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A Stroke of Midnight review

Yet more slap and tickle with the racy faerie fetishist.

523 PAGES · £6.99

Author:
Laurell K Hamilton

Publisher:
Bantam Books

ISBN:
0-553-81633-0

Rating: 3/5

It's another breathless fantasy from the prolific Laurell K Hamilton, where events come hard and fast, and a good shag is always just around the corner.

Princess Meredith has been ordered to sleep with all of her Royal Guards until one of them gets her pregnant. If she achieves this before her cousin Prince Cel can get one of his women pregnant, then Merry will become the next Queen of the Unseelie Court. However (you didn’t think it would all run smoothly, did you?), a double homicide destabilises human/fey relationships; the political intrigue is getting deadly; and the Gods have chosen Merry as their avatar, to reintroduce magic to the dying lands of Faerie – with explosive results.

Having laid the foundations (and laid just about anything else with a pulse) in the first three novels in the Meredith Gentry series, Hamilton accelerates some sections of the plot, but leaves others squeezed out and ignored. In A Stroke of Midnight, both the faerie homeland and Merry’s role bringing the magic back are explored much more fully. The prose fills your senses, creating vivid scenes: the sex gets increasingly outrageous and there are brow-raising events with every lingering caress.

It’s certainly fun when you’re engrossed in the heart of it all but in the afterglow, it fails to deliver any real, lasting satisfaction. The unveiling of the murderer is hollow and nothing else is resolved at all. After four volumes of Hamilton’s adult fairy tales there should be closure to some threads at least; instead there are only more questions. This could be a very, very long journey indeed...

Sandy Auden

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