A Kiss of Shadows is an excellent book. It is a great beginning to Laurell K Hamilton’s second series, The Merry Gentry series, which is about the Fey (magical creatures). This series is a favorite of mine. I enjoy Hamilton’s writing style, and characterization.
Background: This book is about the fey or magical beings. In this version of Hamilton’s world the Fey or fairies exist. Some of the Fey are immortal and have magic. A few were even worshiped as gods once. However, there was human vs. fey war. The fey lost, and consequently they were banished from Europe. Thomas Jefferson, the president during that time period, decided to take them in. The fey moved to the US and there they established two courts of Sidhe (the most human like and the most powerful and beautiful fey) The Seelie Court or all things light and beautiful, and the Unseelie Court or those who take in everyone (the dark court). The courts were allowed into the US under a very strict set of rules and regulations, and if someone breaks them, then all of fey are tossed out on their ears.
Plot: The main character, Meredith, belongs to the Unseelie court and her aunt is the Queen–that makes her a princess, but she has a problem. She is part mortal, and therefore some of the Unseelie don’t like her and are trying to kill her. She left the court three years earlier to escape the assassination attempts. Meredith went into hiding in LA, and has been making a living as a magical detective. However, a new case she is working on puts her in danger of being discovered. In the course of the investigation, she loses the glamor she has been using to disguise herself. Now that the Queen knows that Meredith is sill alive, she commands Meredith to come home to the court (in Illinois). Her aunt, the Queen, has some plans for her, but Meredith knows not what, which can be scary since the Queen of Darkness is as likely to torture you as not. Also, Meredith’s case is not over. One of the Sidhe was breaking two of the rules (that can get the fey kicked out of the US) by letting themselves be worshiped as a god, and by giving some very powerful magic lotions to humans. Can Merry find the culprit? And just what are the Queen’s plans for Meredith? Can Meredith survive living in the fairy court again? You will have to read the book to find out.
Hamilton does a great job describing all the creatures that appear in this novel. She has done her research. She also does a good job in describing the fey courts and the rules that govern them. She covers us in court intrigue and rules, but it doesn’t distract from the story. There is intrigue, sex, and violence in this book as well as magic–so be prepared.
Her characterization is very good in this first novel. The characters are not flat, they each have 3-D aspect. They all have a back story which we slowly learn throughout the novels. I especially like Meredith, and Frost. Meredith is our main character. She is half sidhe, part human, and part brownie. She is third in line for the throne of the Unseelie Court. She has been hiding in LA away from the court. She has been blending in as human for three years because her cousin has been trying to kill her. She has a sidhe outlook crossed with human feelings. She wants to go home to the courts but she is afraid for her life. She is a very interesting character. She is also just coming into her powers, which is very interesting. Merry is a strong female character who stays strong. She doesn’t lean on one of her male counter parts, which is what usually happens to these great strong female characters. I enjoy watching her develop throughout the novels.
Frost is one of the Queen’s guards. He is described as have long silver hair and very light eyes with pale white skin. He is the embodiment of winter (or Jack Frost). He is also a very tasteful dresser, vain really. He has been celibate for 800 years. He is given to Merry by the Queen to be Merry’s guard and her lover. He begins as just another arrogant sidhe, one that Merry doesn’t know very well. But we see levels of personality begin to emerge in him throughout the novel, and Merry begins to care about him. He is a favorite of mine because of the layers he has. He starts out as unfeeling but through the course of the series he begins to care (maybe too much).
I really enjoyed A Kiss of Shadows. It moves quickly, and Hamilton’s writing style is easy to read. I have read this book multiple times, and I have never tired of it. It is a great beginning to an interesting and wonderful series.