04 July 2009

Unfinished: A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton


Summary: Merry Gentry is a fay princess—part elf, part brownie, part human. She's third in line to the throne, which is now occupied by her aunt Andais, the queen of Air and Darkness. Merry has been on the run for three years: Her aunt and cousin, Prince Cel, want her dead to ensure that the royal line stays in their side of the family. When the queen begins to realize that Cel may not be an appropriate heir, she sends her goons out to bring Merry home.

Why I Abandoned the Book: Hamilton has created a complex and internally consistent world of fay that exists side by side with humans in the modern world. The varied creatures and their different powers are well constructed and easy to envision. The fay world is divided into two courts, and the political tension between them is nicely developed. The plot moves along quickly, and it is easy to get caught up in the story.

So what's the problem? It turns out that the fay are very sexual. So sexual that there are laws and restrictions concerning fay and human sex. Merry is particularly gifted in the area of the sensual arts and gains power through sex. Frankly, it begins to get very tiresome: Every time Merry meets a male (of any sort), she is either seduced or she does the seducing. The sex scenes are well written, but I began to be annoyed at the breaks in the overall plot and bored with reading yet another description of sex with yet another type of fay.

I listened to the audio production of this book read by Laural Merlington. The characters were easily distinguishable, and she did a good job with pacing. Perhaps if I had read the book in print, I could have skimmed over the sex scenes and concentrated on the story line itself. But with audio, you listen to every word.

A Quick Look at Reviews: I checked several commercial book sites and discovered that the print version of A Kiss of Shadows averages somewhere around a 4-star rating. Audio sites rate the book at bit lower at 3.5 stars. On the book cataloging sites, the novel is rated at 4 stars. I did not find any book blogger reviews to link to. If you know of any, please leave the link in a comment so I can update this post.

Published by Random House, 2002
ISBN-13: 9780345423405

19 comments:

Epiphany@3am 7/4/09, 8:30 AM  

Sounds somewhat like the vampire world of co-existing with humans in modern society. But you know what they say, sex sells yet to the reader it can be humdrum in how you tell it over and over- boring. But overall sounds like a good book, never read anything by Laurell K Hamilton.

Julie P. 7/4/09, 8:45 AM  

Wow! I think you're right about skimming over those parts. With audio you really don't have that choice. I bet it's kind of weird to be listening to those scenes! Ack!

Margot 7/4/09, 9:09 AM  

Thanks for telling us how you felt about the book. I definitely understand how it feels to be trapped with an audiobook. It never works for me if i try to fast forward with those things either. Better to just give up.

bermudaonion 7/4/09, 9:45 AM  

Sorry this didn't work for you, but I can see where reading it might be better.

Lezlie 7/4/09, 11:43 AM  

With as much as I loved Hamilton's earlier books, she seems to have evolved into mostly a writer of erotica, which I also found tedious. I don't read her anymore, and it makes me a little sad that she decided to go so heavily in that direction. I was really loving her Anita Blake series before that happened. For people who enjoy supernatural erotica though, she's a gold mine!

Lezlie

Sandy Nawrot 7/4/09, 11:53 AM  

I don't mind the occasional sex scene, if it is well-done. But I have to agree with you, it can be overused. Enough already.

Scrap girl 7/4/09, 12:54 PM  

I am glad to see I wasn't the only one to give up on this one.

Beth F 7/4/09, 1:04 PM  

Scrap girl: When I wrote my Thursday post, I hadn't gotten to the "okay, I get it, she likes sex" stage!

ruinedbyreading 7/4/09, 2:21 PM  

I used to love this series, as well as anything else LKH put out. But I stopped reading when it became clear that all her books in both major series' was just turning into literary porn.

Penny (aka Yooperchick) 7/4/09, 2:24 PM  

The storyline sounds great. It's a shame that it's interrupted by sex scenes.

I mostly read books (not audio), so I have been known to skip one or two of those scenes in other books. :)

Kristen howe 7/4/09, 3:29 PM  

I love the site of your blog Beth. You're more of a book reviewer than I am. I'm now following you on Twitter. Where did you get that Twitter icon too?

Beth F 7/4/09, 3:49 PM  

Kristen: Thanks so much! I don't remember where I got that Twitter icon. I just did a google search. There are a bunch out there.

heidenkind 7/5/09, 3:42 AM  

I read this when it first came out and also didn't finish it. I had basically the same problem with it that you did.

The Anita Blake books have a lot of sex in them, but with Anita it didn't start out that way. The sex in A Kiss of Shadows was a little too much for me for the first book in a series.

stacybuckeye,  7/5/09, 3:45 PM  

Thanks so much for telling us why you stopped listening to it. Sounds like it would have to be read, not read to.
I've never tried Hamilton, but have always thought I would someday. Just not today :)

Melody 7/5/09, 10:23 PM  

I didn't start this series because I already have trouble keeping up with her Anita Blake series, hehe.

Meghan 7/6/09, 2:19 PM  

Yikes, I guess I won't be picking this up. I definitely have problems when a book starts to sacrifice plot for sex. One or two scenes are fine, more than that is almost always overkill and not what I'm looking for. Shame, it does sound like an interesting set-up.

Joanne 7/7/09, 1:06 PM  

This series is definitely better to read than listen to, if you want to skim the sex. I've read all the Merry Gentrys' skimming the numerous sex scenes and it doesn't hurt the plot at all. I love the fey/mortal world Hamilton created but the sex is overdone for sure. And I am the least prudish person I know. It just becomes very repetitive.

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books 7/7/09, 5:31 PM  

I know "fey" as an adjective; it's interesting that the author uses it as a noun to describe her creation.

Louise 8/2/09, 7:26 AM  

Here is my review:

http://louspages.blogspot.com/2008/10/kiss-of-shadows-by-laurell-k-hamilton.html

I had to quit the Anita Blake-series because of all the sex and erotica, and read two books in the Merry Gentry-series so far. They definitely are weird and has weird sex-scenes ;o)

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