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text SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-13 17:11
A Few Early Thoughts on Crimson Death

I've been very critical of both the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series written by Laurell K. Hamilton, and deservedly so.  Coming late to both, Anita Blake started out as an entertaining slice of Urban Fantasy- one of the early entries into the genre (despite Hamilton's protestations, she didn't *pioneer* things).  There were some interesting ideas and scenarios despite the gaping holes in logic and worldbuilding and well as the kinda obvious MarySue aspects.  It was something you could roll with.

 

 

Then the hubris set in.  Popular wisdom has it that Hamilton suffered something of pre-midlife crisis and art began imitating life.  Hamilton's personal issues and positions began creeping into the series and Anita became less a character and more a caricature.  Hamilton's own mouthings and social media responses confirming that Anita Blake is her avatar- a true vehicle for the author to lecture & educate the masses about the glories of polyamory (Hamilton openly lives with her husband and another couple), gym workouts (though vamps & weres don't even need this shit) body shaming (anyone woman who's athletic or slender is a 'boy with breasts' and guaranteed to be a hater, while having big funbags and curves is feminine and means they'll end up on Anita's side) and guns, lots of guns via her books. 

 

Merry Gentry took it further; whereas AB started out as the simple wish fulfillment of being a badass mofo, wheras from the outset Merry was her skewed version of the Madonna Whore complex- an ethical, moral & honorable savior of the Fae race who happily fucked anything that moved.  It wasn't until later in the series that Anita began her descent into bodily fluid baths.

 

To paraphrase Chuck D: this stuff is really bad, I'm talkin' 'bout RAPE!

 

I know, I know- this isn't anything new to the Anita Blake series.  Who can forget the introduction of Micah, one of Anita's true loves, who ignored her protests and forcibly took her in the shower.  It's an indication of just how bad this was that the scene was completely reedited in the paperback version into more of 'not expressly saying no' kind of thing. 

 

There's a lot of filler and nonsense in Crimson Death- almost 700 pages worth and it takes literally the first half of the book before the plot gets in gear.  But this is where all the sexual politics and dilemmas occur.  For those familiar with the series, here's a breakdown:

Damian, vampire daywalker, former Viking and member of Anita's second Triumverate along with Nathaniel, has been having nightmares that leave him literally sweating blood and turns to Anita for help.  Adding to this his lover, Cardinale, has been less than supportive of his issues, and knowing Anita's proclivity for having sex with her inner circle, turns into a jealous harpy even though Damian's been faithful to her.  After Cardy's kicked to the curb, Damian needs some emotional support and decides to have sex with Anita and Nate.  Next morning Anita doesn't really remember what happened, though Nate is well pleased with himself.  Turns out he somehow managed to glamour Anita into a few more rounds of sex than she wanted and even coerced Damian- who isn't gay or bisexual- into topping him a few times. 

 

They turn to Jean-Claude for help, who isn't quite certain either, but is happy that this means that through this he can somehow become more powerful than everyone's favorite frenemy, Richard.  Nate's protests amount to he kept asking them if they wanted this even as he was exerting his influence upon them, so they never did anything they didn't agree to, so it's ok.  Anita agrees, because hey... it's Nate.  And they fully expect Damian to be ok with things, too.  Turns out he's fine with it because hey- it's Anita and Nate.  So thanks for showing him a side of himself he never knew existed.

 

Nathaniel's only regret in all this is that in the heat of passion they forgot to use condoms.

 

If you want the crib notes, follow the link to where my buddy, EA Solinas is posting bullet points of the book. Bullet Points for Crimson Death (spoilers, DUH)

 

There's also a couple of forum discussions about Trigger Warnings and Rape.

