I just finished book #7 of the Meredith Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton, and all I can say is, "Wow!" Laurell brought it back with a vengeance!! The title of the book is Swallowing Darkness, and it hops, skips, and jumps, the plot line along.
For those of you who haven't read this series yet, or haven't read this book, I decided to give a very brief synopsis that doesn't reveal all of the twists and turns of the story, but still gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect. Then, further down this post I'll clearly mark where the spoilers will start. Hopefully, this will keep everyone happy! :)
The book starts with Meredith in the hospital recovering from the attack by her Uncle, King Taranis. While she is in the hospital with her guards, a nasty spell is unleashed against Merry and her guards through a very surprising messenger. This new attack is what launches the book into a very fast paced series of events. And they are all VERY big events that change pretty much everything. These events force Merry to realize that she can not be the merciful leader that her father was - not if she wants to keep her men and her babies safe. Merry takes full control of her power and starts killing people that need to be killed. There is a showdown between Merry and her biggest enemy, Merry brings two more important players in the story into their respective powers, and in amongst all of this Merry receives the crowns to two kingdoms from the Goddess and Fairie itself along with two of her men being crowned Kings. As if that wasn't enough for one book, the truth about who killed Merry's father is finally revealed, and someone very special is returned to Merry. If you want a couple more juicy details, just continue on down past the spoiler alert. ;)
If you've read any of my reviews over the first 6 books in this series, you will know that I have been very disappointed overall. Book #6 finally gave me a little hope that the whole series wasn't a lost cause, and I can now say, "Thank goodness I didn't stop reading!!" This book totally brought me back into Merry's world, and had me anxious, happy, and sad at different points during the story. Merry loses one of the most important people in her life nearly right off the bat to an evil spell and its consequences, but in doing so her and Sholto, King of the Sluagh, are able to raise the wild hunt. Merry hunts down and kills the person responsible for this death, and then proceeds to continue killing people that deserve it. She is able to save Mistral from an attempted assassination, and heal Doyle with magic that her and Sholto create together in the Sluagh sithen. While they are all recovering in the Sluagh sithen, Merry is crowned the Sluagh Queen (by Fairie itself) to Sholto's King, and when challenged by a pretender, old magic is resurrected that returns several precious Fairie artifacts to Merry and her men. Then it is learned that a Seelie force is campled outside the Sluagh sithen and have orders from King Taranis to return Merry to him at the Seelie court. Merry calls in the human National Guard to help her escape from the Seelies and help her return to Los Angeles. Merry has decided to leave Fairie until her children are born - she no longer feels that she or her men will be safe anywhere in Fairie, and the Goddess revealed to her during a vision that the sidhe are pretty much a lost cause and that through Merry the Goddess will now bestow blessings on the humans since the sidhe have turned away from her. When the National Guard try to escort Merry away from Fairie, Prince Cel and his followers from the Unseelie court attack. This where the story gets REALLY good and several things happen at once. I don't want to bog you down with every detail so I'll just leave you with this:
* The Red Cap goblins and Holly & Ash (half goblin, half-sidhe brothers) are called by Merry's power to her side
* Merry brings Holly & Ash into their sidhe powers and comes back crowned with the Queen of the Unseelie Court's crown (Doyle is crowned her King)
* Queen Andais joins the fight between Merry and Cel to protect Cel
* It is revealed that Prince Cel is the one who murdered Merry's father
* Merry kills Prince Cel
* Doyle and Merry give up the crowns to the Unseelie Kingdom in order for Frost to be returned to them.
All in all I have to say that I am very pleased with this book and how it turned out. Laurell Hamilton ended it in a way that this book could have been the end of the series, but I am very excited and happy to know that there is a book #8. In fact, I'm going to go download it now and read it, and I hope to be back in a day or two with another raving review about this series.
I give this book 4 stars out of 5.