Mistral’s Kiss: a novel

By Laurell K. Hamilton

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Ballantine Books, 2007

Genre: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy,  paranormal romance, romantic suspense, horror, mystery, occult fiction, erotic fiction

Series: Meredith Gentry series; 5

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 326 – includes an excerpt from the next series novel A Lick of Frost. Mistral’s Kiss ends at 302.

Setting: The Dead Gardens of both the Unseelie and Sluagh courts; outside the Mounds of Cahokia.

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Princess Meredith dreams of The Consort and awakens to find another relic which has crossed from The Otherworld into hers.  The relic is a cup which belongs to Abeloec, who lost his powers as a cup bearer ages ago.  When Meredith and Abeloec begin the process of restoring Abe’s powers through sex, a few things happen at once.  First, Mistral, Queen Andais’ Captain of Guard, comes to the princess seeking her help, but quickly become engulfed by the sexual magic.  Next, the sithen relocates Merry and her men to the Dead Gardens, buried deep within the mound.  And finally, the queen comes looking for her captain, whom she finds entangled with her niece.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Fairly fast pace, but a bit more erratic than the previous book.  Interrupted sex scenes slow down the overall pacing, but offer interesting plot twists.  The pace increases dramatically in the last quarter of the book.

Characterization: Told in first person through Merry’s eyes.  As more of Merry’s men regain old powers, they develop new attitudes and skills, which have both positive and negative impacts on Merry.

Frame: Dark and primal – “a terrible beauty”.  Most of the story takes place in the Dead Gardens of both the Unseelie and Sluagh courts – dark, dry, and dead places of forgotten magic.

Story line: An entertaining story which diverts from the course set by the previous book.  Contains lots of steamy sex scenes, political intrigue, and an action packed ending.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Gentry, Meredith (Fictitious character) — Fiction.

Women private investigators — Fiction.

Supernatural — Fiction.

Fairies — Fiction.

ISBN: 0345443616 (pbk.) 9780345443618 (pbk.)

Similar authors: (From NoveList) Charlane Harris, Alan F. Troop, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jim Butcher

Personal notes: I’m wondering if questions from the previous book – like who killed the human and demi fey – will ever be answered, or if they will just be forgotten as the story morphs along the way.  And when is Merry ever going to tell the queen about the chalice?

[Annotated 4/26/09]

Other (themes, diversity): Diversity – female leaders.

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