Alright this one I do feel a little bit guilty about. Normally I don’t feel too badly about my guilty pleasures. Normally when I examine them critically I can find some element there that makes it worth the read.
This one…well I really am kind of ashamed of how much I liked it the first time I read it.
So back up several years when I was a sixteen year old Mary Sue. My family was planning to visit relatives in another state and I went to the library, seeking reading material to keep me entertained on the road. I found this in the audiobook section.
The cover art intrigued me (poor innocent thing I was, I didn’t recognize the glaring red flags that should have alerted me to the fact it was a “romance” novel). The blurb on the back sounded interesting as well. So I put the CD in my Walkman and listened to it on the road.
Boy was I surprised. If I’d heard of this author before I would have known about the frequent sexual escapades of the main characters. I would have also known that all the interesting bits would be at the beginning and not be mentioned again until the end.
I did like two of the many love interests, and the magical lore was interesting enough to compel me to finish the book. All in all I found it sort of inoffensive on first reading.
Then I moved onto her other series, Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter and it was jarring. I disliked Anita intensely upon first reading and my contempt just grew with every successive book.
Most people read the Meredith Gentry series after Anita, since it was published after that series had been started. I had the opposite experience, and moving from this book to The Anita Blake series was a really rude awakening to Hamilton’s worst tropes.
They are there in this one too, which is why I feel sort of icky admitting I have some nostalgia for this book.
All in all the only justification I have for it at this point is that the Meredith Gentry series is more honest about what it is. It’s smut. Fantasy-themed erotica, with a plot to bookend all the sex. Meredith’s character seemed a lot less obnoxious than Anita’s (in this book at least). I would have to read the rest of the series to give a more complete analysis on Meredith’s character.
And yes, you can jump into this series at any point. It isn’t like some novels where skipping a few will completely baffle you. The book will give you the needed info through exposition whilst the characters gear up for another orgy.
So I guess in conclusion, I wouldn’t actually recommend this one unless you’re morbidly curious. And if you do read it, don’t take it with you to your grandparent’s house. You won’t be able to look your grandma in the eye over breakfast, trust me.