A Kiss of Shadows – Chapter 1: Height Shaming and 90s Clothes

 

Chapter one opens with the main character. Merry Gentry, describing the city of Los Angeles. It’s very smoggy, apparently. Astute.
 
She states that “Los Angeles is a place where people, those with wings and without, come to hide.” Merry is in hiding because if she were to return home, to Cahokia Illinois, she’d be killed by her relatives and their allies.
 
Now this, this pissed me off. Two paragraphs in and I’m mad. Cahokia, if you are not aware, is one of the major pre-Columbian native sites in the US. It is the largest urban settlement in the Mississippian culture, which existed in some form up until around the 16th century. I’ve been to Cahokia. I’ve studied this site pretty extensively through my college career. It’s extremely interesting and I highly suggest visiting it at some point. And LKH has turned it into a fucking faerie kingdom.
 
I mean, it’s understood. She’s from St. Louis. Cahokia is basically across the river, and it’s a major mound site. It makes sense she base her faeries there. It just pisses me off the same way Marvel’s Thor pisses me off, because I’m irrational and don’t want to separate my experience with them from the fictional version of them. Anyway, moving on.
 
Oh yeah, and Merry is apparently a faerie princess.
 
So there’s a knock on Merry’s office door, and her boss from Gray’s Detective Agency, Jeremy Gray, walks in. LKH spends a very long paragraph describing Gray, but it mostly boils down to he’s short (4’11), well-dressed, 400+ years old, and ACTUALLY grey skinned.
 
Side note: one of my major gripes with LKH is her character descriptions. Her characters are always either normal tall or very short. I’ll keep a tally of the character heights, because this is one thing that always bothers me in her stories. Like, she lists 6’2 as SUPER TALL… I dunno, I just don’t see 6’2 all that tall for a man. Maybe I’m the only one who finds her character heights kinda silly (I’m 5’11, so a 6’2 dude is just, like, normal to me), but it’s just always stood out as something that it’s kinda, well, dumb to point out. I believe that LKH is like, 5’2 or something, so maybe that’s why? I’m short shaming here, whatever.
 
Anyway, back to Jeremy Gray. It’s not yet announced what supernatural thing he is, just that he may be immortal and OUTLIVE THE EARTH OOOOOH. Actually, she does mention that he’ll probably die with the sun engulfs the earth. Amateurs.
 
She then jumps from describing Gray to him checking Merry out. He first compliments her outfit, making Merry mentally remark “I knew I looked hot when Jeremy complimented my clothes” and then describes her outfit. LKH really liked to describe her characters’ clothing choices at length. These books were all written in the 2000s, but I think her characters dress pretty much straight out of the early 90s “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead”-esque. Yeah.
 
 
 
MERRY GENTRY FASHION ALERT: Today Merry is wearing a royal blue suit jacket with a matching blue pleated skirt “so short, it was only a fringe across my thighs underneath the jacket. The outfit was short enough that if I crossed my legs wrong, I’d flash the tops of my black thigh-highs.” LOL thigh highs. I dunno, I find these to be like the epitome of 90s sexy office-wear. She’s also wearing two-inch patent leather heels. Two inch. That’s not even that high of a heel. I wear two inch heels because they make me feel not so tall. Fucking Merry should be wearing like 4” stilettos like her life depends on it.
 
She then describes her looks. Hair the color of dark red rubies with black highlights. All natural, Sidhe hair. It makes her pale, pure white skin look good. She had had to hide it up until this year, as it is not a natural human color, but luckily this color went into style and now she pretends she dyes it that red. Or something.
 
She hides her eyes under contacts, as apparently her natural eye color would give away her Sidhe-ness. She also wears a glamour to dull her Sidhe features, since she’s in hiding. None of her friends know she’s Sidhe, none of her coworkers. She doesn’t trust that her relatives wouldn’t kill them if they found her, unless she kept them all totally ignorant of her nature. And she cannot go to the government branch created just for her, the Bureau of Human and Fey Affairs, for asylum because CAN’T TRUST THE GUBMENT amirite. Actually, more like she cannot trust her relatives to actually follow government policy and honor her asylum.
 
Another thing that kind of bothered me, going back to Jeremy checking Merry out – she mentions that it’s an insult to ignore someone when they’ve obviously put effort into looking nice for others. Because, you know, catcalls are awesome and make women feel so great about themselves. Women dress that way totally for attention. They want you to tell them that they look “good enough for a poke”. Girls want this. Yup. This is a thing that they want.
 
So Jeremy tells Merry that they have an unusual case that he wants her opinion on. A divorce case. They, by a rule, don’t take divorce cases, apparently, but he’s willing to take a chance on this case due to reasons, but he wants Merry to sign off on it first. Apparently there’s a death spell or some supernatural attempted murder something something, and the wife and mistress have teamed up to bring the husband down.
 
Merry is very concerned that Jeremy has a bad feeling about this case, but Jeremy can’t give her a straight answer as to why he feels so pushed to take this case. This goes on for a page or so, this back and forth circle-jerk where the characters just repeat the same thing over and over, merely saying it differently each time. This is a common theme in LKH’s works, I’ve found. A typical conversation in her worlds go like this:
 
Dude: “Well, I dunno, I’ve got a bad feeling about this!”
Main female character. She’s always blunt: “Why?”
Dude is a pussy: “Well, because. Because I’ve got a bad feeling and I don’t know why. It’s just a bad feeling that I’m feeling, and I just don’t know why I’m feeling this bad feeling!”
MC: “Why can’t you tell me why you have this bad feeling? You have to know!”
Dude: “I just, I don’t know! It’s just a bad feeling about this, I don’t think we should do it.. I guess what I’m saying is I have a bad feeling about this.”
MC: Just does it anyway, something bad happens.
 
For pages. It goes on for pages. The main character chick is always very outspoken and blunt in her conversations, but she ALWAYS lets the other characters hem and haw around her for pages and pages of non-stimulating conversation and then just ends up vetoing everything and doing what she wants anyway. Ughhhhh. I spend an awful lot of LKH’s books skimming due to this.
 
So, anyway, they decide that despite Jeremy’s bad feeling about this case, he still wants Merry to meet them and help decide whether or not they’re going to take the case. The chapter ends with the two exiting Merry’s office to go meet up with this wife and mistress.
 
Characters Introduced:
 
Merry Gentry: a mortal half-human/half-faerie (sidhe) princess hiding under glamour in Los Angeles. 5’3″
Jeremy Gray: her fey boss. 4’11”
Teresa: an empathetic coworker at Gray’s. Height not mentioned.
Roane: a bleeding-heart coworker at Gray’s. Height not mentioned. 
 
Themes Introduced:
 

TOO MUCH TALKING

Sexiness Rating: 0/10. I don’t find midgets very sexy at all, JEREMY GRAY. 

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