Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton

Title: A Kiss of Shadows
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Merry Gentry #1
Pages: 435
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Bought

Goodreads Description:
Princess Meredith of the Fey has been on the run from the Unseelie Court for several years, having taken the human identity of Meredith (Merry) Gentry and working as a private eye who handles cases with a supernatural bent. During a case involving a bizarre cult and Faerie artifacts, Meredith is forced to use her magic. She is immediately noticed by her aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, who resolves to have Meredith brought back to the Court.The Queen seeks to find an heir to the throne because she feels her resentful and sadistic son, Prince Cel, isn't suitable to rule. She devises a strange contest between Meredith and Cel, decreeing that the first to bear a child shall have the crown. Thus begins a violent struggle between the rivals that involves unbridled passions, malicious attacks, and bitter betrayals. 

My Review:
I absolutely love this series. The funny thing about it, was that it was my first real introduction to adult literature, urban fantasy, erotic fantasy, and paranormal romance. I read it when I was 14. For those of you who have read anything by Laurell in the past, you are probably gasping and appalled right now. I will tell you, that it was a definite shock to go from reading kid's books and pre-teen books to reading Laurell. I swear that this woman has the sexual imagination of the original makers of the Kama Sutra. I went from reading books where the most intimate sexual act was kissing ( and not very descriptively either..) to reading full out, explicit, vigorous sex scenes with multiple faerie men...some with tentacles...To say that my entrance to the world of adult literature with this series was a culture shock is an understatement of epic proportions, but for better or worse, it was how I began my long time obsession with Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, etc. I'm not quite sure what it says about me, but this series has shaped my reading tastes, preferences, and choices since the time that I actively began developing my *ahem* romantic interests...So I like reading about orgies with lots of hot fey men...sue me :P

There is a LOT of sex in this series. I think that's only logical. After all, the premise for the whole thing is that a fairy princess is in a race to get pregnant so she can steal the throne from her deranged cousin. When the whole point of a series is to make babies...well there's bound to be a lot of babymaking activities right? Right. This first book has mostly strait-laced (though certainly very hot) sex. As the series progresses, Merry and her guard get a little more...frisky, shall we say? But in this book, the sex scenes aren't too outrageous...they are just hot as hell. I swear...if this book isn't making you take a cold shower every half an hour...nothing will. The best thing about it though, is that even the sex has a purpose. It isn't isn't meaningless. It is a means to further the story, to break down barriers between characters, and to grow as a series. Even when the characters aren't having sex, they can be doing nothing more intimate than giving a kiss on the cheek or hand...there is such a sensuality in the character's actions that you get the shivers.

Laurell's work isn't simply telling a story. She breathes life into her characters until she leaves no room to argue that they aren't real. In fact, I know more about these characters after one book than some people I've known in real life for 5 years. The characters, the story, the court politics, the cultures of all the different fey races are simply fantastic. There is such vitality, meaning, and life in the whole entire world that just for the time your reading, you forget about this world and actually believe in Merry's. The difference between other author's novels and Laurell's are as dramatic as the difference between a pencil sketch and a full color digital photograph. Even the single most irrelevant character (a childhood friend, nameless uncles, etc) have enough depth and history to make them a main character in their own book. (Seriously...if Laurell went back and wrote a back story for every event, character, etc that is mentioned once and dissapears, she would have like...4-5 collections of amazing short stories.) All this vivid imagery, discription, etc. is so well interwoven into the storyline that you barely feel like you are learning about the character. Every move, every action, every single little thing that the characters do builds up an image of who they are as people. Reading this story and bonding with the characters was as easy for me as breathing.

