• Lafourche Parish Public Library

Katie's Pick: A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

If you’re having trouble adjusting to the new normal, and find it difficult to not leave home, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series is a great escape. With a little horror and mystery, and a lot of steamy romance, this series will whisk you off into an alternate reality, where the Fae live alongside humans in a world much like our own. A Kiss of Shadows is the first book in this captivating series, available to you via our CloudLibrary subscription service.

In A Kiss of Shadows we are introduced to Princess Meredith NicEssus, aka Merry Gentry, a half human, half Sidhe (pronounced shee) Fae princess of the Unseelie court. Being a Fae princess would seem like a dream come true. However, the Unseelie court isn’t made of rainbows and sunshine. It’s a much darker place, filled with nightmarish beings of great and malevolent power. As third in line for the crown, many of the Unseelie Fae believe Merry has too much mixed blood to rule. Her mixed heritage is part human, part royal Sidhe, and part brownie Fae. As the daughter of Besaba, a Seelie court Fae princess, and Essus, brother of Queen Andais, Merry never felt like she belonged anywhere. Both courts liked to remind her she was too other to truly fit in with either court. After one too many attempts on her life, Merry flees the Unseelie court to sunny Los Angeles. There, she poses as Merry Gentry and works for a detective agency that specializes in supernatural cases. In this world, the Fae aren’t just bedtime stories. Humans are well aware of the existence of magic and supernatural beings. After three years of hiding, Merry is found by her aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness. Contrary to Merry’s belief, Queen Andais does not want her dead. Instead, she has a rather unexpected request that only Merry fulfill.

Although the Fae are essentially immortal, their numbers have been declining in the last few hundred years. Queen Andais only produced one heir, Prince Cel, who is, volatile, unstable, and entitled. Queen Andais offers the crown to both Prince Cel and Merry on the condition that the next ruler produces an heir to the Unseelie crown. Unlike humans, pick partners based on love, Fae royalty pick partners based on who they can procreate with. Queen Andais even offers Merry her personal guard as potential lovers. If anyone in her guard can produce a child, then Merry and the father of said child will be named rulers of the Unseelie court. Can Merry survive the wrath of Prince Cel along with the rest of the Unseelie court to claim the throne?

I thoroughly enjoy Laurell K. Hamilton’s writing style and strong female leads. After reading her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series, I decided to dive into her other series. A Kiss of Shadows does not disappoint. Like many fantasy writers, Hamilton has the ability to make the reader feel immersed in a completely believable alternate reality. Her fantasy worlds feel so similar to our world, with the addition of magic and supernatural beings. I especially enjoyed her take on Fae folklore. The Seelie, usually associated with light and goodness, are shown to be just a ruthless and malicious as the Unseelie court. Although the Unseelie Fae have been labeled evil, they are welcoming of outcasts, and shy away from traditional beauty standards. Fans of the Canadian TV show, Lost Girls, as well as nontraditional steamy romance fantasy, A Kiss of Shadows is worth checking out.

Rating: **** Stars (I really liked it)

- Katie, Reference Librarian


GENRE: Erotic Fiction; Urban Fantasy THEME: Court Intrigue (What's better than power? More power. In the halls of the mighty, any cup might be poisoned and any friend may be foe.); Faerie Realm (The land of the immortal fae, other and apart from the human world, is a setting in these tales, though the heroes might not cross over into it.) WRITING STYLE: Compelling CHARACTER: Strong Female TONE: Dramatic; Explicit LOCATION: Los Angeles, California SUBJECT: Fairies; Immortality; Inheritance and Succession; Lust; Magic; Princesses; Seduction; Supernatural; Women Private Investigators