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