.a. Princess Meredith NicEssus, is descended from both the Seelie and the Unseelie Court. She is second in line for the Unseelie throne. She is part Sidhe, Brownie and Human. Her human blood makes her mortal and being mortal Merry is vulnerable to the Courts deadly political maneuverings. Maneuverings that almost got her killed. So, she fled the Court and ended up hiding in LA, employed as a magical consultant for the Grey Detective Agency. In Kiss of Shadows she was discovered, brought back to the UnSeelie Court, made heir to the throne, that is if she gets pregnant before her cousin Cel. Who better to charge with this task than the stud cadre of bodyguards known as the Ravens? Clearly Merry's aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness knows best.
The Yuletide season is upon us when we take back up with Merry and her sword-wielding hunks. It seems several of the Ravens have hired on with the Grey Detective Agency as bodyguards. I guess taking care of the Princess' body isn't a full time job or they're just looking for an excuse to get out of the one bedroom apartment. I was endlessly distracted by the idea that six adults and one goblin could share such a confining space - just where do they keep those really big weapons. Maybe they just wanted some extra spending money to buy the princess something nice for winter solstice?
Sorry, I digressed, back to the story at hand. The Golden Goddess of Hollywood for 50 years running, who is coincidentally a Fey in exile, hires Merry to help out with a little project that just might draw unwanted attention from the Seelie count. We also get introduced to members of that beau monde, including Merry's mother, via the ever-useful magic bedroom mirror. This works great since most of the book takes place in Merry's bed. When not focused on the boudoir-based encounters, we meet up with this books big bad and learn even more about the Byzantine world of the Fey.
Caress of Twilight did surprise me in several places with touching moments between Merry and her Ravens. If only there were more such bits of genuine affection but sadly there aren't. Sexual adventures that should be rife with some sort of emotion are nothing more than a means to an end, much like having to read a technical manual to make sure tab A does indeed fit into slot B. Many events that should have had importance to the story, series and characters came across as trivial and purposeless.
After 300 and some odd pages I left the book feeling as if nothing had happened.
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on April 7, 2002
I was disappointed in this book. It had the usual wonderful character descriptions and smooth flow, but lacked the substance of her prior works.
Previous books by Ms. Hamilton just grabbed you by the collar and dragged you through the story steadily building to what you knew was going to be an awesome...ending and ultimately leave you craving for more. It seemed that this book just "lolligaged" its way through a story and then it seemed that she realized that she was almost out of paper and just threw in the quick "last 5 minutes of Star-Trek" ending that kind of neatly wraps it up, but leaves you disappointed and craving for "something".
It seemed to me that Ms. Hamilton just "phoned" this one in. I am disappointed, but still a fan, and I anxiously await further works, but in a different way. I find myself hoping new works will make up for this one, rather than just assuming it will be great like all of her great stories I had grown accustomed to.
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on May 27, 2002
"A Caress..." focuses more on Princess Meredith and her harem's relationships. The big bad thing doesn't come into play until about the middle of the book. Its defeat was anticlimatic.
The book in general seems to set things up for the third book. I hope Ms Hamilton takes a break so that she can provide a fresh and suspenseful story in the third installment. Because "Caress" wasn't it. At the end of "A Kiss" I wanted to know what happens next - even though I feel Princess Meredith is just a revised version of the Anita Blake character from Hamilton's Vampire Hunter Series. However, at the end of "Caress" - I can't say that I care what happens.
I'll keep my fingers crossed and wait very patiently (and hope it pays off) for the next book.
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on April 7, 2002
Laurell K. Hamilton must have been rushed to get this one out. If you are a fan of hers, and I am, after having read this book you will understand. This book will make you think of a short story that has been added to (to fill in space), but nothing is added to the story. There are many, many, sex moments. The mirror is used in place of a telephone, and there are many, many repeated incidents of using the mirror. And the details of what every character is wearing, or may ever wear, at any given time is graphically and boringly repeated everytime the scene changes.
I have been a LKH fan since her first book and hope that this is not a trend caused by becoming a bestselling author. But I would still buy the paperback!
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on April 1, 2002
The premise of this book (and its predecessor) is great: fairy princess as hardboiled detective in L.A. Her non-monogamous relationship with a variety of supernatural guardians is an interesting plus. However, this novel moves very slowly. It is painfully obvious that Ms. Hamilton is planning to stretch Meredith's story over a long series of books and is taking her time in doing so. It is awkward when a character in a book written in the first person stops to describe herself and her beauty in detail. There were too many scenes involving her sitting on the bed, in various stages of dress or undress, having magic mirror telephone calls. The actual plot of the novel was quite thin.
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