 

Problem is this stuff is par for the series- longtime readers will recall the swanmares who objected to Anita trying to strongarm them in sexual servitude and she concluded that they 'were ours to rape' (sic) and proceeded to force them into it.  Or when the local Rex of the lion pride didn't want to have sex with Anita and stay faithful to his wife so she withdrew her protection from him.  Or how Peter, Edward's teenaged stepson, lamented how his girlfriend didn't like what had happened between them and Anita chalked it up to 'buyer's remorse'.  And let's not forget (how can we?) Cynric the weretiger- whom Anita got roofied into having sex with when he was sixteen (which is legal in Las Vegas, where he lived).  Granted, it wasn't their fault (!) but at eighteen his own parents sent him to Anita to be his ward so she could sex him into his full glory.  Because in this series sex is somehow now tied to your metaphysical powers, you see.  In other words, she attends his PTA meetings during the day and then fucks him at night. 

 

Think I had a couple of dvds like that.

 

I've no idea what Hamilton thinks she's accomplishing with all this.  Her sales are tanking, readers are constantly noting how she seems reluctant to even continue either series and when she finally gets dragged kicking and screaming to the publisher these are the results. I'm kinda done trying to psychoanalyze this shit; I'm just gonna take it at face value and call it for the bullshit that it is.

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review 2014-08-17 05:43
4 moons - "A Kiss of Shadows" by Laurell K. Hamilton (Audio Review)
A Kiss of Shadows - Laurell K. Hamilton

I have been wanting to read this series since I started reading the Anita Blake series in 2009.  Unfortunately, so many other books got in the way, until recently I borrowed the audio CDs from my Library.

I listened to this book whenever I could this summer, mostly during the time I had to research for my computer classes for college.  I needed something to help me from going insane from the late hours of research, and Laurell K. Hamilton's A Kiss of Shadows definitely did it.

I knew what to expect with Laurell's kind of writing due to reading her other series, and I definitely felt this book made me realize why Laurell will also be an auto-buy author for me.

In A Kiss of Shadows, Laurell introduces the readers to Meredith Gentry, a private investigator who is also a faerie princess.  She's hiding amongst the humans due to her kind trying to kill her.  Her Aunt has been searching for her and something happens in the human world to bring Meredith in the limelight.  The Queen dispatches her chief bodyguard, Doyle to fetch Merry and he happens to save her in the mean time.  Meredith is not going to go quietly at first due to her having doubts about her Aunt.  (I would have doubts too about this Aunt….because she is definitely one scary Fae Queen)  When Merry finds out what her Aunt wants, Merry is skeptical at first, but then she realizes she has no choice in the matter any ways.  Merry is going to fight for her life in the mean time because someone is out to kill her and she believe's it's the Queen's son (her cousin) or maybe her Aunt herself. Merry will have to recruit some of the other fae help and other supernaturals to help find out who is trying to kill her.  It's not going to be easy, but it will be worth the while to go along with Merry and her crazy adventure.

Laurell didn't disappoint with the world building and introducing the characters of the world of the Fae.  I enjoyed every bit of finding out about Meredith Gentry and how she went into hiding.  I also enjoyed finding out all about the male characters in this world of Fae.  There is also mentions of other supernatural creatures that may freak out some readers.  If you've read Laurell's Anita Blake series, Laurell throws in some creepy characters, but they also tend to play a very significant role in the storyline.

There was a point in the story that the action in the story slowed down a bit and some of the characters did drive me crazy.  Other than that, the first book to the Meredith Gentry series was an interesting read.  It is different from the Anita Blake series, but Laurell gave me another strong female lead character that I can't wait to read more about in the next book.

I give this book 4 full moons and recommend it to readers of Urban Fantasy and readers that have read Laurell's Anita Blake series.

 

My thoughts on the narrator: Laural Merlington

I don’t usually listen to a lot of audiobooks with just a female narrator, but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Laural Merlington narrating A Kiss of Shadows. She brought the characters and the story to life for me.  She did make the Queen scarier though when she read her part.  I even felt the tension from Merry’s point of view, whenever she had to confront her Aunt.  I definitely plan on listening to the rest of the series now and I definitely would enjoy listening to other books from Laural.

