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Laurell K. Hamilton
book cover

Book 3 of the Meredith Gentry series
2004, February, Ballantine
Buy from Amazon.com (hardcover)

Who recommends: Shelley, Preeti, Linda, Laurie, JW
Who discommends:

I loved LKH'S new Meredith Gentry novel but have a few reservations about recommending it. SEDUCED BY MOONLIGHT is really engrossing, has lots of action, and sets the stage beautifully for future books. What it does not have is a mystery or other plot that is finished in this one novel. This novel was about developing Merry's powers and having her deal with her aunt's court. It set the stage for her having to deal with both the court of her uncle and of the goblins in the next book (or books). There's lots of interesing stuff if you have been following the story so far, but this is not a book that works as a stand alone in any sense. You really do have to read the others to know what is going on. That sounds like an odd kvetch about a series, but some books you can read out of order and still get it and then go back and fill yourself in--with this one, not so much.

That said, SEDUCED BY MOONLIGHT kept me up until 3 a.m. following the action. There was lots of excitement, lots of sex, lots of magic. For me it was a fun read, and I am looking forward to the new installment.--Shelley (10 Feb 04)

SEDUCED BY MOONLIGHT, the third Meredith Gentry novel by Laurell K. Hamilton, really appealed to me on a juvenile fantasy level. When I was a girl, I'd long for all the magical princess, and pony, and any other fantasy theme dolls, and long for them in every color and configuration the toymaker offered. Once I had some, my friends and I would make up imaginary stories for the toys where all became boyfriend and girlfriend.

The appeasement of these childhood longings pretty much sum up the appeal of Merry and her harem of cool and/or pretty boys (each in his own unique configuration of eye/hair/body color and superpower, lovingly described), with the added adult kick of sex and violence and gore, often inter-mingled. There isn't much for higher-level brain function to enjoy in this story, but it's a quick, fun read that played to my juvenile doll-playing, comic-book reading worldview of fantasy and power.

As for the nominal story, it's about Merry gaining even more power, this time through channeling a goddess and imbuing selected people around her with all the power they'd lost in previous centuries, sometimes with bonus power added. She also goes to the court of her aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, where she overcomes several challenges and impresses upon the Unseelie Court her powers for the first time. Oh, and she's possibly now immortal. LKH seems to like giving her heroines more power with each new book, but what else is left? I'm sure I'll enjoy finding out. Too bad these books come out so relatively far apart in time.--Preeti (15 Feb 04)

I just finished Laurell K. Hamiliton's SEDUCED BY MOONLIGHT, and I recommend it too. While it didn't appeal to me on a juvenile fantasy level as it did Preeti (too sexual for me to even think juvenile anything for the book <g>), I do agree about the draw of Merry's harem and their many color variations. And there certainly is the fantasy of just imagining being with some of these hunks, although my imagination can't quite go far enough to include the huge (and growing) number of her guards. <g> It's all I can do to try to keep track of who's who!! Where does Merry get all that...energy? I don't seem to have a problem with this like I would in any other book, thanks to LKH providing reasons: Merry's Unseelie sexual appetite and her very scary Queen's manipulations.

Frankly I was half afraid that it was only going to be a book about interchanging sexual partners, but it included the politics and diplomacy of the Goblins, a certain magical object appearing and affecting Merry's powers, and showing the growing power in Merry and those around her. And we had lots of action at the end. No bloodless fights here.

I continue to be amazed at LKH's imagination and look forward to the next. Though I can't imagine her every settling on one man after being with all these men!!--Linda (16 Feb 04)

I read SEDUCED BY MOONLIGHT as an unabridged audiobook, so my spelling of character names will more than likely be more heinous than usual. After the first few minutes I realized I should've reread the previous books in the series or at least skimmed them (ah, if I only had the time!). Basically, I remembered that Merry was desperate to become pregnant to inherit the throne, Gaelen was her childhood love, and that she had temporarily entered into an agreement with the goblins involving blood and sex.

The book starts off as Merry and her crew of nearly naked lovers are about to put on a scandalous show to please the pesky media. Just where this little foray lead I'm still unsure, but it sure started the book out on an exciting note. Soon the goblin king and his nasty queen enter the picture and the court politics begin. At this point the plot seems to be going nowhere, and the descriptions of each and every one of Merry's lovers are endless. But this is actually a good thing for me since I can't remember what anyone looks like except for maybe Gaelen the green dude and Doyle her darkness.

The repetitiveness of the descriptions are comforting to me in a weird way (sort of like Dean Koontz's habit of being lovingly overly descriptive). I had a difficult time clicking with the story early on, but I think it's due to my poor memory. My head was spinning from all of the court politics and the various characters, and I spent more time trying to remember who was who (and what they meant to the story) than I did concentrating on the current story. I found myself drifting away and doing a lot of rewinding early on.

Still, I valiantly continued reading and eventually fell into the story around tape three (coincidentally, this is when things really begin to, ah, heat up, but I'm sure that has absolutely nothing to do with it) and then some of the bigger details slowly came back to me. The most fascinating aspects of this book for me were the magical elements and the increasing powers. Of course the erotic fantasy elements don't hurt either.

This one gets a recommend from me but with reservations. It is most definitely a middle-of-the-series book and absolutely does not stand alone (in any way), but it was interesting and imaginative and I'll splurge for the next one.--Laurie (17 Feb 04)

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 , I really don't like gore, yet I love these books anyway. I think maybe it's because the characters care, and the author makes you care, so the blood and graphic violence is not simply there for shock value as it seems to be in so many violent novels.

Everyone probably already know this but for a brief overview:

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.

Just a couple of other comments:

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 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, 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.

Happy reading.--JW (17 Mar 04)

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