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A Shiver of Light (Merry Gentry) by Laurell K. Hamilton
Cover Artist: Getty Images / Thinkstock
Review by Drew Bittner
Berkley Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425255667
Date: 03 June 2014 List Price $27.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Merry Gentry is about to have her babies--but the big surprise is that she'll have not two (as she thought) but three... and who are the fathers? That question will trigger a battle between Merry's rogue Hollywood court and one of the most powerful lords of the Seelie: her uncle, King Taranis.

Laurell K. Hamilton continues the Merry Gentry saga in A Shiver of Light, wherein the American-born faerie princess is up to her eyeballs in political intrigue and danger. Blessed by the Goddess, Merry has demonstrated astounding powers, restoring the fae to their full strength and bringing faerie itself to Earth; this singular ability makes her the most valuable and important faerie alive.

Naturally, others crave that power for themselves. Merry's uncle Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, assaulted her once and now claims that as a result, one of the babies must be his. He sets his lawyers upon Merry but makes more subtle attacks as well, employing a skill nearly nobody remembered he possessed.

At the same time, there is a stir of dissension among Merry's many lovers. Though all know that her Darkness and Killing Frost are uppermost in Merry's affections, none can shake the certainty that being a father is a solid claim upon a kingship. After all, with the faerie folk nearly childless for many decades, the one who restores their fertility is a queen in the making.

It is only when a stark betrayal takes the life of one of her trusted lovers that Merry knows what is at stake. She makes peace with her aunt Andais, Queen of the Unseelie and her mortal enemy, and secures her alliances with the goblins and the sluagh through their rulers, but even the best deal-making is vulnerable to treachery and evil magic.

Despite being surrounded by love and loyalty, in the end, Merry will have to stand alone against her greatest enemy and discover the depths of power she wields. Everything is at risk...including the lives of her three uncanny children, who are already showing strong, irresistible talents. She has to live, if not for herself then for them. But even if she survives, can she find a way to be the mother they need, given the power these newborns wield?

Hamilton's latest Merry Gentry novel will please her many legions of fans, moving the story forward even as Merry comes to terms with being a ruler--and the hard, sometimes heartbreaking decisions and events that come with it. She is an ultimate pragmatist, doing what must be done no matter the cost, and if she seems armored in certainty on the outside, she is consumed with doubt within.

It would be easy to say that the love of her many men, including Darkness and Frost, gives her strength, but that is too easy. This large, complex and many-personed relationship is interactive; they lend each other strength, love and healing (psychological as much as physical) in the way true families do. Hamilton has done a wondrous thing in creating a family that is unconventional upon its surface but exhibits the best of familial love in words and deeds.

As with many ongoing stories, the best approach is to start from the beginning. Merry has evolved far from the private eye she used to be...and her story is far from done.


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