Laurell K. Hamilton
A Shiver of Light (Merry Gentry, Book 9)
Random House Transworld Bantam (AU: 2nd June 2014; UK: 3rd June 2014); Penguin Berkley (US & CA: 3rd June 2014)
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TRIGGER WARNINGS: Rape, torture, murder (including that of children and babies), gas-lighting, racism.
Princess Meredith NicEssus has given birth. And instead of the twins she expected, Merry actually has triplets. More babies, more problems; right?
Any trouble getting the kids to nurse? Of course not – Merry may be a first-time mum, but she has MagicBoobs.
But there are three babies and only two breasts. Is there enough breast-milk to go around? No worries. The most petite must have all-natural things, so she can only feed directly from Merry. The older girl screams if you make her feed from a bottle. But luckily the baby boy doesn’t cry as much as his sisters, so he’s always the one bottle-fed. Also, the girls have magical powers, and he does not. He doesn’t add anything to the storyline, so maybe he exists just so some fathers can say one of the babies is biologically theirs.
And yes, the most petite female is the most powerful. This is an LKH novel, after all.
Any post-natal depression? Difficulty getting the babies to settle? Sleep deprivation? Left alone with the babies and feeling hopeless? Never. There are nannies, as well as the babies’ fathers: Doyle, Frost, Rhys, Galen, Mistral, Sholto, Royal, Kitto… (Well, the first six of them are definitely the biological dads – can’t remember if the last two are, but they’re fully integrated into the family.)
Oh, and Merry’s lost all the baby weight…except for the extra cup size. MagicBoobs, you know. She complains about them, but only half-heartedly.
The characters often seem interchangeable, but Rhys stands out – just not in a good way.
From page 183: “Let’s just say my sithen is in a bad section of L.A. and I’m blond and blue-eyed and don’t exactly look like I belong.”
Eff you and your racism, Rhys.
But wait – there’s more. His son died in battle, due to an explosive. Rhys did not deal with this in a healthy manner…
From page 194: “I hunted down every member of the tribe that had fought against us. I killed them all, down to the last baby. I destroyed them as a race, do you understand that, I killed their entire people, even the children, while their mothers begged for mercy.”
I’m pretty sure those kids had absolutely nothing to do with the death of Rhys’s son, yet he killed them anyway. You would’ve thought a mourning parent wouldn’t wish a child’s death upon their worst enemy…
But there were no parents left to mourn the children because RHYS KILLED THEM, TOO.
And in this scene, Merry and Galen COMFORT Rhys – he who destroyed an entire tribe, including many innocents. But because Rhys’s son died, albeit not killed by him, Rhys is the one for whom everyone feels sorry.
I do not have enough middle fingers to aim towards this book. My two are just too few.