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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant, unputdownable read.
This is the first book by the author I've read. I intend to get as many more as possible. It's a thriller, part fantasy, but grounded in the world as we know it. It is extremely well plotted, in fact it has so many sub-plots going on you occassionally have to turn back a page, to make sure you haven't missed something. It also explores sex and sexuality and its...
Published on 21 Oct 2001 by Ms. P. Hall

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fairy porn
My Nan bought me this book, believing it to be a story about happy, helpful little fairies flitting from flower to flower - oh, how wrong she was! On reading the blurb, I realised her mistake but thought I might as well read it even though it isn't the type of book I would usually go for. And to tell you the truth, it isn't that bad. Yes, the characters are a bit...
Published on 24 Jun 2006 by Ms. H. Hughes

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definately worth investing the time to read, 4 Dec 2009
Bobby Dazzler (Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire) - See all my reviews
I found "A Kiss of Shadows" the most exhilarating and liberating book I'd read in a long time. LKH's themes and references are complex and sophisticated, and the use of the word "ribald" was an excellent choice by one professional reviewer.

Meredith Gentry is compassionate and warm, clever and vulnerable. This is a quest story, with the narrator seeking to survive politics and find her life path.

As LKH has said several times in print: "There isn't that much sex in this book."

She is correct. But unsophisticated readers will only notice the erotic elements. (And these are really, really, good.) They might miss the fascinating magic that occurs (entirely different from the Anitaverse), the strong family and loyalty bonds that fill Merry's life, the wit, the Celtic lore that has played out with the Fey living in the USA, the sense of the team at the Grey Detective Agency in LA, the range of diverse characters (not all male) at the Unseelie Court and throughout the novel, plus the Queen of Air and Darkness who is terrifying.

This is an adult book. I mean, it is for anyone who brings their mature, inquiring mind to a novel of speculative fiction. What if everyone around you is immortal? How do they spend eternity? And how precious is life to you (Meredith) as a mortal in their midst?

What would it mean for you if physical pleasure, the life of the senses, a bond with nature, and a search for a mate to awaken your personal magic and link to your fertility were key in your life as a woman?

I highly recommend this book. It is extremely unusual.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars yawn, 13 Nov 2003
By A Customer
Lets start on a good point,the world building displayed by LKH is both this and the anita Blake series is amazing and shows a lot of imagination, its fantastic. However the problem is that the characters seem to get in the way. All through the book I was desperate to know more about the world of kiss of shadow, but instead we are forced to to tag along with (the naration is first person) Merry Gentry, a steryotipical 'strong female character' which gets borring very quickly. She's practically identical to Anita Blake in personaluty, except she lacks the sence of morals that Anita had at the begining of her series.
Every male character she meets wants to have sex with her, every female is either bitchy or jealous. She is what is known as a 'Mary sue' or writer self insert character in the world of internet fanfiction.
It becomes tirring quite quickly. Everytime there something interesting is about to happen, we are side tracked so merry can do something sexy or seductive, it's annoying! And the sex scenes are terrible, annoying rather than erotic.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Being a Faerie Princess is not all its cracked up to be..., 23 Nov 2002
By A Customer
I wonder what I would have thought of "A Kiss of Shadows" if I had not read Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake novels. Of course, for anybody who has read any of the ten novels about the Vampire Hunter and her complicated love life the similarities are blatantly obvious. We are presented again with a diminutive young woman with a strong sense of personal honor who discovers she has come into powers she never suspected she had, told in first person by our heroine so we always know everything she is thinking, including why she selects her clothing and how she hides her weapons. So Hamilton's fans will surely have the feeling they have been here before, and will be denied the perspective of fresh eyes when reading this first novel in Hamilton's new series (the next of which appears in March 2002).
This time Hamilton's heroine is an insider to the tumultuous political intrigue, third in line to the throne of her people. The Princess Meredith NicEssus fled from the courts of Faeire, knowing that because of her mortality she would not survive another duel as she was unwillingly drawn into a power struggle over the question of succession. For three years she has lived among the humans, working as Merry Gentry for the Grey Detective Agency ("Supernatural Problems, Magical Solutions"), while sighting of the missing elfin princess became as popular as Elvis sightings in the tabloid press. Once again we are presented with a world "in media res," where the back-story on the heroine's circumstances are doled out during the narrative (along with some interesting references to what the fey did to Eva Braun with Hitler ticked them off). We assume this is the same alternative reality as the Anita Blake books since she has encountered the fey. But while part of "A Kiss of Shadows" takes place in the St. Louis area, there is never any mention of vampires, werewolves or animators. Early in the novel Meredith is "outted" by circumstances, and is stunned to find that things have changed at the high court and that apparently her aunt, the Queen of the Air and Darkness, no longer wants her dead. Or is this simply intrigue wrapped up in intrigue after intrigue?
Yes, the sexuality of these characters is prominent throughout the novel, as has increasingly been the case in the Anita Blake novels, although here it is tempered somewhat by the idea that sex has political implications to the fey. Certainly Princess Meredith embraces the joys of sex, as well as the prices it demands at times, more willingly than Anita has for the most part. But then Hamilton, who has created some of the most intense scenes in contemporary horror literature, has been writing for mature readers almost from the start. There is growing concern about the sex in her books, but the violence has almost always been more excessive and ultimately more compelling. The main difference between this and the Anita Blake books is that here there is a definite story arc, having to do with whether Princess Meredith will be able to stop her cousin, Prince Cel, from inheriting the throne. As the mists of uncertainty are swept away, what is revealed is a much more black and white world, where the battle lines are clearly drawn. Certainly there are a lot of recognizable features to this new beginning, but Hamilton has always been an engaging writer and I will be interested to see what happens next.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laurell K. Hamilton's latest series, 16 Mar 2004
kat (Cranebrook, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
Laurell K. Hamilton has taken a complete step away from the vampire, wereanimal etc. world and created a new series about the Sidhe (otherwise known as Fairies). Now stop what you you're thinking and listen. She has turned the idea of harmless little pixies into sensual and thrilling characters that leap of the page.
This book covers so many different genres that it is hard to classify. It is funny, erotic, suspenseful, exciting, emotional etc. but overall it's hard to put down.Once you read it, you get addicted to the theme until you're craving it more than air.
This is a must read and I urge everyone to give it a go!!!!
I can't wait for the next books in this series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC!!!!!, 1 April 2002
By A Customer
Ok what do I say. who ever put this down as a one star book is crazy. the chracters jump off the page and the story is gripping. Theres no pauses, its all action, i couldn't put it down. The sex scenes are well written, not like porn, they have a real feeling to them and they arn't perverted. I would give this more stars if I could!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really exciting., 21 May 2013
Pyewacket "czarnowice" (UK) - See all my reviews
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I came across this series by accident. I just typed 'The Gentry' into my Kindle and up popped these 4 books. It was a delight to find more books about the Seelie and Unseelie Courts.

