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Publisher's Summary

" All it would take was my true name being mentioned after dark, and it would float back to my aunt. She was the Queen of Air and Darkness, and that meant that anything said in the dark was hers to hear, eventually.

"The fact that spotting the missing Elven American Princess had become more popular than spotting Elvis helped. Her magic was always chasing blind leads: Princess Meredith skiing in Utah. Princess Meredith dancing in Paris. Princess Meredith gambling in Vegas. After three years, I was still a front-page story for the tabloids, though the latest headlines had been speculating that I was as dead as the King of Rock and Roll."

In fact, Meredith has been posing as a human in Los Angeles, living as a private investigator specializing in supernatural crime. But now Doyle, the Queen's chief bodyguard and assassin, has been dispatched to fetch her back - whether she likes it or not. And suddenly Meredith finds herself a pawn in her dreaded aunt's plans...plans that affect the future of the entire UnSeelie Court.

The requirements of the job: to enjoy the constant company of the most beautiful - and immortal - men in the world. The reward: the crown - and the opportunity to continue to live. The penalty: death.

Fairie tales: listen to another Meredith Gentry fantasy.
©2000 Laurell K. Hamilton (P)2000 Laurell K. Hamilton

Critic Reviews

"[A]n edgy story of sex, violence, and magic that manages to be both disturbing and entertaining." ( Library Journal)
"As wild as the novel's premise is, memorable characters and wicked wit make it all delicious, ribald fun." ( Publishers Weekly)
"I've never read a writer with a more fertile imagination." (Diana Gabaldon)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,112
  • 4 Stars
    525
  • 3 Stars
    256
  • 2 Stars
    92
  • 1 Stars
    90

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    864
  • 4 Stars
    406
  • 3 Stars
    178
  • 2 Stars
    60
  • 1 Stars
    43

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    935
  • 4 Stars
    357
  • 3 Stars
    155
  • 2 Stars
    68
  • 1 Stars
    51
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Not for the prudish reader -- but,

If your not shy about very well written sex scenes, that are also important to the storyline, than this series is a wild ride. Princess Meridith is descended from several fertility goddesses, so naturally her greatest power is expressed in the bedroom. Her lovers are all beings who have lost their power, and consequently, the world of the fey is dying -- but through her, they, and the fey, are revitalized. As a fiction writer, I find Ms. Hamilton's depictions to be a masterclass in writing a compelling sex scene. As a fan, I am endlessly entertained by her originality, and the courage of her convictions to tell the story as it is meant to be told. Having read the series, I'm now enjoying the audio books, just as much, if not more. The narrator is perfect.

For those who find it to be too much, I say, quit complaining and move along. This series is meant for adults. Go read Harry Potter. Again.

45 of 49 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Willie
  • Allen, TX, USA
  • 03-24-09

A Kiss of Shadows

This book is a tease. The plot and characters are great even the sex is cool, for about half of the book. Ms. Hamilton has a great flow to her dialogue and she creates a great land escape for the book. At some point in the story she seems to stop trying to have a great book and just settles for an ok sexual fantasy book. Also the narrator does a bad job with male voices. There are some female narrators that handle male voices a lot better.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • SANDRA
  • HUDSON, Cayman Islands
  • 12-18-09

Could've been a 5 star listen

I liked the story, the characters especially. But the narrator, threw the whole audiobook experience in the can. Her version of male voices made all the male characters seem to be decripit and the farthest thing from sexy. I hope the next book has a new narrator. The narrator's voice was confusing from one male character to another. Other than that, the book was good.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Get a New Narrator!

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes and no. This is actually a review of the first FOUR books - to be fair, the author is to blame for some of the problems here. She has a tendency to use the same metaphors, descriptions, phrases, over and over and over and over until you want to say ENOUGH ALREADY, are there no other descriptive phrases you can use? Here's a thesaurus, try using it.

And while I realize the sex is supposed to be between magical beings and therefore it's probably to be expected that some of the acts described would be - um - improbable? In some cases physically impossible?

On the other hand, the books aren't a complete waste of time - they are interesting if you like this kind of magical/erotic/urban romance/fantasy thing. And if you can get passed the issues with the narration - OMG, the issues with the narration. See below for my rant over that.

Would you recommend A Kiss of Shadows to your friends? Why or why not?

Probably not as an audiobook, simply because of the narration issues I'm going to describe below.

How could the performance have been better?

Get someone else to record them - pretty much ANYONE else.

1. Narrator cannot seem to maintain consistency in how she pronounces names. For the first three books, "Doyle" is pronounced how you would expect. Suddenly, in the fourth book, she begins pronouncing it "Dole" (like the pineapple brand).

2. She cannot be consistent in how she voices different characters. In the first couple, Doyle has what can only be described as a robotic, uninflected, machine-like voice - completely unappealing. Suddenly, in book 3 or 4, she switches to a Gaelic accent of some kind - which is MUCH better, but still disconcerting because of the change.

3. Learn how to pronounce Gaelic names! She pronounces "Siobhan" (which even a quick Google search tells you should be pronounced Shiv-awn) as "See-O-Bon" in one book, then switches to "See-O-Ban" in another. Neither is correct. It's mangled so badly I didn't know what character she was referring to (and I read these in Kindle format first, so I was somewhat familiar with the characters and plotlines before listening to the audiobook).

4. Pronounces "Sholto" correctly for first couple of books, then switches to "Sho-lo-to" for the next couple (what? You added a syllable that doesn't exist!)

