Story Title: A Shiver of Light
Author Name: Laurell K. Hamilton
Category: Published Book
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating: Adult. Definitely adult.
Length: 384 pages
Story Summary: I am Princess Meredith NicEssus. Legal name Meredith Gentry, because “Princess” looks so pretentious on a driver’s license. I was the first faerie princess born on American soil, but I wouldn’t be the only one for much longer…
Merry Gentry, ex–private detective, now full-time princess, knew she was descended from fertility goddesses, but when she learned she was about to have triplets, she began to understand what that might mean. Infertility has plagued the high ranks of faerie for centuries. Now nobles of both courts of faerie are coming to court Merry and her men, at their home in exile in the Western Lands of Los Angeles, because they will do anything to have babies of their own.
Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, is a more dangerous problem. He tried to seduce Merry and, failing that, raped her. He’s using the human courts to sue for visitation rights, claiming that one of the babies is his. And though Merry knows she was already pregnant when he took her, she can’t prove it.
To save herself and her babies from Taranis she will use the most dangerous powers in all of faerie: a god of death, a warrior known as the Darkness, the Killing Frost, and a king of nightmares. They are her lovers, and her dearest loves, and they will face down the might of the high courts of faerie—while trying to keep the war from spreading to innocent humans in Los Angeles, who are in danger of becoming collateral damage.
I’m reviewing this book separately from the rest of the Merry Gentry series, both because it’s the long-awaited continuation of the series after a 5-year break, and because it stands apart from the others for me.
This is actually the first of the Merry Gentry books which I feel comfortable recommending. Because Merry has her babies very early in the story, she’s under the typical postpartum moratorium regarding intimate relations. As a result, this is the least smutty of all the books. I think it benefits from that. Although she writes erotica very well, I’ve been anxious to see the story reach a few mile markers, and we finally see that here.
Some of the things I’ve critiqued in the past are still a factor in this book. The protagonists still talk, talk, talk, talk things to death. (As I have mentioned before, I think that’s actually one of the most realistic aspects of the series, as it mimics everything I know of politics and diplomacy: Miles of talking, but often very little ground actually covered.) But the issue of repetition and endless discussions is better handled here. For example, I only counted three occasions (Chapters 6, 11 and 35) in which they had to repeat the phrase, “Where is my Darkness? Bring me my Darkness.” And this time when they brought up the issue about whether or not the sidhe can lie or not, it is quickly addressed and then they move on. The characters don’t all stand around and argue the topic amongst themselves as if it’s a new concept. That’s a great improvement.
More to the point, things actually happen in this book. Decisions are made. Heart-breaking loss is experienced. There are some legitimately deep discussions about issues that are relevant to modern humans: PTSD, trauma, recovery, child-rearing – these things are addressed intelligently and with insight. I liked the specific ways in which the issues with Merry’s soldier friends are brought back into the story. There’s also a very interesting and serious concern about one of the babies which is well written. In some of the previous books, it often felt like the characters would never get to the point in their discussions; or that when they did, their point was not something the rest of us could relate to. Personally, I found that it was much easier to be pulled into this story in which Merry experiences things with which I, as a mom, could empathize.
I’m far more encouraged about the future of this series than I have been in quite awhile. So often, a series can start to drag out after several novels. It feels like this series has been re-energized. I like the direction in which Hamilton is taking the overall story arc and I’m eager to see what happens next. The future for Princess Meredith and her family looks exciting.