Source: booklovinmamas.com/2014/08/16/audio-review-a-kiss-of-shadows-by-laurell-k-hamilton
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review 2014-06-05 10:59
Review: A Shiver of Light
A Shiver of Light: Book 9 (Meredith Gentry 9) - Laurell K Hamilton

A SHIVER OF LIGHT is the latest installment of Laurell K. Hamilton’s MERRY GENTRY series. A SHIVER OF LIGHT takes place several months after the end of the previous book in the series, DIVINE MISDEMEANORS, with Merry due to give birth only days away. Life is, of course, never easy or quiet for America’s only faerie princess.

 

I cannot belive that it has been five years since DIVINE MISDEMEANORS was released. It seems like the eighth MERRY GENTRY book was released a long time ago, and yet at the same time it feels like no time has passed at all. I am a fan of Hamilton’s take on The Fair Folk, so I have been looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of this book for a while. Hamilton’s alluring monsters and their politics are fascinating to watch on the page.

 

A SHIVER OF LIGHT wasn’t quite what I was expecting from Hamilton, which isn’t to say the book didn’t blow me away – it did – but for me personally it didn’t quite have the magic of the previous books in the series. I think a lot of that was down to the fact that A SHIVER OF LIGHT focuses much more on the interpersonal relationships of the characters, rather than court politics or a murder mystery as the previous books do. As such, sometimes I felt that the transition between chapters felt a little choppy and oddly balanced.

 

As always Hamilton did a brilliant job conjuring the world and characters. I actually quite enjoyed how Hamilton handled the introduction of children to her narrative. It felt very believable, and it was interesting to see how the characters adjusted to the change in their lives. There isn’t actually a lot of sex in this book because of this – Hamilton keeps a healthy dose of realism in this, I think.

 

There isn’t much of a plot arc to A SHIVER OF LIGHT, it’s much more of a character arc which considering it has been five years since we’ve had a new adventure in this world was a little disappointing – hey, I’m always up for more pages ;) – but still compelling to watch unfold. The ending of the book blew me away – honestly, I’m still reeling a little! But there was almost a note of finality to it, like this might be our last adventure with Merry and her men.

 

If you have enjoyed Merry’s adventures so far, then I don’t think you will be disappointed with A SHIVER OF LIGHT. It is a brilliant addition to the series.

 

Originally posted on The Flutterby Room.

Source: theflutterbyroom.com/2014/06/05/review-a-shiver-of-light-by-laurell-k-hamilton
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-06-04 10:52
Light Is On, But No One's Home
A Shiver of Light - Laurell K. Hamilton

If Laurell Hamilton ever again tries to tell someone she isn't writing romance, here's your proof that she is.

Exhibit A is what the Anita Blake series has declined into; Exhibit B is right here. This is infinitely worse than any K-Drama or something on Telemundo. Why? BECAUSE ALMOST NOTHING EVER HAPPENS! NOTHING!

Swear to @#$%ing Chthulu, practically nothing fraggin' happens for almost four hundred $%^ing pages! I have to say almost nothing because there are all of two important events that take place, but you only get to see one of them. I won't even post a synopsis because there's almost nothing to write about. Think I'm joking? Wait 'til you read it.

**MINI-SPOILERS AHEAD**
What's Good:
There's some attempt at humanizing Andais. In what's to me the best scene in the book (!) Merry & Co. are wary of letting Crazy Aunt Andais visit the babies, so they do the magic mirror thing first. During their conversation some intriguing details about the Queen of Air and Darkness are revealed, including some insight into why she's the way she is. It gets touched upon again later in the book when Andais gives Merry some advice on what it takes to make Taranis back off. But alas, it all gets washed away in a tide of love and wangst. Hell, Andais even cries a couple of times. Those crumbs are as good as this thing gets. And shocker of shockers- there's a character death! No, don't look at me like that- someone important dies. And there's a CONSPIRACY behind it! I guess Merry didn't get Hamilton to make the same promise Anita did about not killing people off. Only thing is they get the Haven treatment and it only takes three pages to off them.

