Merry Gentry by Laurell K. Hamilton

“My name is Meredith ‘Merry’ Gentry, but of course it’s not my real name. I dare not even whisper my true name after dark for fear that one hushed word will travel over the night winds to the soft ear of my aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness. She wants me dead. I don’t even know why…”

The Merry Gentry series is an urban fantasy series by Laurell K. Hamilton that borders closely to paranormal romance. It is similar to her Anita Blake series in that the main character, Merry, has multiple lovers but it makes a bit more sense here (I don’t have anything against polygamous relationships it just seems to go against Anita’s nature). Merry is more comfortable with her sexuality than Anita and is much more accepting of her multiple partners and their various interests (Anita becomes so later).

The series is told in the first person from Merry’s point of view. Merry is a faerie princess turned private investigator in hiding from her sadistic aunt, Anadais, Queen of Air and Darkness and of the Unseelie court.

There are currently 9 books in the series.

A Kiss of Shadows (Merry Gentry, #1) A Kiss of Shadows

A Caress of Twilight (Merry Gentry, #2) A Caress of Twilight

Seduced by Moonlight (Merry Gentry, #3) Seduced by Moonlight

A Stroke of Midnight (Merry Gentry, #4) A Stroke of Midnight

Mistral's Kiss (Merry Gentry, #5) Mistral’s Kiss

A Lick of Frost (Merry Gentry, #6) A Lick of Frost

Swallowing Darkness (Merry Gentry, #7) Swallowing Darkness

Divine Misdemeanors (Merry Gentry, #8) Divine Misdemeanors

A Shiver of Light (Merry Gentry #9) A Shiver of Light

******Beware of Spoilers Ahead!!******

I’ve tried my best to avoid spoilers but some points may appear as spoilers.

In the first book, Merry is called back to the Unseelie court and pitted against her cousin Cel in a race for the throne. Her aunt decrees that whichever of them can produce an heir first becomes the next ruler. Hence the multiple suitors Merry acquires. The fae have gone into decline in recent years, unable to produce offspring, slowly dying and losing their magical heritage. Since Merry is part mortal she is more fertile than her faerie kin. Some believe she will save the race and some believe her mortality will infect the race and push them closer to death. Many attempts are made on her life but she ultimately achieves her goals.

In true Laurell K. Hamilton style, the books have a lot of action and a lot of sex. Later books focus mainly on sex and have little story progression. The series starts well with the first four or so books but it seems to slow down then. There are some great scenes in later books but there is too much focus on sexual encounters, stunting the story. The last three or four books I found especially disappointing with the final book feeling like something Hamilton had been forced to write or just had no enthusiasm for. They begin to feel like books written solely for sex with a few plot points thrown in to make it seem like there’s a story. A bit like porn.

Having said that, I really like the series and would count it among my favourites but it is likely to lose that place if the next book (if there is one) follows the same path as A Shiver of Light.

All of the books mentioned are available from Book Depository with free worldwide shipping.

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