The most recent installment of Laurel K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series, “Swallowing Darkness,” answered some lingering questions…and then asked a whole bunch more…
When we meet up with our heroine in this installment, she is newly pregnant with twins. (Fathered by not one but FIVE of her royal guards. Oh, and Sholto the King of the Slaugh. Lucky girl.) Her pregnancy is both a blessing and a curse as it secures her position as heir to the Unseelie throne but also increases the pressure on her enemies to end her life before she can become queen. After her beloved grandmother dies in her arms, she makes the decision to return to self-imposed exile in California to protect her life and the lives of her babies.
But nothing in Faery is that easy, and Merry’s treacherous cousin (and rival for the throne) Cel has a final trick up his sleeve. He refuses to be graceful in his defeat. And despite his cruelty, many among the Unseelie Sidhe would prefer his leadership to that of a mixed-blood mortal.
So the insanity ensues. There is a singularly bloody battle that reminds all of us of Laurel K. Hamilton’s vampire executioner roots. Magic and mind-bending glamour abound. Traitors are exposed, and familiar faces return. I can’t say much more about the climax because I don’t want to spoil the carefully woven surprises that make this book so satisfying. Needless to say, it is a close victory for Merry and crew (come on, there’s another book coming out in October. You already knew her team won.)
I have to say, this ended up being one of my favorite books in this series. It really did tie up some big loose ends that have been hanging around since the beginning. Most importantly, it kept her from having to choose a single member of her royal guard as her King. She is clearly in love with several, and in serious like with a couple more. The development of her twins having multiple fathers (three each) really saved her ass. Here’s to hoping the next book in the series, “Divine Misdemeanors” allows some of her good fortune to continue.
On my scientifically proven rating scale, I give “Swallowing Darkness” a very respectable 4 ½ stars.