Meredith is a half-human, half-faerie princess (as well as former private investigator) and heir apparent to the throne of the Unseelie Court. The only problem is that she will only gain the throne once she has proven herself to be fertile (it has been years since any sidhe have been born, in either court). The current Unseelie queen, Meredith's sadistic, questionably sane aunt, has given Meredith some of her incredibly handsome guards to serve as Meredith's lovers. Whichever of them gets her pregnant will become king. Even though they are all dear to her, she can't help but be terrified by the thought that that she will not end up with the one she truly loves.
I know I say this all the time, but it is crucial to read this series in order. Hamilton does some recapping, but if you haven't read previous books, you will be annoyed and confused.
The book opens with an intriguing situation: the King of the Seelie Court has accused two of Meredith's bodyguards of raping a woman in his court. The odd thing about this is that he has taken her to court in Los Angeles, where Meredith has fled after too many attempts on her life in the faerie realms. The sidhe do not lie - if they are forsworn, they are banished from faerie. Meredith swears one of her guards was with her at the time; King Taranis says otherwise. At the hearing, it quickly becomes clear that there is more to the situation than meets the eye.
I enjoy Laurell Hamilton's books for many reasons. She is a master of suspense - it is so hard to put her books down! Suspense is woven through the books in such a way that even when one plot thread comes to a head, there is something else waiting in the wings that has slowly been building tension in the background...and so on, throughout the course of the novel. Another reason is that she plays with what is commonly considered good and evil so that there is no black and white. What might appear to be horrific on the surface, once examined, turns out to be merely different, another way of thinking, a cultural difference, or something done for a noble reason. The Seelie Court, known for its beauty and glory, is not so wonderful (but it is not all bad, either). The Unseelie Court has its share of horrors, but it is not without its beauty and goodness, too. What matters most is personal choices, why they are made, how they are made, what is lost, what is gained.
The characters, too, are complex and fascinating. With each book Hamilton's characters change and grow; they never have it easy, but it is great fun to root for them. They are certainly worth rooting for! My only complaint about this book is that it was way too short. Past books in the series have easily been double the length of this one, so that was a big disappointment. Now I'm stuck waiting for the next book in the series. Sigh.
Books in the Meredith Gentry series:
1. A Kiss of Shadows
2. A Caress of Twilight
3. Seduced by Moonlight
4. A Stroke of Midnight
5. Mistral's Kiss
6. A Lick of Frost
7. Swallowing Darkness
8. Divine Misdemeanors
A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton (Ballantine Books, 2007)
Other blog reviews: The Movieholic & Bibliofile's Blog