Friday, 21 October 2011

Fairy Noir [Review: A Kiss Of Shadows]

Laurell K. Hamilton's fairy noir heroine Meredith Gentry is an exile from the fairy kingdom, working as a PI under a false identity and a magical disguise. In A Kiss Of Shadows, Gentry investigates a mysterious, fairy-obsessed sadist on behalf of his wife and mistress. What she uncovers, however, leads her on a journey back to the fairy court.

Gentry is both adventuress and seductress: her adventures are A rather than YA, closer in tone to Jacqueline Carey than, say, Stephenie Meyer. The world of supernatural battles and treaties, hidden in plain sight in the mortal realm, reminded me of Sergei Lukyanenko's Night Watch. However the plot is reminiscent of A Midsummer Night's Dream with the jealousies and power-struggles between immortals and their loyal servants, with lesser fey and mortals as pawns. Having said that, Shakespeare* even at his bawdiest would have blushed at some of Gentry's exploits. You have been warned.

I enjoyed this novel: one disappointment was the plot leading straight back to fairyland - the fairy-PI setting is hardly exploited at all. There are more Meredith Gentry novels and I'll report back on these but how about a "Casebook of Meredith Gentry" short story collection?

*Recent research has proven conclusively that Shakespeare's opus was not, in fact, written by Shakespeare but by an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters. My argument stands.

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