Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Swallowing Darkness"

Book One of 2009 100+ Challenge

I just finished Laurell K. Hamilton's "Swallowing Darkness". This is the seventh book in the Meredith Gentry series that follows the life of Princess Meredith NicEssus , a half-human, half-fae would be queen of the Unseelie Court of Faerie. She is pregnant with twins from at least three different fathers. This should give one a good idea of the suspension of reality that occurs throughout this series. Anything and everything can be different because the lands and magics of Faerie itself make it different. Those magics are growing and powers that were thought gone forever are returning through the Princess and her connection to the Goddess.

This installment in the series, and it is an installment, there will be more, shows Meredith making truly royal decisions and coming into her new abilities with a vengenance that is truly a trademark of Hamilton's. Hamilton continues with her colorful descriptions and fantastical imagery of the beings and magics of Faerie to such detail that you can almost believe it is real.

Sex has been a huge part of this series since Princess Meredith comes from a line of fertility gods, but it is considerably less in this book. So much less that the one scene that comes to mind seems almost gratuitous. Characters from a previous book appear suddenly and the scene moves quickly into one of sex. There is precedent and purpose for the actions, but it feels disjointed to me and as if it had been added later on. I could easily see reading the story without that scene.

If you are a fan of this series, this book does a lot to develop Meredith's position and powers, I think you will enjoy that aspect, but it still leaves many things hanging. The end of the book comes suddenly and abruptly. I felt like we were missing a few chapters. If you haven't read these books, I still would recommend them. Hamilton creates a wonderful urban fantasy world that is so visual and real that you can't help but see it in your mind's eye. She has the ability to grab a reader and take them along for a kind of wild ride that is hard to find.

For a taste of the series, visit these links to Laurell K. Hamilton's site where you can read sample chapters:

Kiss of Shadows - chapter one

Caress of Twilight - chapter one

Seduced by Moonlight - chapter one; chapter two

Stroke of Midnight - chapter one

Mistral’s Kiss - chapter one; chapter two

Lick of Frost - chapter one; chapter two

Swallowing Darkness - chapter one

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