What's Bad:
The rest of the book. I've said it before and I have to say it again- ALMOST NOTHING HAPPENS! The babies are born in-between the first two chapters (and since they're now triplets and each baby has two fathers, two more baby daddies get added to the mix), Taranis makes a couple of half-@$$ attempts at taking Merry and someone dies... but it only takes about ten pages to wrap that one up. So what are you gonna fill up the other three hundred fifty odd pages with? You got it- TALKING! And not just any ol' talking but As-You-Know-Bob Infodumps in the classic Hamilton style you've come to know and loathe. Character A exposits on a situation everyone's fully aware of, B adds a little more, C just got there and asks some questions, A and B add more filler to the tune of but-that-was-before-THIS-happened, D asks if this changes things, A,B and C all say no- which renders the whole conversation pointless and circular. Best example of this I can sum up from early sequence discussing what to do about Taranis and Andais:

**It might be ok to let Andais come visit; she seems composed and rational, moreso that she’d been lately. Over the years she knew her infertility damaged the throne so she got more and more unhinged to the point she didn’t care if she lived or died. Guess once Merry got knocked up, she knew she’d be ok. Taranis can’t come near any of us due to a court order plus he’d actually threatened a whole group of human lawyers, so we’re ok there. If he comes near us or our babies, we’ll kill him. No problem. He’s crazy. Yep. And he’s a danger to everyone. Sure you’re right. So we’ll kill him if he tries anything. Gotcha. He raped Merry. So we’ve heard. And he’s infertile and can’t rule the Seelie. Nope, he can’t. So he’s desperate. That seems likely. And crazy. Yeah. And he'll do anything to stay in power, even kill us. Yep. So we’ll kill him first. Ok. So if he makes a move we waste him. Sounds like a plan. Because he’d do it to us. Probably. So let’s get him first. Fist bump me, bro**

Think you can handle it?

What's Left:
All the plot points tossed aside that would make for interesting reading, except Hamilton has no interest in anyone reading them. Especially since some of them make you wonder why they hadn't already happened. A new human ambassador to the Fae gets appointed and it's suggested that envoys be assigned to the Courts, since the Fae are always on their best behavior around humans. Not only would this be standard diplomatic practice, but why hasn't it ever been enacted in all the years they've been here? You telling me NO ONE, not Thomas Jefferson or since, ever thought of having someone keep an eye on the Fae, especially since these powerful creatures are here on sufferance? One of his attacks on Merry leaves Taranis injured by her Hand of Power, which is grounds for getting him deposed as Seelie King (surprise!) and his replacement's on the way, but like JC taking over the American Vampire Council in the AB novels, the coup is only mentioned in passing. No need to see these game-changing events which were supposed to be at the heart of the entire series when you can just go 'oh yeah, by the way'. Might interfere with all the really important endless talk about love. And love.

Since Merry's still recovering from childbirth, there's not so much zexxy zexx happening but hey- something's gotta be done for all these hot menz, right? How's your wrist and gag reflex?

Utterly boring, insipid, vapid, dull, repetitive and lame. I'd ask you to put out the light when you finish but Hamilton already did that. 

 

0-stars.

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review 2014-06-03 00:00
A Shiver of Light (A Merry Gentry Novel)
A Shiver of Light (A Merry Gentry Novel) - Laurell K. Hamilton If Laurell Hamilton ever again tries to tell someone she isn't writing romance, here's your proof that she is.

Exhibit A is what the Anita Blake series has declined into; Exhibit B is right here. This is infinitely worse than any K-Drama or something on Telemundo. Why? BECAUSE ALMOST NOTHING EVER HAPPENS! NOTHING!

Swear to fucking Chthulu, practically nothing fraggin' happens for almost four hundred fucking pages! I have to say almost nothing because there are all of two important events that take place, but you only get to see one of them. I won't even post a synopsis because there's almost nothing to write about. Think I'm joking? Wait 'til you read it.

