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Laurell K. Hamilton
book cover

Book 4 of the Meredith Gentry series
2005, April, Ballantine
Buy from Amazon.com (hardcover)

Who recommends: JW, Shelley
Who discommends:

I devoured this latest volume in the Merry Gentry series. A STROKE OF MIDNIGHT takes place the day after the last book, SEDUCED BY MOONLIGHT, and covers less than one full day in the life of our heroine. During this period, she investigates a murder, survives several attacks (both physical and political), has amazing and magical sex with several new partners, and gains and shares new magical powers. In other words, a typical day.

I both loved this one and was disappointed in it. I loved it because I love spending more time with Merry & Co. (all those gorgeous men!) and there are some moving emotional moments. I would prefer the sexual encounters to deal more with character and emotion and a little less with continually increasing everyone's magical powers, but there is still a lot of emotion to be had. And like I said, there are absolutely wonderful character bits. So I loved reading this book.

But...I'm disappointed because this feels very much like an unfinished work. I see from checking out reader reviews at Amazon that I'm not the only one feeling this is only half the book, that there was a longer book that was arbitrarily divided up. None of the threads left hanging from SEDUCED BY MOONLIGHT are addressed in A STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, and I notice that some of the press releases for this book describe things that are not in it. Specific things, such as a visit to the Goblin court and Merry sleeping with Sholto to finalize the alliance.

Although both this series and the Anita Blake series are very episodic in nature, I've found that each book does have a feeling of concluding the episode. Even the last one had a nice conclusion despite the hanging threads. This one really does not. You simply get to the end of a chapter, with the characters about to go off and deal with something, and that's it. The end. I have to assume that either LKH wrote a really long book that the publisher decided to split up or that she was running late on the deadline and the editor said, "Okay, we'll take what you have and call it finished."

Even with that complaint, I still loved it. I'm at that place now when I can't settle down and pay attention to another book because I really want to have about a dozen more of this series to go through so I can stay in that world. :-) --JW (17 Apr 05)

I agree with J. I just finished A STROKE OF MIDNIGHT yesterday, and it was fun--a great read--but the story just ends abruptly and before the entire day is finished. There's lots of stuff left unresolved--Merry still has to spend her time with Sholto, she still has to spend time with the goblins, and she still has to go to the Sidhe court. This book had a lot of character and relationship development, but it felt like it got chopped off early. Like seeing the first two episodes of a mini-series and missing the finale.--Shelley (18 Apr 05)

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