Sunday, 6 July 2014

'A Shiver of Light' by Laurell K Hamilton - review

Laurell K Hamilton used to be quite a good author....until she began to rely almost completely on sex to tell her stories. Despite this though, I've read both of her ongoing series of books, Anita Blake Vampire Hunter and Merry Gentry from the beginning and have to keep reading in case some of the good comes back!

This is the long awaited 9th book in the Merry Gentry series, my favourite of the two. The last book was in 2009 and many fans thought that she had abandoned Merry and her men! Thankfully not. Even more thankfully, Merry is heavily pregnant in this book so Hamilton has been mostly bereft of her favourite storytelling tool, sex. This means that she's had to go back to actually writing character developments and scenes to link the ongoing storyline. This is a great relief to me! Don't get me wrong, I love sex, but if thats all a book has to offer then I'm a hell of a lot less interested. I must be one of a small number of women who haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey, and has no intention of reading it or seeing the film. If sex is the only way you can get from one plot point to the next, or to empower your characters then you're not an author.

In this book we (finally) see the birth of Merry's babies....I won't tell you how many in case you do want to read it, but it is a multiple birth. Once again, I'm not a huge fan of the fact that each baby has multiple fathers, just strikes me as Hamilton being unable to choose her favourite. Not much really happens in this one, well nothing of any note. Hamilton continues her habit of over description of everyone every time they waft into a room, how their hair resembles sunlight and moonlight combined and other such twaddle. Also, Merry never seems to do any motherly duties despite the fact that the entire book is set in the first week post partum. No dirty nappies for this apparently minor deity. No need to workout to get into shape either....just a snap of her perfect moonlight fingers. The fact that she wafts around in virtually perpetual showers of rose petals from the Goddess irritates the crap out of me.....who cleans it up?? Who cleans up after the near constant marathon, messy sex sessions she has? For a princess of the people she leaves alot for her servants to do in her wake! Speaking of those sex sessions, how many times can we hear that Merry 'screamed her orgasm', or that she 'painted her orgasm' with her nails or some such twaddle? Is this how people are supposed to have sex? If so I've been doing it wrong for years! Is it supposed to be sexy? If it is then LKH and myself have very differing ideas of sexiness. Top that off with some truly mindless decisions.....'yes, lets go to that beach house where we've chucked everyone we don't trust, with human guards instead of our normal superhuman Sidhe bodyguards. What can possibly go wrong?'. Lots. Lots can go wrong. We finally see the defeat of Taranis, although in a manner which is so stupid I can barely even believe it. Something which didn't work earlier in the book, suddenly starts to work with no explanation.

Having said all that, I do like the Merry books and I do like the characters. More for the fact that there aren't many authors writing about the Sidhe, which is a topic I do enjoy. Sadly, I have to wade through page after page of sex and seemingly endless descriptions of how people look. Luckily though, as I said, the pregnancy and physical limitations on a woman's body after childbirth, helped to reduce the sex scenes. Sadly, nothing could stop the descriptions but you just have to switch off and ignore that bit if you like the characters and the overall storyline! LKH can and does write good characters, likable ones, hateful ones, nuanced ones....its just a shame she sabotages herself with her sex obsession. Hopefully there won't be another 5 year wait for another Merry book, and hopefully she continues to limit the sex! She won't but I can hope, right?

Thanks for popping by!


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