Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Caress of Twilight by Laurell K. Hamilton

I'm loving this series. This was the second installment in the Merry Gentry series and in this one we get to delve more into the crazy life of a Sidhe princess.

In A Kiss of Shadows, Merry was told she would be crowned Queen of the Unseelie court if she can bear an heir before her cousin, Prince Cel could have a child of his own. This caused enough noise in court to have Prince Cel punished for his assassination attempts and have Princess Meredith running back to her familiar life in LA. She has brought with her her Ravens, a retinue of guards that have been supplying her with enough sex to keep Andais, Queen of Air and Darkness, happy that she is at least TRYING to get pregnant.

Merry has refused any monetary funds from the Queen (her motto being if you take, you owe) so she is living with her 5 guards (Doyle, Frost, Galen, Rhys and Nicca) and one goblin (Kitto) in a tiny, one bedroom apartment. To pay her bills she continues to work as a PI for Grey's Detective Agency which brings her in contact with Maeve Reeds. Maeve, who is now a famous movie star, has been exiled from the Seelie court after she angered Taranis, King of Light and Shadow. She has been prohibited from seeking out another Fey but she risks it all because she wants a child with her dying husband.

Merry shows that she is a very politically minded advisory and what she lacks in immortality she has in smarts. Although she was concerned over her meeting with Maeve she believes that the movie star holds a secret so big, that if shared with Meridith, will give her an edge over her uncle, King Taranis. But the King is not likely to allow that and when an ancient power is released onto humans causing mass murders to pop up everywhere, Merry wonders if the King has not shown his hand too quickly.

On top of her dealings with Maeve and the King, Merry also is working an alliance with Queen Niceven, the Queen of the Demi Fey who we met in the previous book. The damage that has been done to her Raven, Galen during the first book appears to be permanent and it would eliminate him as a candidate to father her child but Merry is not accepting of this and calls upon Niceven to provide for a cure. When a much guarded secret of the Demi Fey is revealed, Merry jumps all over it to assure an alliance between herself and Niceven. The deal adds Sage to Meredith's male followers, as an emissary to Queen Niceven.

In this installment we get to know so much more about the Ravens and their previous lives, not just as the Queen's guard but also as Fey themselves. Doyle, the Queen's Darkness finally gives into the flesh and beds Merry, causing conflicts of loyalties. We also discover an interesting fact about his parentage. Frost's feelings for Merry have grown strong and he fears losing her by not being able to give her the heir she needs. Rhy's prejudice against Kitto as a goblin comes to a collision which causes Merry to question who has the power in her relationship with her guards. She has to balance her love for the men and her position as the future Queen. Rhys also reveals his past which puts him in a whole new light and not so much the charlatan and movie buff he portrays himself to be.

There was a lot of growth happening in this installment and a lot of alliances which is positioning Merry to be the heir to the throne. Now if she can only get herself pregnant!

Grade: A


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