Kiss of Shadows by Laurell Hamilton
Dark Fantasy. Faerys in modern day America. Meridith, a faery princess,
and not happy about it, try's to navigate her way through the court of
her Aunt, the Unseelie Queen of Air and Darkness.
Imagine a world where all
the legends of the fay are real. That sometime during the era of Thomas
Jefferson, they came to America to find a new home in Ohio. Image that
they are strange and bizarre and frequently really good looking.
This is the introductory
book to a new series for Hamilton and she does a good job building a magical
world. The interactions between the fay and the modern world are believable.
The varieties of fay, as always with Hamilton, display an impressive amount
of mythic research.
For those familiar with Hamilton's
Blake series, KoS is not nearly as violent. Which is to say that people
loose limbs, get shot, turned inside out, and compared to the Anita books,
it's really not that hardcore.
Instead, there's a lot of
sex. I mean really. Impressively enough, it all furthers central plot points
in the book and helps develop the fay as creatures of the senses.
Meridith is a little more
used to weird goings on than Anita and well, less inclined shoot people.
However, she kicks plenty of other worldly posterior and is a strong, likable
female main character.
There are quite a few characters,
but Hamilton manages to flesh them all out and make them real.
My personal favorites were
Doyle and Frost. Personal guards to the Queen of Air and Darkness. You
can really believe that they are ages old with motivations not quite like
Doyle, the Queen's Darkness,
is mysterious and enigmatic. A creature of ages old pride and loyalties.
One moment insanely cool. Another moment protesting that of course he knows
what film noir is...it means dark film right? Right?
Frost is a little more straightforward.
It's odd to call a 1000 year + old man who carries weapon on weapon on
weapon as sort of sweet (and well, blush, there is that scene in the bathroom,
did I mention the sex), and yet, he is sweet.
The villains are villainous
and Hamilton lays plenty of groundwork for future plots.
Here's looking forward to
reading them all.
The Curse of Chalion
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Fantasy. Cazaril, a former soldier, returns from foreign imprisonment looking
for peace, but the gods have other plans.
I've been reading Loisí Vorkosigan series just this side of forever.
So, it didn't take much to get me to buy the Curse of Chalion.
And once again she delivered on an excellent, exciting, thinking novel.
Huzah for a new universe. This time in fantasy. I loved the medieval Spanish
influenced background, which felt new, exotic, a wonderful new world to
There was plenty of action (wild horse rides, battles, miracles), court
intrigue, and a touch of romance. And plenty of interesting intrigue to
go around. The central mystery of the story draws you in and won't let
you put the book down.
The main character, Cazaril, is a witty and fully fleshed person. But
heck with Lois, even the villains are fully developed. I love clever heroes.
Characters who are more than thews and a shiny sword.
If you like good fantasy. Fully developed characters. Interesting worlds.
Good writing and you don't mind missing some sleep, read the book.