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Laurell K. Hamilton's books are distinguished by her unique style -- lots of sex, very little plot. Don't expect it to change.

And "Mistral's Kiss" continues the stagnant sexathon that her other books started, with the continuing erotic adventures of Merry Gentry (or as I like to call it, "Merry Does Faerie"). Though there is some plot in this one besides sex, nothing much really advances except a tacked-in plot twist.

In previous books, as we're told here, Merry Gentry has to have a baby before her cousin Cel, or she's dead. She does this via detailed group sex with her guards, and found that having sex with her guards (which she does ALL the time) reawakened their dormant magics. Now Faerie gardens are starting to bloom again. Yay for her.

In the meantime, Merry has more work for the Goddess and artifacts to deal with, as well as a new hunky guard on loan to her, Mistral. Queen Andais is not so happy with everything that is going on, but is powerless to stop it -- especially when Merry gets involved with Sholto of the Sluagh, and Sholto wakens the legendary Wild Hunt...

If you were to remove the hundred-plus pages of nonstop sex, then "Mistral's Kiss" would probably be a very bracing short story. Unfortunately, Hamilton packs the entire story with sex -- which would be just fine, if all other aspects of Hamilton's writing weren't halfhearted at best.

In fact, it feels like a few stray chapters of another book. Plot points are rehashed, threads are dropped as others are raised, and the finale is an anticlimactic sputter, although it promises that something important might happen in the next book... or the one after that. As it is, the plot is simply glacial -- Hamilton moves it forward a little, but not very much.

Why? Sadly the plot has gotten stuck in the stagnating "sex revitalizes the kingdom" storyline. The concept is intriguing and could have been interesting if Hamilton had actually gotten into it. But in here it's just another excuse for lots and lots of overly-detailed, mechanical sex, and a new power-a-day for Merry to acquire. Even Hamilton's writing has lost its bite -- it feels like she's on autopilot.

Merry herself is getting duller with each successive book -- in this book, she seems more like a walking blow-up doll than an ex-detective/faerie princess. Doyle and the newcomer Mistral are actually fairly interesting, but she now has so many paramours that it's hard to tell one feminine, long-haired anime-style fae from another.

"Mistral's Kiss" struggles to spread its thin plot over the relatively short length, but only occasionally moves the plot forward. Not for those who like a little (or a lot) plot with their porn.
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on November 17, 2007
After reading other reviews, I'm glad I'm not the only person who read this book and wondered what the heck was going on. Considering the usual size and density of Hamilton's work, I was excited to pick up this book, intending it to keep me busy on a long flight. It didn't. Not only is the book about half the size of what I would normally expect to get from Hamilton (but with the same price tag on a hardcover), but there was very little going on in the way of plot. I finished the book and wondered where the rest of it was. It was on par with the "novella" _Micah_ that was published (labelled as being shorter AND with a smaller price tag). Is Hamilton just under pressure to put out books more frequently for her Merry Gentry line and so is breaking them up, giving us Mistral's Kiss and Lick of Frost instead of putting them together for what we would normally expect? The Harlequin is just as long as the usual Anita Blake novels.

It does minimally advance the plot. About the same as one would usually get as a pre-climax to the actual climax in a Hamilton book, but without the real climax. I weep that I bought this in hardcover, and am certainly not going to be getting Lick of Frost in hardcover for the same reason. I loved this series far more than Anita Blake, but have been let down. This is definitely a book to borrow from the library or a friend.
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on March 24, 2010
I love reading paranormal romances, and from time to time I try different authors. This was my first book by L Hamilton. I'm not going to say it will be my last, because, well, we never know. But I was really confused by this book. I couldn't understand what was going on, there is a multitude of characters and little background is given for any of them.
There is so much sex in this book, that is difficult to follow the story, I couldn't finish the book, I started to skip pages to get to the end of the sex scenes to try to understand the plot a little bit more, but in the end, I gave up and just put the book aside. Even the sex scenes didn't appeal to me, I couldn't feel any connection between Princess Merry and any of her guards, I don't have a clue why this book is called "Mistral's kiss", he's in the book alright but there's nothing special about him (well, maybe it is explained in the chapters that I skipped).
I am disappointed by this book, I've read online books by authors that are trying to get published that are way better than this one.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon December 21, 2006
Laurel K. Hamilton has proven herself to be a deft author of fantasy novels with both the Anita Blake series and the Meredith Gentry tales. She offers a mix of imaginative plotting, suspense and romance that pleases readers/listeners of this genre. Actor Laural Merlington is another audience pleaser who unfailingly offers highly polished narrative performances. She has the ability to make fantasy seem real - all too real.

Princess Meredith was once a detective in Los Angeles - a very human one with strong physical desires. Hence, since she's part human she's not at all popular with others in the faerie world. Nonetheless, she will inherit the throne once she conceives and if she does so before her cousin, Cel.

Conception is a goal Meredith doesn't at all mind pursuing. She's surrounded by great looking men who serve as her bodyguards and lovers. Enter Mistral, the new captain of the Queen's guard. Their coupling ignites more than sparks as it begins a scenario of evil machinations, magic, and mayhem.

If the paranormal spiced with love and lust is for you, sit back and enjoy "Mistral's Kiss."

- Gail Cooke
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on February 19, 2007
As others have mentioned, it was short. It took me a grand total of two hours to read one evening. if I had to wager a guess, I'd actually suspect this was the original ending to the previous book which the author chopped in half for some unknown reason.

Overall, though, the story kept up the entertaining and fast pace of the prior novels. If you're a fan of this series, it's definately worth reading. We finally get to see more of Sholto and the Slaugh, and the author has kindly parred down the cast of this one to only a few of the major players...which is certainly a pleasant change from her usually-enormous cast since it finally lets the reader see some personal interactions between Merry and her guards instead of the man-wrangling she's been having to do since the recent additions.

A nice change from some of Hamilton's other recent works.
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on December 19, 2006
I recently finished the latest installment in the Faerie series and am feeling a little disappointed. I did read it in one sitting, so it wasn't as if the book was horrible - but it would seem that the author has sacrificed plot and story for sex scenes. Of course the sex scenes are definately a part of why one would read these books, but not othe only reason. Perhaps I'm just too demanding wanting plot, story, character development, AND good sex scenes. This was achieved in the last three books in the series, I felt as though this one had been written too quickly, just to get it out and published.

A good read, but not what I had hoped for.
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on December 27, 2006
I love Laurell's work and I have been anxiously waiting for this "volume" to be published! I don't find fault with the story except that it is too short!!! This was more a tease than a tale. I don't know the reason why this book was released as is, except perhaps "business" required it, and I can't say that I did not enjoy all that I read, but please.... A book? I fervently hope that this is not a taste of the future.... I will be disappointed indeed....
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on May 30, 2007
These books are great. I haven't read one yet that I didn't like. Yes, they are short, but for those without a lot of time on our hands, this is perfect. Laurell's brand of romance has a lot more "bite" to it than a lot of other "tough guy but tender" scenerios that you find in most supernatural romance. Not for everybody, sure, but there are those of us out here that appreciate a little more sting to it.
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