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    Review of A STROKE OF MIDNIGHT by Laurell K. Hamilton


    Ballantine, April 2005

    Her cousin is imprisoned, but Meredith Gentry's problems are far from over. Her cousin's lackeys continue to attempt to kill her and the Queen, her aunt, is decidedly biased. But Merry has one big advantage--magic is coming back to life. Magical powers that have been asleep, supposedly dead, for centuries are coming back to life--and Merry appears to be the catalyst. When a fey cook and a human reporter are murdered, Merry fights to have the human police investigate. But there's a high price to pay--a price that always seems to involve more sex. Merry likes sex, but sometimes things get a bit much, even for her.

    In a series of sexual encounters, Merry learns more about the powers she has been given--and is channeling. Merry is the descendent of multiple fertility gods and now, as the fey courts are dying, fertility is more important than ever. If Merry can become pregnant, she can be Queen. But even without that, she is bringing the abode of the Unseelie Court back to life.

    Author Laurell K. Hamilton (see more reviews of novels by Hamilton) combines political intrigue, plenty of sex, with action and violence in an exciting combination. Merry makes a sympathetic character as she confronts the bigotry of the Unseelie Court--prejudice against humans and also the other fey peoples. Merry's powers cut across these narrow lines--granting powers to all, and raising some to full Sidhe status.

    Merry's growing band of supporters, mostly hunky male sidhe from the Queen's guard--males who haven't had a chance at sex in hundreds of years before being given the chance to become one of Merry's lovers--and a potential king--struggles to keep Merry and themselves alive as the evidence grows that many might prefer that the magic never return and that the Sidhe simply vanish from history to what Merry would bring.

    I enjoyed the political intrigues and the gradual unfolding of Merry's power--and her communion with the Goddess. Merry is forced to make tough ethical decisions--in a universe where ethics are different from those in our world, but are certainly recognizable. From time to time, I found myself skipping over some of the more graphic sexual descriptions. While these are certainly a Hamilton strength, finding out what is happening in the story is even more important.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 4/24/05

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