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A Caress of Twilight
Laurell K. Hamilton
Bantam, 449 pages

A Caress of Twilight
Laurell K. Hamilton
Laurell K. Hamilton is the author of two New York Times Best Seller series that mix mystery, fantasy, magic, horror and romance. Her Vampire Hunter novels from Ace books, featuring necromancer and crime investigator Anita Blake, began with Guilty Pleasures and continues with Incubus Dreams. Her other is about Fey princess, Merry Gentry, who is also a private investigator and began with Kiss of Shadows. She lives in St. Louis County Missouri with her husband, daughter, two pug and two part pug dogs and an ever-fluctuating number of fish.

Laurell K. Hamilton Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: A Kiss of Shadows
SF Site Review: A Stroke of Midnight
SF Site Review: Incubus Dreams
SF Site Interview: Laurell K. Hamilton
SF Site Review: Seduced by Moonlight
SF Site Review: A Caress of Twilight
SF Site Review: Narcissus In Chains
SF Site Review: Blue Moon
SF Site Review: Burnt Offerings
SF Site Review: Nightseer

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil


'It was as if the golden waves were twisted, carved into individual locks of hair, so that his true hair didn't simply appear all at once but was brought slowly into view, like a striptease. His true colour was that crimson that sunsets can have, as if the entire sky is filled with neon blood.'
A Caress of Twilight is the second book of an on-going series, starring Meredith Gentry, also known as Princess Meredith of the Unseelie Sidhe. All of the main players from the first novel are back, with the exception of prince Cel, who is away being tortured for months on end as punishment for earlier indiscretions. Meredith, is now constantly accompanied by her band of immortal Sidhe warriors, all of whom she is required to take as lovers. Merry's lust filled nights have the aim of getting her pregnant, before the evil Cel is set free to either assassinate her, or produce a child of his own. The other major plot elements concern a series of mysterious mass murders, and the desperate desire of an outcast former Seelie goddess to conceive by her dying human consort. The murders, it is discovered by Meredith's company, are the work of a creature called The Nameless. This is an entity created in the past by the Sidhe of both courts, as a living repository for their nastier powers. The Nameless has been set free, and tasked to kill the former goddess, who is now a literally ageless Hollywood sex symbol, Maeve Reed. Why she was cast out, forbidden any contact with other Sidhe, and who wants her dead so badly, is the central enigma.

In addition to the returning characters there are several newcomers, including Taranis the King of Light and Illusion, and Sage of the Demi Fey. Taranis is the Seelie counterpart to Queen Andais, and every bit as unhinged. If absolute power corrupts absolutely, imagine what it does if not limited by the passage of years. Sage, is the representative of Queen Niceven, and is a doll-sized man with butterfly wings. He may be small, but his glamour can cause Meredith to experience fabulous orgasms while he drinks her blood. Not that this is so unusual, as Meredith spends a great deal of the book having mind-blowing sex. Even Kitto, the non-conjugal goblin, finally gets his oats. So does Galen, the Green Knight, whose wedding tackle is restored as part of a bargain. The endless rounds of sex are at turns amusing, erotic and boring. Meredith spends so much time on her back, I got the impression that she should strap a mattress to it! As the story sighed and moaned toward its literary climax, I found myself hoping with each turn of a page that she'd keep her knees together for long enough to advance the more interesting plot elements. Often, I was disappointed.

Just like the first book, A Caress of Twilight is written in an easy to read, first person narrative style, and packed with characters that ooze potential. Annoyingly, this potential remains largely untapped due to the central character spending so much time in bed. Quite often, it read more like a Nancy Friday female fantasy, than a fantasy novel about homicidal faerie folk. As a result, the intriguing and sensitive thread of Maeve Reed and her failing human lover, is rather hurriedly dealt with. Equally lacking is the tremendous threat posed by The Nameless, which suffers due to its early abandonment, until such time as it's needed for the badly telegraphed conclusion. One element which is given fitting prominence, and stands head and shoulders above other facets because of it, is the introduction of and revelations concerning Taranis, the King of Light and Illusion. How the other characters will deal with him, as the series progresses, is what held my attention. By the last page I was wishing that the book had been equal in length to its predecessor, A Kiss Of Shadows, rather than almost two hundred pages shorter. Perhaps then, the author would've felt she had room enough to expand and better develop the fascinating political, criminal, sociological and historical plot elements.

Copyright © 2005 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at

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