A KISS OF SHADOWS by Laurell K.  Hamilton 
Merry Gentry, No. 1
Ballantine books, 2000
ISBN: 0881924172 - Paperback
Paranormal - Fantasy

Reviewed by Amanda Killgore, MyShelf.com
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This new series starts with a bang. Merry Gentry is really a self exiled half human fairy princess who is hiding in the human world because she committed the unpardonable sin of being mortal and could no longer defend herself in the duels she was constantly facing. She has worked as a detective for the past three years with no one, not even her lover, realizing that she is one of the Sidhe.  All that falls apart when the Unseelie court from which she fled has a part in a routine case and her cover is blown from a bit of magic getting on her, overriding her disguise and showing her to be the renegade princess.

Merry's aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, sends agents after her; but not to kill her, to bring her home. Though suspicious, Merry agrees, mostly because she knows it would be useless not to.  She is in a better position to fight, however. The spell that ruined her disguise also seemed to unlock powers she did not know she had, including the powerful hand of flesh that can inflict eternal torment on even another fey.  The

Queen tells Meredith that she will lift the gaes that she placed upon the palace guard against having sex of any kind unless it is with the queen, for Merry alone. Merry has three years to conceive a child, as does the crown prince. Whoever does so first, the queen will abdicate in their favor.  Merry faces numerous attacks, and it is revealed that her enemy is none but the prince. The queen is forced to punish her son terribly, creating an even more dangerous foe for Merry to face in the rest of the series.

I was prepared to not really enjoy this book since it was not Anita Blake. However, Merry is not a flimsy fairy princess. She is smart, sassy, and thoroughly enjoyable. This series promises to be even better than Anita with more complexities and intrigues. She has even more virile men than Anita as a bonus for the ladies reading. I rate it five stars, but could go even higher if the scale allowed it.

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