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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly better than expected!
Well I've been a fan of Merry from the start and while Anita Blake seems to have gone haywire Merry got lost in faerie politics. The reviews for this are mixed, and thats fair. There are still the usual confusing plots and alliances and I must admit that as usual I'd forgotten who some characters were! However the main storyline running through this is Merry's escape...
Published on 18 Dec. 2008 by Read Me

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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars poorly written.
Laurell K Hamilton's books have been getting steadily worse for a long long time. I'm still reading in the hopes that she'll start to show some of what used to make her so enjoyable again. The early Anita Blake books were quite entertaining and when the Merry Gentry series started I really enjoyed the first few books too. Sadly things started to slide when the books lost...
Published on 9 Nov. 2008 by Amazon Customer


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly better than expected!, 18 Dec. 2008
By 
Read Me (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
Well I've been a fan of Merry from the start and while Anita Blake seems to have gone haywire Merry got lost in faerie politics. The reviews for this are mixed, and thats fair. There are still the usual confusing plots and alliances and I must admit that as usual I'd forgotten who some characters were! However the main storyline running through this is Merry's escape to LA away from the lands of faerie and the Seelie and Unseelie Courts with their plots and their tricks.
Now that Merry is pregnant with twins you expect things to get sorted out, and they pretty much do. She becomes Queen of the Slaugh with Sholto, regains the old weapons of power from the Goddess and even faces her ultimate foe; cousin Cel. There is more blood and guts than sex in this latest book, and thats a good thing as the plot seems to move along for a change.
If you haven't lost complete faith in the series then give this a try, my only hope is that this is the final Merry book as this seems to end things quite nicely. I can't imagine what would come after this and its sure to degenerate back into a trashy soft porn series again.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars poorly written., 9 Nov. 2008
Laurell K Hamilton's books have been getting steadily worse for a long long time. I'm still reading in the hopes that she'll start to show some of what used to make her so enjoyable again. The early Anita Blake books were quite entertaining and when the Merry Gentry series started I really enjoyed the first few books too. Sadly things started to slide when the books lost all plot and descended into almost constant sex scenes that spanned the whole entire book. I enjoy sex in books but not to the exclusion of plot. This book can't be tarred with that reason for being bad however as the sex is kept to a minimum - well as minimum as LKH seems to be able to keep it these days anyway and there is a storyline of sorts.

To summarise the plot, the book starts directly after the events of A Lick of Frost (Meredith Gentry 6) with Merry in hospital after being raped by her Uncle Tarranis (Merry shows almost no signs of any trauma - very strange) then a plot to kill Merry's guards begins to unfurl and Merry calls up te wild hunt in revenge to go chassing after the plotters. And that's about it as far as plot goes, Merry reacting to all that the seelie and unseelie and the sluagh and the goblins can throw at her while gaining magical power ups from the Goddess. There is a plot, even if it's mostly the tying up of old threads and dealing with random people that get in her way.

The real problem I found was her repetitive and silly descriptions that read as if they had been lifted directly from one book to the next. On more than one occasion I laughed out loud they were so bad - it sort of spoils the mood of the story when the terrible prose distracts you from the plot. Everything is all sparkly and moonlight lit with detailed pointless descriptions of hair and clothes and rose petals raining from the sky.

I enjoyed the early Merry Gentry novels and I suppose that this book could have seen an end of the series as many of the loose ends from previous books have been tied off. Her father's killer has been unmasked and her enemies defeated for the most part. Unfortunately I don't think that this will be the case and more stories will be spun out with Merry doing more sparkly, magical, and wonderful things with new powers given conveniently by the Goddess just in time and with conversations that start in the middle of the action and just drag on and on to showcase Merry's wonderfullness. I think LKH need to take a break from writing for a while not churn out a Merry and an Anita book every year. She needs to go back and re-read all her books and rediscover her characters for herself and maybe things might improve. I'm still reading in hopes they do but i'm not sure how much longer I will be.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than previous books but not quite there, 27 Jan. 2009
Having read all the books in the Merry series and all but the last book in the Anita book (which I had to stop reading after about ten chapters, less end up hurling it at the wall in disgust) I was reluctant to read this one. Over time LKH has managed to push plot to the back in favour of scene after scene of sex scenes that even a cororsionist would have difficulty with.

But with christmas money in hand and the book at half price, i bit the bullet and must admit I was surprised by this book.

True there is repitions of descriptions of skin eyes etc, but at last we have a bit of a plot and we now know at what lengths MErry's remaining family will go in order to manipulate Merry into doing what they ask.

