#Review: Seduced by Moonlight by Laurell K. Hamilton @LKHamilton @TransworldBooks

Description

To some I am Meredith Gentry, P.I. To others I am Princess Merry, heir to the throne of Faerie. And there are those who whisper that I am both of these and more.

My aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, no long distracted by her sadistic pastimes, now focusses unwaveringly on me. I spend each night with my immortal guards, but still no child has come of our decadent pleasures. But something IS happening to me. I appear to have awakened a force that’s lain dormant for thousands of years and I haven’t the damndest idea how or why…

It all began with the chalice. I dreamed it, and there it was – cool and hard – when I awoke. My guards know this ancient relic well – its disappearance so many ages ago stripped them of their vital powers. And here it is with us now. My touch resonates with its force. A strange, dazzling magic now courses through my half-mortal half-Sidhe body. But while my guards cherish me for this unexpected gift, there are those who loathe me for it and would rather the Unseelie court suffer than have it ruled over by me, a mongrel queen. My enemies grow in number every day. If only they knew what I am capable of. But come to that, if only I did too.

This is the world of Meredith Gentry, a twilight world of gods, shapeshifters and immortal souls, a world full of sensuality, wild magic, treacherous deceits and latent powers about to be unleashed…

Review

I’ve been away from the Merry Gentry books for far too long. Unlike many people I think these books are leaps and bounds ahead of the Anita Blake series (which I’m equally behind on!) Merry Gentry is fae royalty, but she’s not immortal like the rest of the fae, being half-human she is mortal and this makes her wildly unpopular among the Unseelie court. But her Aunt the Queen is determined she should be her heir and has given her members of her guard so that she can become pregnant and qualify as the next heir to the throne over her cousin who is a treacherous ass.

People unfamiliar with LKH’s style of writing will need to adjust, unlike many paranormal romance where the protagonist has one love interest which carries through several books. LKH is far more open and flexible with her characters. By this point in the series Merry is now the central figure in a reverse-harem. But far from being awkward or uncomfortable it is beautifully tied into the story which is written with such imagination that it it becomes a true wonder to follow.

The relationship between Merry and her ‘bodyguards’ is strong, and sensual, and quite sad at times. Merry is developing new magical powers and these powers are passing on to the men in weird and wonderful ways. The way this has been written by LKH was brilliant, very original and with such vivid imagery.

There are a few fight scenes which are graphic and detailed, nothing left to chance and no detail left undescribed. A harsh and bloody battle towards the end of the book was several pages long and gripped me from beginning to end.

Overall I loved this as much as I remember loving the previous two Merry Gentry books! I already have the next book on my shelf and promise myself not to leave it years until I read that one!

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleSeduced By Moonlight
Series: Merry Gentry #3
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Paranormal Romance | Urban Fantasy | Erotica | Fae | Magic
Publisher: Bantam / Transworld
Publication Date: 14 January 2005
Review Format: Paperback
Other FormatseBook | Hardcover | Audio
Pages: 512
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | Speedy Hen | Wordery

#BlogTour: A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden @orcwriter @TransworldBooks #Review

My second tour today is for an epic piece of fantasy, I was super excited to get my hands on this book and it did not disappoint…read on to feast on my review and see why you have to pick this up and read it yourself!

Description

Beowulf meets The Lord of the Rings meets Bernard Cornwell in an epic novel of vengeance, faith and the power of myth.

To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcnéas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind—the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.

Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that’s changed. A new faith has arisen. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.

Taking a young Christian hostage to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits.

But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning—the Old Ways versus the New—and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done or stand against him and see it slip away?

A Gathering of Ravens - Tour Banner

Review

The Press Release I received stated that this was inspired by Beowulf and John Gardner’s Grendel, queue a geeky happy dance while I realised I was diving into a book that I was now even more keen to devour. As a teen studying Beowulf had triggered my fascination with all things Norse and then reading Grendel when it was released and seeing it’s ties to Beowulf was a treat.

We have two main characters in this novel. Grimnir, an orc like character, who having been disturbed in his cave in Norway is now looking for our second character, Étaín, to be his guide through England as he searches for Half-Dane, the man who killed his brother Hrungnir.

A Gathering of Ravens was a slow starter for me, and for a while I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it. It felt very Christianity heavy and Étaín our Saxon character was a hard character to like for quite some time. I stuck with it though, and after part one, which wasn’t a long section things really picked up and I felt like I was well and truly in the groove with our characters.

Étaín has had a rough life, treated as a whore almost from birth, then kidnapped by Vikings until she wasrescued by the one who she converted to Christianity. Now she has been kidnapped by Grimnir. Given all she has been through, all she has overcome I wanted her to find her backbone much sooner than she did and I think that’s why I struggled to like her! I also have to say I find her loyalty to Christianity somewhere between admirable and delusional given all that she see’s during her journey with Grimnir.

Grimnir is a tough character, he has no qualms about killing anyone and everyone, the body count in this book is suitably high as a result. In my continued trend of liking the bad guy I loved this character, he was grumpy and resigned to having this welp of a human along even though he had kidnapped her which made the resentment even more amusing. I found his choice in weapon rather unusual, he used a seax which seemed quite a mundane weapon for such an extraordinary character. He also had many human traits and I think this may be what made me find him such a lovable rogue.

As the book progresses we meet other characters who become important to the story arc and we see the story come together for Grimnir and Étaín as they leave England and enter Ireland. This is a strongly written book centred at a time when the Old Gods were being foregone for the dawning of Christianity and this theme rides strong throughout.

Sending a huge thanks to Scott Oden and Transworld Publishers for the ARC so that I could read and honestly review this novel.

Rating

About Scott Oden

Scott Oden was born in Indiana, but has spent most of his life shuffling between his home in rural North Alabama, a hobbit hole in Middle-earth, and some sketchy tavern in the Hyborian Age. He studied history and English at the University of Alabama. He is an avid reader of fantasy and ancient history, a collector of swords, and a player of tabletop role-playing games. His previous books include Men of Bronze, Memnon and The Lion of Cairo. When not writing, he can be found walking his two dogs or doting on his wife.

Book & Buy Links

TitleA Gathering of Ravens
Series: N/A
Author: Scott Oden
Genre: Fantasy | Epic Fantasy | Mythology
Publisher: Bantam Press
Publication Date: 20 June 2017
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover
Pages: 337
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book DepositorySpeedy Hen | Wordery