Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Shiver of Light by Laurel K. Hamilton

 We rejoin Merry and her band of merry faerie men at the birth of her - Surprise! - triplets. As she catalogs the possible fathers of her babes in post-partum musings, we get the obligatory over the top descriptions of her hunky paramours, who slowly morph, as the novel develops into sexy, hunky perfect daddies. Hamilton does an interesting thing when she twists (in a good way) the fascination all of us seem to have with babies, especially newborns, into something a bit more magical - the ability of daughter Briulen (sp?) to actually project a glamour that fascinates all around her. I had an idea, at this point, that perhaps this glamour would in some way be helpful or responsible, by the time the novel concludes, for neutralizing the evil antagonists, Merry's Aunt Andais and Uncle Taranis. Time will tell whether I'm correct.

And therein lies one of the main plot devices in the book - how Merry and her loyalists will deal with the hostility of the Queen and King of the fae and those of their courts who fear her mortality infecting them. Merry's alliance with the goblin king, Kurag, is also about to run out, and her post-partum condition leaves her in no shape to wield her usual sexual powers to persuade, coerce, and enspell him, or the ambitious brothers, Ash and Holly, who are stirring up trouble of their own in that kingdom. There's also a sub-plot dealing with Maeve's difficulties with her young son, who seems to bond more easily with Merry, her men, and her babies than with his birth mother.

Another subplot is the story of how Bryluen, Merry's newborn daughter, is able to cast a glamour upon anyone who gazes at her face. This makes it difficult to use human nannies to care for her, as they are more easily ensorcelled, and even her fae babysitters can be caught by her spell. It is unusual for one so young to manifest a glamour this powerful, and Merry worries about it quite a bit. It's a fun twist on the baby fever that attacks those of us who have borne our own children, or have fallen deeply in love with our grandchildren - easy to lose yourself in the quietness of their breathing or the smell of their hair.

There are pages and pages "lost" to more of Hamilton's glowing descriptions of Merry's harem of men. We've really seen it all before, but I have never checked to be certain she hasn't just recycled previous descriptions from the other eight books - might be a project for my imaginary intern.

Some problems are solved, and a new tragedy or two introduced, fresh allies gained, and old enemies neutralized, but the forward momentum seems molasses slow to me. It grows more and more difficult to justify the expense of the new volumes in this series, I'm afraid.

No comments: