Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Laurell K. Hamilton returns to telling a good Story with Swallowing the Darkness

Woo Hoo! With this newest installment of the Merry Gentry series, Laurell K. Hamilton decided to go back to telling the story and make the sensual/sexual scenes the support. For too long in both the Merry Gentry and Anita Blake series Ms. Hamilton has made the story take a back seat to the sex. I love sex and I REALLY love good sex scenes in a novel, however the last 6 novels Ms. Hamilton has made the sex the sole vehicle for moving the story forward, not to mention some of the scenes bordered on the gross. After “Blood Noir” I decided not to read any more Anita Blake novels. I didn’t have much better hopes for “Swallowing Darkness”. I am glad to say that I was happily surprised with this most recent Merry Gentry installment.
Merry is now pregnant and her twins have 6 fathers, Doyle, Frost, Mistral, Galen, Sholto and Rhys. (Okay, I must say at this point it makes me think of the Labrador we had when I was a kid and her puppies looked like every dog in the neighborhood.) She has won the race for the Unseelie crown by getting with child before her cousin Cel got someone else enceinte. One would think the story would be finished, they would be thinking wrong. She still has to deal with her Uncle Taranis, king of the Seelie Court, who raped her in Book 6, “A lick of Frost”. She wants to expose him and the Seelie Court as dangerous and not the beautiful people humans think they are. She still has to survive her cousin’s machinations and assignation attempts long enough to give birth and get the crown. All the while she needs to juggle her tough guys’ sensitive feelings about her pregnancy.
From the first page we are dumped into the action and we race through the story like we are all part of the Wild Hunt. Magic flows through and from Merry as the Goddess uses her as the instrument to return real magic back to the Fae. The tragedy of her Grandmother’s murder and near death of her Darkness, Doyle sends Merry into a killing vengeance. She and Sholto become the Wild Hunt to dispense justice to those who conspire to commit these heinous acts. The thing is that what starts out as straight vengeance and survival becomes something more. Isn’t that just the way with Magic? The Goddess has more in store for Merry and she discovers the greatest power and magic lie in her love and connection to her men and their babies. She is life and love and the story transforms from one of darkness and death to one of light and love. Don’t get me wrong this is Laurell K. Hamilton we are talking about. I don’t think she ever gets lighter than a foggy sunrise in San Francisco. The point is I think within all the battling, creepy magical creatures, blood and sex there is a real message. Love makes life worth fighting for, not power, not money. Love is the true force of life.
There were a lot of flaws in this book. Characters who hadn’t been mentioned suddenly appeared in one scene and not mentioned again until the very end. Taranis and Queen Andais , who have been such integral figures in earlier novels are almost cameos in this episode. Poor Kito is left out of the action until the epilogue. There is a lot of jumping around between the dreamworld of the Goddess and the real world of the hospital and outside Fae.
When I got to the end I felt satisfied. I hope she leaves the story there. It has all come full circle.
(Note: After writing this review I visited Laurell’s website and there will be another Merry novel. Damn!)


naida said...

I havent read this author yet, but she is on my TBR list.
This one sounds good, even though there were some flaws.

Mame Burkett said...

Thanks Naida for stopping by. Please let me know what you think when you read her!