The scene with Merry's Gran was particularly well thought out, for you don't know if what is happening is due to Faerie reawakening or if this spritley brownie truelly is unhappy with MErry's partner(s). Needless to say the fallout is immense and how LKH deals with Merry's rage is brilliant.

Although this is on the right path there is still much wrong with this book and I especially was disheartened to find a character we thought was gone, to be brought back at the end.

Other than that. NOt a bad book
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise, 12 Jan. 2009
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I was growing every more despondent with Laurell K Hamilton. Her Anita Blake books were getting steadily more dire and Merry Gentry may as well be filed under porn as anything else

I was delighted to pick up this book and find not only no sex, but a fast paced, hectic and actually exciting and absorbing read.

Sometimes it did feel a little pulled in many directions and like she was trying to cram everything between the pages - but it managed it well. It was gripping in a way Laurell has not been able to manage for a long time and was literally a book I couldn't put down until it (and the fast paced, blood fizzing action) was finished.

Maybe I'm just excessively delighted at the improvement from the downward slide, but it's a great turnaround
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Swallowing Darkness has Merry stepping up, 14 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Swallowing Darkness: Urban Fantasy (Merry Gentry 7) (Paperback)
At the end of A Lick of Frost, Princess Meredith NicEssus finally learned that she was pregnant; she was raped by her uncle, the King of Light and Illusion; and she lost one of the most precious of her lovers, her Killing Frost, when he sacrificed himself so that she could become queen. Now that she's pregnant, her aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, should by all rights be keeping her promise to the princess to step down and let Merry become queen of the Unseelie. She also has to deal with the aftermath of being sexually assaulted by her uncle, who demands her return to his court. And finally, she has to cope with the gift of the wild magic that signals the revitalization of faerie and the return of the Goddess, but uses Merry as its conduit.
Swallowing Darkness has Merry stepping up and she's no longer behaving not in the wishy-washy manner she's behaved in the earlier books. In fact, Merry begins acting like the monarch she was bred to be, and those around her start to take notice. This is a stronger, more dangerous, and infinitely more ruthless Meredith NicEssus--a woman out to protect her throne, her men, and her unborn children. This is not the same spineless girl who ran headstrong into danger when the Nameless was released or when her men were under siege. This is a woman willing to wield her hands of flesh and blood and harm anyone who would do the same to her. In short, this is the queen we've been waiting for.
In fact, Swallowing Darkness is by far the best book in the Meredith Gentry series to date. Quite frankly, when I finished it I felt like I'd been punked. There were some books in this series that were so flat-out awful (Caress of Twilight and Seduced By Moonlight) that I actually didn't remember why I kept reading them in the first place. It seemed like a joke that there could actually be a book in this series that didn't ready like Fey Court Politics for Dummies or one in which Merry didn't spend two thirds of it in bed with any creature who passed her view. No, in Swallowing Darkness, Meredith Gentry is back and she's ready to show the world--Seelie, Unseelie, goblin, human, and anyone else who doubts her power--that she's ready to be queen.
I'll admit that I was one of the primary detractors of this series. I felt like it was going nowhere, but I was helpless to stop myself from reading the next story since I'm someone who finishes what she starts. Laurell K. Hamilton proved me wrong with this book. It's going somewhere. Meredith can and is ready to be queen.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Swallowing tedium, 5 Nov. 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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For her last few books, Laurell K. Hamilton has been toning down the sexual content in favor of what can be loosely termed "plot."

Well, turns out there are far worse things than endless sparkly-magical sex scenes. After the shattering cliffhanger ending of the previous book, the seventh Merry Gentry book "Swallowing Darkness" promptly goes on a road tour of Faerie instead of sticking to an actual central plot. It feels like Hamilton has gone as far as she can, and is flailing around instead of getting out of the water.

In the aftermath of being raped by her uncle, Merry is recovering in the hospital... and despite all the moping about how doctors "can't undo the damage," she gets over the rape by cuddling her favorite boytoy.

After ordering her various fey boytoys not to attack Taranis, she receives a visit from her feisty brownie grandma. Unfortunately there's a malign influence warping Gran's thoughts -- with disastrous and fatal results for three people close to Merry. Enraged, she and Sholto summon the Wild Hunt and set out to destroy the conspirators.