Merry or Meredith is in hiding from the Unseelie Queen Andais after running away from the Court where she had been subjected to countless assassinations. She is also a Sidhe Princess in her own right.

She is now working as a sort of P.I. When two women come into the office to say they had both been abused by the same man...and violently too, something starts to worry Merry. The women by the way are the mans Wife and his Mistress who have banded together to get him caught out.

Merry gets herself wired up and then goes to meet the man. She soons finds herself in his bedroom where he produces a bottle of oil...........this is no ordinary oil, it is magical oil and has been pinched from The Queen herself. Soon Merry is at the mans mercy and it is only when she looks into a mirror above the bed that she sees a phantom figure. She yells for help and suddenly a spider drops onto the man then more and more of them appear. Eventually all that is left of him is a pulped mess. Merry is still covered with the magical oil so anyone that touches her will want to bed her. She must get the oil off before the consequences become dire. Someone evidently wants Merry very dead.

She also comes into her powers when the hags attack her and she turns one of them inside out......she can't die so if Merry didn't hack her to death she would be forever trapped inside out......Merry finally hacks what is left of the hag to death.

When she gets an invitation to the Unseelie Court, she is first frightened then eager to find out what Andais wants from her.
She is incredibly surprised when the Queen tells her what it is she will do if Merry gets pregnant by one of the Court Ravens or Body Guards. Up until this point, all the Ravens have been under a Geas to not have sex with anyone. Now the Geas is lifted but only Merry can sleep with the Ravens or Body Guards. The race is now on to see who can produce an heir first, Andais's son Cel or Merry herself. She also is having to dodge Court assassins all the time with the help of 'The Queen's Darkness' and others of his kind.

This certainly isn't a children's book as there is sex in abundance.........if Merry was human I'd say she was a tart but as she is part of the Unseelie then sleeping with loads of men doesn't qualify her for that title. She has also made a treaty with the Goblins and now has little Keelin to look after as well.