**MINI-SPOILERS AHEAD**
What's Good:
There's some attempt at humanizing Andais. In what's to me the best scene in the book (!) Merry & Co. are wary of letting Crazy Aunt Andais visit the babies, so they do the magic mirror thing first. During their conversation some intriguing details about the Queen of Air and Darkness are revealed, including some insight into why she's the way she is. It gets touched upon again later in the book when Andais gives Merry some advice on what it takes to make Taranis back off. But alas, it all gets washed away in a tide of love and wangst. Hell, Andais even cries a couple of times. Those crumbs are as good as this thing gets. And shocker of shockers- there's a character death! No, don't look at me like that- someone important dies. And there's a CONSPIRACY behind it! I guess Merry didn't get Hamilton to make the same promise Anita did about not killing people off. Only thing is they get the Haven treatment and it only takes three pages to off them.

What's Bad:
The rest of the book. I've said it before and I have to say it again- ALMOST NOTHING HAPPENS! The babies are born in-between the first two chapters (and since they're now triplets and each baby has two fathers, two more baby daddies get added to the mix), Taranis makes a couple of half-@$$ attempts at taking Merry and someone dies... but it only takes about ten pages to wrap that one up. So what are you gonna fill up the other three hundred fifty odd pages with? You got it- TALKING! And not just any ol' talking but As-You-Know-Bob Infodumps in the classic Hamilton style you've come to know and loathe. Character A exposits on a situation everyone's fully aware of, B adds a little more, C just got there and asks some questions, A and B add more filler to the tune of but-that-was-before-THIS-happened, D asks if this changes things, A,B and C all say no- which renders the whole conversation pointless and circular. Best example of this I can sum up from early sequence discussing what to do about Taranis and Andais:

**It might be ok to let Andais come visit; she seems composed and rational, moreso that she’d been lately. Over the years she knew her infertility damaged the throne so she got more and more unhinged to the point she didn’t care if she lived or died. Guess once Merry got knocked up, she knew she’d be ok. Taranis can’t come near any of us due to a court order plus he’d actually threatened a whole group of human lawyers, so we’re ok there. If he comes near us or our babies, we’ll kill him. No problem. He’s crazy. Yep. And he’s a danger to everyone. Sure you’re right. So we’ll kill him if he tries anything. Gotcha. He raped Merry. So we’ve heard. And he’s infertile and can’t rule the Seelie. Nope, he can’t. So he’s desperate. That seems likely. And crazy. Yeah. And he'll do anything to stay in power, even kill us. Yep. So we’ll kill him first. Ok. So if he makes a move we waste him. Sounds like a plan. Because he’d do it to us. Probably. So let’s get him first. Fist bump me, bro**

Think you can handle it?

What's Left:
All the plot points tossed aside that would make for interesting reading, except Hamilton has no interest in anyone reading them. Especially since some of them make you wonder why they hadn't already happened. A new human ambassador to the Fae gets appointed and it's suggested that envoys be assigned to the Courts, since the Fae are always on their best behavior around humans. Not only would this be standard diplomatic practice, but why hasn't it ever been enacted in all the years they've been here? You telling me NO ONE, not Thomas Jefferson or since, ever thought of having someone keep an eye on the Fae, especially since these powerful creatures are here on sufferance? One of his attacks on Merry leaves Taranis injured by her Hand of Power, which is grounds for getting him deposed as Seelie King (surprise!) and his replacement's on the way, but like JC taking over the American Vampire Council in the AB novels, the coup is only mentioned in passing. No need to see these game-changing events which were supposed to be at the heart of the entire series when you can just go 'oh yeah, by the way'. Might interfere with all the really important endless talk about love. And love.

Since Merry's still recovering from childbirth, there's not so much zexxy zexx happening but hey- something's gotta be done for all these hot menz, right? How's your wrist and gag reflex?

Utterly boring, insipid, vapid, dull, repetitive and lame. I'd ask you to put out the light when you finish but Hamilton already did that.
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