But it turns out that the conspiracy goes far further than Merry expected -- and that certain Golden Court sidhe are trying to weed out the stronger boytoys. And of course, divine magical favors just rain down on Merry whenever she sneezes. To keep her entire harem (half of whom I've forgotten) safe, Merry decides to take drastic steps in the human world... but only finds a new conflict with her cousin Cel.

Having knocked up her heroine -- which is supposedly the series' goal -- Laurell K. Hamilton seems to be at a loss for what to do to keep the series going ahead. So we end up with a bunch of vaguely connected crises, punctuated by interludes of Sparkly Magic From Goddess-Merry, magic horsies and lots of sparkly magic roses. It's a little like being alternately choked with flowers and clubbed with a rock.

"Swallowing Darkness" does manage an impressive amount of plot, including the resolution of couple half-forgotten subplots -- and a surprising twist during Merry's stay in the sluagh. Unfortunately most of the plot is just Hamilton slapping in new random problems whenever things get too peaceful. Whoops, somebody's suddenly dying! Eek, a traitor! Yikes, a royal challenge from out of nowhere!

Nor does Hamilton's writing help, since she seems to be bored with her own story when she isn't trying to channel Patricia McKillip's lush prose. Her incredibly stilted, rambling dialogue ("We ride." "To save your Storm Lord." "To save the future of faerie"), repetition (everybody seems to have "moonlight skin") and awkward descriptions ("Gold like the metal of a piece of jewelry") hamper the story even further.

And as with all Hamilton's fairy novels, we get hot pale supernatural men who all worship the heroine, dumb blinkered mortals, lightweight Wiccan theology, Christian-bashing, oral sex worship, and lots of nasty and/or crazy women who simply can't measure up to the heroine. Yes, even a sweet li'l old grandma, who is reviled for daring to hold a grudge against her mother's murderer.

But the book's biggest weakness is Merry Gentry herself. She floats through the book in a cloud of Convenient Magical Powers and occasionally pauses to cold-bloodedly kill people. Everybody is awed by her even if she kills them -- and she declares herself to be a goddess as well. It gets rather nauseating to have a heroine who is such a blatant self-insert.

"Swallowing Darkness" has some shreds of good plot in there, but they're surrounded by jack-in-the-box disasters and a main storyline that is being stretched way too far. And it's not over yet....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better, but crossing my fingers for the next., 10 Aug. 2014
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On the plus side this book was so much better for several reasons. There was a much stronger plot and the plot/sex ratio was more realistic. There were quite of loose ends tied up and situations either resolved or developing in a positive direction. I was somewhat concerned about the repetition in Merry's thoughts it did seem a little forgetful. For either Merry or Laurell I couldn't be certain. There also seemed to be no real signs of trauma over her probable rape, although it could be a reaction to the magical means and or lack of consciousness. I got a little lost in some places but I think that's my issue. On the whole I still love this series but I am a little concerned that the next book may head down hill a little. I would like to see Doyle toughen up again he seems to have lost a little of his darkness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lamentable - don't pay this lazy author's rent by buying it, 15 Jan. 2010
By 
KalteStern (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Woeful exploitative rubbish from a lazy, arrogant writer with zero respect for her readers or her own characters. Loading the first three books in this series into some computer software and leaving it on autopilot, or getting the office tea-boy to ghostwrite it would have been better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, great characters, 17 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Swallowing Darkness: Urban Fantasy (Merry Gentry 7) (Paperback)
I read this book several years ago and have just picked it up again. Great story, great characters, have always loved Laurell Hamilton her gutsy writing and take no prisoners attitude when it comes to sex and violence. A naughty slice of fantasy. Just brilliant.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear, oh dear, 23 Nov. 2009
By 
Netty (Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Swallowing Darkness: Urban Fantasy (Merry Gentry 7) (Paperback)
Why do I keep reading these books?? I remember the glory days of the early Anita Blake books, good strong female character, exciting story lines, just brilliant. I kept reading the Anita Blake stories because I remembered the early books and was hoping for a return to that brilliance - it never happened and I gave up on them. The Merry books are going the same way I'm afraid. Each book just seems to be very formulaic - Merry is given a new power, there is much discussion with her guards as to what it means, she kills someone with it and of course has sex with someone. I have never bothered to add a review before, but I am so disappointed that I just had to, because I know that this author can write good books and just isn't. I don't know if I will bother with the next one..
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Swallowing Darkness: Urban Fantasy (Merry Gentry 7)
Swallowing Darkness: Urban Fantasy (Merry Gentry 7) by Laurell K Hamilton (Paperback - 5 Nov. 2009)
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