Well written and thoroughly enjoyable. I have just bought book 2.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 26 Oct 2010
I think this is either a book you love, or a book you hate. There's not much of an in-between. Personally, I rather enjoy this book and have reread it a few times - generally once a year, before I read the newest book in the Merry series.
The basic concept is that Merry Gentry is a faerie princess living in voluntary exile in Los Angeles, working as a private detective. She'd fled the royal courts after she realized the assassination attempts would never stop - most of the sidhe do not welcome Merry because she is half human, and thus half mortal. Her exile is broken when her aunt, Queen Andais sends for Merry - she wants to recognize her niece as heir to the throne at last. But in the Unseelie court, politics are deadly, and just treading water takes a tremendous amount of work. And Andais's offer, like much that occurs at the courts, is not what it seems...
I think the biggest complaint about Hamilton's writing is the amount of sex included in her works. However this first volume is pretty slim in the erotic aspect. I enjoy the Merry series because of the world Hamilton has created - the updating of old stories and legends, the unique characters of the sidhe, the intriguing court politics. Even the human world is aware of the fey and magic; police departments have witches on staff, reporters can sense magic and use it on the trail of stories, etc. I don't care for erotica, and tend to skip past those sections, but I've read where Hamilton says she uses a lot of it for character development and that I can see.
I really, really enjoy many of the characters in Merry's world. Doyle, the Darkness, a sidhe who was the queen's left-hand enforcer - a man who is stern, scary, and yet vulnerable. Barinthus, a former god with the nickname "Queen-maker." Rhys, one of the few sidhe to enjoy the modern world, with a love for Bogart and film noire. Queen Andais, a rather terrifying, sadistic monarch. And Kitto, who's quickly becoming my favorite - a goblin-sidhe crossbred who's agoraphobic and short in stature, a little child who's two thousand years old. And the sidhe...a race much like elves, with glowing skin and beautiful eyes. Many of the sidhe have tricolored eyes, with three bands of color; the sidhe descriptions make for some very gorgeous characters.
All in all, I think it's a pretty damn good story. I love the amount of detail and thought Hamilton puts into her world and its characters. I like how she reveals parts of sidhe history as the book unravels, as well as drops hints about Merry's past. Even though I have read it before, I'm always saying to myself "just one more page" as I go through it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, 10 Jan 2010
Ms. K. Urry "kimmy" (Scunthorpe, UK) - See all my reviews
Absolutely loved this book, i'd had laurell hamilton recommended to me before in the form of the anita blake novels, but i came across this book whilst searching on amazon for something new. So i decided to order it and left it a few months before i even picked it up, needless to say i couldn't put it down and had finished it within a week. Was pretty gutted when i came to the end of it as i didn't realise it was a series so thought i'd check amazon to see if there were anymore. Was so excited when saw there were lots of meredith novels and have now ordered the rest!

It's a brilliant, saucy book that any paranormal thriller book lover will extremely enjoy. Opens a whole new world in the fantasy genre. Literally cannot wait for the next books to arrive!
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Painful "Kiss", 29 Dec 2005
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
Laurell K. Hamilton branches out from her bestselling Anita Blake novels with a new, fae-oriented series. She really shouldn't have bothered. While "Kiss of Shadows" starts off dark and intriguing, the plot rapidly degenerates into a NC-17 fantasy without much more than sweaty gyrations to recommend it.

Part-mortal Princess Meredith NicEssus -- undercover as Merry Gentry -- is a P.I. in Los Angeles, which apparently is swarming with fey and fey-wannabes. Keeping her identity a secret is vital, since she knows the dangers that would follow being uncovered. But while investigating a supernatural date-raper (and falling prey to him) Merry's identity leaks out.

Before you can say "bonk 'em all," she is given an ultimatum by her aunt, the queen of the Unseelie Court: she and her evil cousin Cel are both going to try to have a baby. The one who succeeds will be the next ruler -- the other is toast. Merry is assigned a harem of fae men, all of whom want her as much as she wants them. Physically, anyway.

Here's a warning: "Kiss of Shadows" has a lot of sex. A LOT of sex. A sufficient amount that, among other things, Merry hops in the happy sack with any guy lucky enough to meet her. Oh, and she has a male harem. Sound like an adult movie? Well, it pretty much is -- lots of excuses to have sex, including an enjoyable rape (did a woman really write this book?) and Merry nearly being molested by the entire L.A.P.D. And that's before it gets REALLY raunchy.

For anyone hoping for more than soft-porn, the book is lacking. It starts off strong, with a battered woman and a magical want ad, and Merry going undercover to lure out the magic-sucking guy involved. But once she bonks her selkie boyfriend, the plot goes down the tubes. What is worse, the sex obscures the mysterious cultures and subcultures of the fey and sidhe -- Hamilton hints at interesting cultures, rituals and different races, but seems to lose interest in the idea.

Without a developed backdrop, the actual plot feels rushed and half-finished. Hamilton also could use a better editor, since her writing quickly becomes repetitive -- lots of hair, unusual eye color, strange powers. All the men are madly attractive, chiseled, and devoid of any individual personality. All the women are beautiful, usually dainty.

Merry isn't terribly interesting -- she starts off as a moderately entertaining P.I. with a barbed sense of humor. Then it just sort of fades away. Queen Andais is also moderately interesting, as the villain of the piece. Merry's harem guys have paint-by-numbers personalities, and after the initial introductions they just become a heap of interchangeable sexy bodies.

Buried somewhere in "Kiss of Shadows" is a really good novella, but it's choked by a poorly thought-out soft-porn movie. Hamilton had the right idea, but the execution is a painful "Kiss."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kiss of Shadows, 6 Nov 2008
Kiss of Shadows is the first book in an amazing series, this is the opening book, and one that you cant put down. this is where merry starts her journey. Shes a PA, then is attacked and taken back to the uncellie court. where her aunt gives her the wager, past the death attemps by cel she makes it to fight another day! But can she become the Queen?
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A Kiss of Shadows (Meredith Gentry Novels)
A Kiss of Shadows (Meredith Gentry Novels) by Laurell K. Hamilton (Hardcover - Oct 2000)
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