Saturday, November 8, 2008

Review – “Swallowing Darkness” by Laurell K. Hamilton

I am Meredith, princess of faerie, wielder of the hands of Flesh and Blood, and at long last, I am with child -- twins, fathered by my royal guard. Though my uncle, Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, claims that he is the true father since he abducted me from my home, betrayed, and defiled me. And now he has branded my guards as a threat to my unborn children.

Bearing an heir has placed me halfway to my aunt’s throne, that much closer to my reign over the Unseelie Court -- and well ahead of her son, my cousin Cel, in this race. Now I must stay alive to see my children born and claim my place as queen.

But not all in faerie are pleased with the news, and conspirators from every court in the realm plot against me and mine. They seek to strip my guards, my lovers, from me by poisoned word or cold steel. But I still have supporters, and even friends, among the goblins and the sluagh, who will stand by me.

I am Meredith Nic Essus, and those who would defy and destroy me are destined to pay a terrible price -- for I am truly my father’s daughter. To protect what is mine, I will sacrifice anything–even if it means waging a great battle against my darkest enemies and making the most momentous decision ever made as princess of faerie.

Swallowing Darkness is the seventh chapter in the ongoing story of Princes Meredith Gentry of the Unseelie Court. Each novel in this series spans barely more than a day in Merry’s life and each is a continuation from the previous book, so the series is best read in order.

If one were to pick an over-riding theme for Merry’s actions and the events in Swallowing Darkness it would be the oath issued in the movie Network – “I’m as mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore!” In fact you might say that Merry is channelling a little bit of Anita Blake this time around as she decides to get tough and protect what is hers - two of Anita’s strongest character traits.

Merry comes to realize that she has enemies everywhere, not just Taranis and Cel and his cronies but previously unsuspected enemies in both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Swallowing Darkness is filled with conflict and confrontation as Merry takes the fight directly to the conspirators. This is a new emboldened Merry and a refreshing evolution for her character.

Although much attention is placed on the fathers of her twins who will be her future Kings, special attention is paid to Sholto, the Wild Hunt and the Sluagh. Acting as a conduit for the Goddess, Merry restores magic and weapons of great power thought lost to the Sluagh kingdom. The strength and role of the Sluagh is elevated to rival the power of the Seelie courts. You will be surprised with Merry’s new role in the kingdom as well.

Swallowing Darkness does an admirable job of resolving a number of major and minor outstanding story arcs from previous books. The story does contain Hamilton’s trademark erotica scenes, but they are entirely fitting and in fact somewhat reserved compared to previous books.

Of all the recent Meredith Gentry books, Swallowing Darkness concludes with the most satisfying ending with the fewest cliffhangers. It establishes an almost clean slate for Merry’s next adventure. Of course there is the whole thread of Merry’s pregnancy to be told, but the possibilities are left wide open. Swallowing Darkness is one of the strongest installments of the Meredith Gentry series and fans of Laurell K. Hamilton will not be disappointed.


Read an excerpt.

Random House Publishing Group
Published: November 2008
ISBN #: 9780345495938
Pages: 365

Meredith Gentry Series

  1. A Kiss of Shadows (2000)
  2. A Caress of Twilight (2002)
  3. Seduced by Moonlight (2004)
  4. A Stroke of Midnight (2005)
  5. Mistral's Kiss (2006)
  6. A Lick of Frost (2007)


  1. I'm going to have to hack your site and figure out how you get those cool box thingies. I theoretically know how, but it would be so much easier to rip you off. It would be even easier if you would send me your source. :)

  2. Loved the review, and I agree that this installment has the least 'cliff-hanger' ending. It sure did answer some questions. :)

  3. Thanks Kimberley. LKH's writing is what got me interested in paranormals to begin with so I always look forward to her books.

  4. Hey Tia I am going to email you some code. Happy to help out. Really all do is make a centred table in Dreamwaver, type in my details and then cut and paste everything between the TABLE codes.

  5. Oh I'm SO jealous. I haven't been able to buy it just yet. I love LKH's books but I think this series is my favorite.

  6. For some authors I can't wait for the paperback so I spring for the hardcover. LKH is one of them.

  7. hmm, not tried any of this series, but I became so disillusioned with the anita blake books as anita's character became eroded under all those sex scenes that i'm dubious about investing in another LKH series. I did quite like Nightseer which I read before the anita books tho.

  8. Hagelrat there are many facets to the Meredith Gentry series that are similar to later Anita Blake. So it might not be the best choice. But LKH still remains quite creative and these tales of Faerie have some very good dark edges. The erotica quotient really isn't a whole lot different from a lot of other paranormals that don't receive half the criticism LKH does. She also seems to have toned it down quite a bit for this book. One of these days I will have to read Nightseer as a lot of people keep recommending it.

  9. This review is heartening, as it was LKH that introduced me to the genre, but her appeal has waned for me the past couple of years. The only problem . . . I will have to read A Lick of Frost first . . .

  10. Well Gwen LKH is not completely back to her old form yet but she is on the road to recovery. The sex to plot ratio is drastically reduced. I actually have fairly high expectations for the next Anita book Skin Trade.

  11. This was one GOOD book by LKH. Suffice it to say that I didn't buy the previous two, but I'm certainly going to be buying this one and am re-reading the series now.

  12. Hi Elena glad you liked it too. Thanks for dropping in.


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