Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Merry Gentry #4
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Date Published: November 28, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Genre: Paranormal Romance
After a barely thwarted assassination attempt, Princess Merry NicEssus (a.k.a. Los Angeles private eye Meredith Gentry) -- ignores the counsel of her aunt Andais, Queen of Air and Darkness, and decides to hold a press conference inside the fairy mounds: a dangerous move for all humans and sidhe involved. As the session is ending, two dead bodies are discovered -- one sidhe, one human. While police and FBI agents swarm the area, Merry's cadre of hunky sidhe guardians must not only track down the killer or killers and pacify the temperamental Queen; they also must find a way to impregnate Merry so that she can become the next Unseelie ruler. But as her sensual experiences begin to affect everyone around her in amazing ways, Merry realizes that with new powers come new responsibilities -- and new temptations.
Though I have reviewed several books from this series before, it has been a while and I want to make sure all of you readers know what you're getting into when you start a Merry Gentry book. This series is not for the gentle minded and those with weak stomachs. Laurell K. Hamilton is one of the few who can incorporate sadism and sensuality in the same paragraph and have you: the straigh-laced, stay at home mom with a strong christian background, longing for threesomes with seven foot tall, blue/purple/green/etc men with hair down to their ankles.At the same time, if you aren't ready for extreme magical orgies mixed with violent bloody torture (not usually all at once, but it could happen...) then you will be completely thrown by this series, and especially this book. Though books 1-3 had their fair share of heavy-breathing and babymaking scenes, A Stroke of Midnight is where you either sink into the darkness and make love to the monsters right along with Merry, or you run away screaming to find a lighter, happier book and never touch another Laurell K. Hamilton novel again.
Apparently because Merry is descended from fertility deities, she can bring the courts back to power not through blood and battle like it was in the past, but through sex and love (awwwww).This leads to lots and lots of metaphysical and literal sex with pretty much any guard who has ever been hurt before, so Merry can come along and literally kiss away their boo-boos. I will say that it's in this book where I kind of see what people mean about there being too much sex. Obviously you're going to be expecting some sex when the plot revolves around getting the princess pregnant, but I feel like this one had some overkill sex scenes. Plot tends to take a back-seat to the dirty dirty hotness of Merry banging all the guards, and almost gets lost along the way. I mean, they are trying to solve the murder of a cook and a photographer, but then they get distracted by having hot lightning sex up against the wall in the same room where the body is. I'm just saying that that particular scene and several others seem a bit excessive. Since I love the characters and how emotional and deep everyone is, I haven't been bothered by the almost constant procreating in the past, but it is a little odd that one woman can heal the hearts and minds of every magical being in the Unseelie sithen...or is it? I guess if she is blessed by their god, in fact IS their goddess incarnate, then it's believable. I guess I'm just getting tired of keeping track of who all she's screwed back into their powers.
One thing I really don't understand is everyone being upset at the descriptions in the book. Laurell takes the time to explain the entire scene. And I mean the ENTIRE scene. It never bothered me before, in fact, actually helped me feel that awesome "video" feeling you get when you read a book that has excellent descriptions. But I have heard over and over again that people hate the descriptions. In a world that's entirely different than our own where characters can have skin and hair the color of molten gold or rainbows...shouldn't there be description? I love having the scene set and a definitely portrait of every character because I find it easier to love them and identify with them when I get an amazing pictures. You become so involved, so completely enwrapped in these people's lives that everything feels like it's happening to you. And I belive that lot of that emotion is due to the fact that you "see" everything and everyone in such vivid detail.
I give A Stroke of Midnight 4 Keys. I honestly love this series. Sure, there is a lot of sex. Sometimes even enough to have me skimming the sexy, orgy chapters so we can get to the plot. But there is so much political intrigue, mixed with mythological rebirths and such a depth to the characters that they are more realistic than your very own best friends. Though it's perhaps not my favorite book in the series, A Stroke of Midnight still has a ton of amazing imagery, plot devices, and magical awesomeness to keep me coming back for more. I reccomend this book (and series) for the serious paranormal reader who's not afraid of the unusual or the bizarre in their sex scenes. And being open minded about polygamy is a must. This is a truly great paranormal series charged with ridiculous amounts of originality and sexual tension.