Laurell K. Hamilton
Swallowing Darkness (Merry Gentry, Book 7)
Random House (US & CA: 4th November 2008; UK: 8th November 2008; AU: 1st December 2008)
Pregnant with twins, Princess Meredith NicEssus embarks on her biggest battle yet in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Swallowing Darkness.
With impending motherhood, Merry knows the safest thing for her unborn children, her lovers/guards and she is to escape faerie to Los Angeles. After all, her cousin Prince Cel desperately wants her – and her nearest and dearest – dead. Or maybe just maimed.
But escaping safely to the Western Lands means working with humans, who may not be fully aware of the deadly task they face of protecting Merry and her posse. Old wounds will bleed again…
The first half of the novel plods. The scenes are long, and things may seem to be happening, but it’s difficult to care. I don’t remember Gran, and Merry’s cousin Cair, being in the books before, so they seemed to be here as a plot device, and not on their own account. But bless Gran; she does bring up intriguing things: His mother was a hell hound, his father a phouka who bedded the bitch when in dog form. You could ha’ puppies inside ya. Though I’m pretty sure this won’t happen, it would make for innovative fiction, indeed, for sidhe-human Merry to give birth to puppies.
Sholto, king of the sluagh, has a bigger role in this novel. But the author seems to write as if we should all know exactly what sluagh, goblins, brownies and sidhe are. And the differences between Seelie and Unseelie. I don’t. And if the thought of puppy birth wasn’t bizarre enough, there’s tentacle foreplay. One can’t deny that the author has quite the imagination…
The second half is much better as the gang starts travelling to the Western Lands, where all hell breaks loose and magic rules for better or worse. There’s death and destruction, blood and gore…and a happy ending. But to find out whether Merry’s womb-inhabitants are puppies or not, we’ll just have to wait for the next instalment.