The ending was amazing. The last chapter, the very last page holds you close and grips you up so that you are literally in pain until you get the next book in the series. I could try to sum up it's awesomeness, but I am feeling lazy today and feel like Laurell can do her own work justice much better than I here is a paragraph from the last chapter of the book.
I don't want the throne if I have to climb over the bodies of my friends and lovers to get to it. I always thought love was more important than power, but sometimes you cant have love without the power to keep it safe...I can't be queen while Cel lives, no matter what my aunt believes. I pray for the safety of those I care about, and what I'm really asking for is power, the throne, and my cousin's death. Because those three things must happen to give us all safety. They say, be careful what you wish for. Well, be even more cautious with your prayers. Make sure, very sure, it's what you want. You never know when a deity may give you exactly what you ask for.
I give this book 5 Keys. I would give it 6 if I could. I think the plot is utterly fantastic, the court intrigue is diabolical, the characters are amazing, and the sex scenes are smoldering hot...That being said, if you don't like sex in your books...this series is not for you. Don't read it and write a review bashing it for it's sexual content. That is the whole premise of the series, and you know that going into it. I have been looking at the reviews on Goodreads, and the majority of the bad reviews are about the amount of sex...well...I only counted 3 actual sex scenes...though there was one or two very sensual scenes as well...That doesn't seem to be extreme amount of sex for a 435 page book. Also, if you even looked at the blurb, you would know that it's a series about a princess trying to get were you expecting them to accomplish this? A stork? Well, that was my rant...This is my favorite Paranormal Romance series, and my absolute favorite series in any adult genre. I hope you give it a chance...even if you aren't into tentacle sex...


  1. I don't think I've ever heard of this series before. I sometimes get an itch to read a good adult novel I'll definitely check book #1 out! Great review!

    Xpresso Reads

  2. I'm glad you liked this one, it's a nice series, I've read them all. Great review

  3. I love Laurell Hamilton!! I have read many of her books. This one is on my TBR list.


  4. Great review! I think I'm going to have to pick this one up and add to my Adult TBR pile :) I love some good adult paranormla/urban books@@

    Thanks :)

  5. Haha wow, I hadn't heard of this series either! But it does sound interesting- I'm never sure how I feel about adult romance, because while I've read some good ones, I've read some disappointing ones as well. And this series sounds like it has some... interesting scenes haha! But it might be worth picking up too :) Thanks for posting this! I'm always looking for new books lol

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

  6. Stopping by to look around.


    Stop by my blog if you like to see some flying bats on my Blog Hop post.


  7. Ha! Vividly described sex scenes with guys with tentacles ;D Sounds like freaking fun!!! I tried one of Hamilton's books, but I don't think it was anything like this one. I read it long time ago and didn't really like it, so I ended up not reading any more of her books. Your review makes me want to reconsider. I know, I am a total sucker for guys with tentacles. Don't judge me ;)

    <3 this was a fantastic review BTW, I love how you describe things. Seriously. And can you please share with me the secret of making the quote background so damn pretty? PLEASE???


  8. I have been dying to read this series! I love Anita Blake and Laurell K Hamilton =)


  9. Lol @ Stork. I agree- people shouldn't latch on to one aspect and rant on about it. The blurb alone can give the reader a fairly good idea of what to expect. Sadly, I haven't picked up any of Lauren's books so far. I've heard great things about the Anita Blake series and hope to read at least one of those books soon.

  10. Wow, I can't believe you read this when you were 14!! Yikes, hello sexyness right? I love this series, I am totally a Merry Gentry fan, great review! Book Savvy Babe

  11. Oh my gosh I love Laurell K. Hamilton books!! I didn't know that she had another one coming out :(!! I loved the review I can't wait to read this series!!

  12. nice review,

    this book sounds exciting

  13. I have this series on my TBR list and your review is making me want to get it sooner :)

  14. I would give this series 10 keys if I could Andra! I am "patiently" waiting for Dec. 2012 when the next book comes out.

  15. @Evie oh, you KNOW you're down with tentacles man! The Anita Blake series starts slow, gets awesome, then kind of dies off...this series seems to be going strong so get on it chick! The faster you do that the faster you can join me in drooling over glowing fey hotties!

    @Christine! Yes! a fellow Merry fan! I was so upset when she took a year off from Merry! I still love my darling fairy princess...I do like the Anita Blake Books still, but I feel like they've gotten a tad off track

  16. @BookSavvyBabe ahah poor innocent 14 yr old self...I remember reading some of the scenes then deliberately going to a corner of the room so no one could read over my shoulder...I was SO paranoid that someone in class would read something like "and his tentacles slid up over my nipples" and freak out on me...I was an impressionable high school freshmen after all lol