Mistral’s Kiss Chapter 17-18: No puppet, no puppet. You’re the puppet.

Chapter 17 begins with Merry and Co making it to shore from the bridge. Merry trips over a skeleton buried in the ground like an absolute idiot, and so Doyle picks her up and carries her. Agnes starts attacking Frost, which causes Merry to freak out because she cannot bear losing one of her men. Doyle refuses to stop because yet again he doesn’t give a fuck what Merry thinks or does as a ruler, and instead they make Merry call a door to the Unseelie sithen so they can escape.

But then Sholto screams out “No doors!” and the door disappears. WTF Sholto, you dick. Doyle tells Merry that she should user her power of creation to call for something else that will help them stay free of the hunt. She has to quickly think of something that will protect them.

So she calls a field of four-leaf clovers. Uh, okay? It’s then explained to us that four-leaf clover is “the most powerful plant protection from faerie”, so they should be safe. Sure, I guess? But, like, why can’t LKH ever work any of this into her stories without having to explain to her audience through dialogue wtf she means? I would have much rather read a scene involving clover in an earlier novel, or hell, even earlier in this book, so that when Merry calls the clover we have an “a-ha!” moment and think Merry to be as clever as LKH and her characters constantly try to force us into thinking. No, we can’t ever have a good, well written story in these books, so instead we’re just constantly treated like a bunch of idiots and have all the characters explain everything through dialogue.

It’s one of my major gripes in LKH’s writing. She is just constantly TELLING us what we should really figure out on our own. Anyone else feel this way?

Anyway, Doyle then tells Merry to make a roof over their heads, so she does after Frost tells her what to make the roof of: rowan, thorn, and ash. Again, it’s her guards telling her what she needs to do and explaining what she should be doing. Sholto was just screaming about not being a puppet, and that’s EXACTLY what the guards are doing to Merry. Nothing in any of these novels makes me believe Merry will be even a remotely strong ruler. Not without Doyle or Frost or whoever at her side to constantly tell her what to do.

Feeling safe under the roof and standing on clover, they turn and see these dark creatures attacking Sholto. Despite knowing exactly why they’re attacking him, Merry asks why these creatures are attacking him, and Rhys responds that Sholto is now too sidhe and the hunt isn’t recognizing him as sluagh. Merry then notices that Frost is bleeding badly, and that since he was attacked by Agnes, he likely will not heal as quickly as they need him to heal to escape.

Frost and Doyle argue for a bit. Frost doesn’t think they have time to heal him, and Doyle refuses to lose Frost. Merry just stands there like an idiot this whole time. They then wrap Frost’s arm in a jacket and turn to watch the hunt again. They see Sholto escape as his two uncles/guards offer themselves as sacrifices so that Sholto may escape. Sholto makes it to the bridge and starts heading to the little patch of safety.

Doyle realizes that they won’t be protected from the hunt on that patch, not forever. Since Sholto had called it to hunt the sidhe and he himself was being attacked for it, since they are the only other sidhe present, the hunt will remain there, never allowing Merry and Co to escape. Merry must think of a way to get them all out of there. She tries to conjure a door, but nothing happens. She has no clue what she can call on to help them escape.

No shit. Merry cannot do anything without someone first prompting her to do it. She very rarely makes any decision on her own. Anyway, Rhys tells her that “Where rowan, ash, and thorn grow close together, the veils between worlds is thinner” and so Merry starts looking for a natural door between the wood. Oh but she never actually finds one, Rhys does. He calls her over to this magical natural door, and then tells her to just walk through it. He then calls everyone to the door, because they need to walk through it together, otherwise they may not end up in the same location.

Merry asks if they should wait for Sholto, but the other men are like “nah”. Even though they made a big stink over needing to go through the door at the same time so that they wind up in the same place, it’s totally cool if Sholto just comes through after them.

I shook my head and whispered, “Goddess guide me, but I can’t leave him. I can still taste his skin on my mouth.”

THAT is why you can’t leave him, Merry? Because you can still taste his magic dick?

So Merry makes them all wait for Sholto. He’s running through the clover now, and is about to reach the trees when a tentacle reaches out from the sky and grabs hold of him. Sholto latches onto one of the trees and is suspended in the air as he’s being pulled toward the sky. Merry starts instinctually running toward him and gets a full sight of the creatures of the hunt. She starts screaming at the same time she sees Doyle cut through the tentacle holding Sholto with Frost’s sword, and Mistral starts attacking the hunt creatures with lightning.

Doyle pics Merry up and starts running toward the door with her while she’s still panicking from seeing the creature. They all make it to the door and the chapter ends with everyone stepping through.

Chapter 18

Chapter 18 begins with Merry and Co arriving in thin air.. In the middle of a circle of cops and FBI agents in the parking lot outside the sithen. Merry and Sholto are still naked… you know, I don’t think Merry has ever worn clothes this entire book. She’s been naked this whole time. Anyway…

The cops, like, don’t seem bothered at all by Merry and Co appearing randomly. They just instantly start asking after Merry’s well-being. Doyle tells them all to stay in their cars, as they are worried the hunt will follow them through the door, but the cops, being cops in a LKH book, of course start arguing with that. Doyle never actually tells them why they need to stay in their cars, though, and he then starts trying to shove Frost and Merry into one to protect them. Frost and Merry both start arguing over this, but Doyle is insistent. “If I die, if all of us die, if the others are gone into the ground for good, then you must survive. You must take her back to Los Angeles and not return.” He tells them. Neither will listen. They still argue over this.

“No,” I said to Doyle. “I am princess here, not you.”
“Your duty is to live,” Doyle said.
I shook my head. “If you die, I’m not sure I want to.”
He kissed me then, hard and fierce. I tried to melt into that kiss, but he tore himself away and slammed the door in my face.

Hah. Good on you, Doyle.

Merry starts freaking out and orders the cops to let her out. They, like EVERYONE ELSE IN THIS SERIES, ignore her, and instead start driving away. And Chapter 18 ends with Merry watching as the wild hunt breaks through the magical doorway, and Merry’s men start attacking it with their magic.

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