04/03/2004 Entry: "Merry Gentry Series Addictive, Better Than Anita Blake -- JW"
I read these via audiobook, but anyway, I've now been through all three of Laurell K. Hamilton's series about Faerie Princess Meredith and her struggles to become true heir to the throne of the Unseelie court: A KISS OF SHADOWS, A CARESS OF TWILIGHT, SEDUCED BY MOONLIGHT. I'd read the first book when it was published but never got around to the second one, so this time I started with book one again and went straight through.
I loved them.
I enjoy the Anita Blake books, but I like these stories better, with their mixture of fantasy, magic, sex, violence, action, and at times heart-wrenching emotion; this series is addictive. I had a difficult time making myself stop listening to do anything else.
Both the sex and the violence are explicit, and while I never mind explicit sex
The main premise of the story so far is that Princess Meredith has to become pregnant to become true heir to throne. In this, she is in a "race" with her very evil cousin Cel, the one who is always trying to kill her. Her aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, has provided her with a selection of Guards to be her lovers. The first one to get her pregnant will become her husband and will be king to rule at her side. In the meanwhile, Meredith is building relationships with her men while trying to stay alive in a jungle of court politics, win and hold alliances that will help her gain power and thus safety, and, oh yes, in her spare time she can figure out her rapidly growing magical powers.
I'm really enjoying the fantasy of Merry and her harem of fascinating males. All of them have interesting qualities and backstories, with hints of much more to come.
It's obvious that this series is never going to have a HEA ending; if and when Merry gets pregnant, either it's going to be some magical event where no one man becomes her husband and/or true love, or if she ever decides on one true love, he is shortly going to be lost to her, one way or another. I think we can pretty much count on that much, so not hoping too much for that kind of happy conclusion will make the series more enjoyable for me.
I'm not a big fan of the never-ending saga, which both this series and the other one are, but LKH does a better job of most, since while each book leaves me wanting more, it does not leave me feeling cheated, which is the effect of most unfinished stories. These books are more episodic than "part 1 of 3" or whatever. I'm a little sad now, though, since it will be at least a year until I get another installment.
I do see many similarities with the Anita Blake stories, particularly in the way in which new and greater magical powers keep being thrown in before anyone (reader or characters) even gets used to the old ones. :-) Also, in book 2, CARESS OF TWILIGHT, there seemed to be a major plot element simply dropped. There were two dangerous "entities" loose, and only one was addressed by the end of the book. The other is not mentioned again.
I particularly enjoyed the ending of the third book, SEDUCED BY MOONLIGHT, with the "good night, John-boy" scene with Merry bedded down (for sleep, those of you with evil minds <g>) with all her men. Very touching, and very effective in showing how Merry is winning the most important prize of all: trust. It is interesting seeing her grow into a true leader.