5. Pronounces "Andais" as "An-days" (or something close to that) for the first couple of books (which is probably close to correct) but then suddenly starts pronouncing it "An-day-day-ice" (again, extra syllable that doesn't exist). A comparison example would be "Alais" - which is pronounced similar to but not quite exactly like "Alice" - Andais should be pronounced in a similar fashion.

6. She mispronounces any number of other words, to the point that it's distracting.

7. Voice characterizations are - as previously stated - inconsistent and (to my ear) inappropriate for the character.

8. Pronounces "Mistral" correctly for first couple of books (Miss-TRAL) but then switches in third or fourth book to "Mis-ter-all" - again, extra syllables that aren't there and SHOULDN'T BE INFERRED AND PRONOUNCED.

Awful, just generally awful.

Could you see A Kiss of Shadows being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No. Too much improbable sex.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

compelling adult fantasy

firstly, let me say the narrator is a perfect match for the book. some combo's just work. i put this on par with michael prichard's readings of nero wolf; marguerite gavin's readings of the hollows series; james earl jones as the voice of darth vader.

there is a good plot here, it just isn't obvious early on. there is a good deal of sex also. though i for one think that it is done with style and taste, not the crass porn others have called it. if this were a film i would give it an R, not an X. in most cases it certainly furthers the plot. by the end of the book i was hooked and am greatly looking forward to book 2. lots of loose ends for the story to continue on. whatever will become of our heroine's poor brother?

17 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Don't waste yourbAudiblebcredit!!

Would you try another book from Laurell K. Hamilton and/or Laural Merlington?

I will never listen to a book read by Ms. Merlington again.

Would you ever listen to anything by Laurell K. Hamilton again?

Not if this book is indicative of her writing abilities.

What didn’t you like about Laural Merlington’s performance?

Incredibly difficult to listen to the narrator. She makes all the male characters sound like Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz and there is precious little difference in each character's voice (if any). I dare you to listen to the narrator voice the male characters and not hear "we represent the Lollipop Guild & we wish to welcome you to Munchkin Land" start playing in your head. I. DARE. YOU.

What character would you cut from A Kiss of Shadows?

How about we toss the entire book onto the fire and try for something better next time?

Any additional comments?

The author should kick her editor square in the rump for letting her repeat the same things over and over. I found myself skipping forward 30, 90, 120 seconds at a time and the characters were still discussing the same concepts with only a minor change in wording. How many times do I need to hear about the lost seal skin? Three? Five? SHOOT ME!!!!! But wait! We get to hear EVERYTHING repeated over and over!! Ms. Hamilton must think her readership is composed of idiots & simpletons. Mind-numbing boredom. Terrible writing and a god-awful narrator. I'm going to ask Audible for my $ back. I listened to three quarters of the book and couldn't stomach any more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

2 hours of plot in a 15 hours book...

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I guess if it had turned into some sort of...novel version of a music half way through...you know, just so something of any interest whatsoever happened?

What could Laurell K. Hamilton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Maybe had an actual plot and not just fawned over the boys she made for the main character to bone down on...

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I loved how the narrator made any of the larger, deeper-voiced men sound like old women who enjoyed their Pall Malls.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I have to admit, as opposed to LKH's dreadful Anita Blake series, she actually managed to write a main character I liked, and wasn't just a sociopath with no redeeming qualities. God I am so glad people can't contact me through these reviews, otherwise I'm pretty sure what I just wrote might get me killed...

Any additional comments?

Let me be clear...I love and hate Laurell K. Hamilton's..."literature." She writes the food equivalent of junk-food. She has a knack when it comes to creating characters you will fall in love with. And if you read her books just to listen to what sexy things she has to say about your favorite hunk, then I guess she'll just tickle you pink. However, when it comes to writing a book with an interesting, well paced plot, it has become clear that she has no clue what she is doing.

This book is possibly one of her worst paces books I can recall. I am not joking when I say that the plot of this ENTIRE BOOK, feels like the first quarter of any other book. It's all just one big set-up, with a heavy focus on character introduction. Heavy like a mountain made of lead. Nothing happens. Yes, "things" happen to the character, but plot-wise, it is literally just an introduction to a series that basically existed as LKH's outlet to write more smut.

There is no attention to plot, the setting, or any sort of focus narrative. It's all just introducing an frankly underwhelming, over-arching plot and learning about all of the characters. I guess if you were dying to see Hamilton finally write some pseudo-tentacle porn, here you go. Have a ball. Otherwise, even in the world of supernatural junk-food "thrillers," this book is hardly worth your time. You're better than this.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • George
  • Montgomery, AL, United States
  • 12-28-08

A Kiss of Shadows

There is a plot going here but basically it's a porno novel. If you don't want to read about very graphic sex acts, this is not the choice for you.

22 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Thumbs Down

If you are looking for an action/mystery with a fantasy setting this isn't the book for you. If you are looking for multiple sex scenes with fantasy characters, you are in the right place. The plot takes the protagonist from partner to partner with very little content in between.
I found this title very disappointing and was unable to finish it. Titles of this genre (erotic fantasy?) should be differentiated from traditional sci-fi/fantasy.

20 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not what I remembered.

I read this book in hard copy when it came out many years ago and decided to give the audiobook a whirl. A bad decision as the characters are much more tedious than I remember. Also the voice actress made all the men sound completely unappealing. If anyone tried to seduce me with a voice like the male characters I would throw up in my mouth a little...just gross.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful