Chapter 22 begins with everyone surviving the wild hunt. Oh hooray. This book would need to be more than 22 chapters if anyone had perished. Considering this book was ¾ sex, it might have made it better had some people died, honestly. I mostly do these reviews for the ridiculous sex scenes, but this book was a slog to get through. The last book ended with a few of her guards being accused of raping a Seelie sidhe, and we didn’t get anything about that. Nothing happened in this book.
Nothing happening in a LKH book is actually the biggest running theme of all her books.
Anyway, the dogs that appeared with Doyle stick around. They’re magical and their bodies change depending on who they’re standing near. Doyle has huge black hunting dogs. Abeloec has tiny white lapdogs. Mistral gets huge Irish wolfhounds.
Also, remember all the men who had disappeared after Merry fucked the first evil garden back to life? Oh they’re all magically back as well! Convenient! They all appeared in the Hallway of Mortality, where Andais had been already in the process of walling of Nerys’s people. Remember how Merry bargained their freedom and won it? Yeah, doesn’t matter, Andais gonna Andais and do what she wants.
So, Galen sees this happening and yells “No prisoners, no walls” which melts away all the walls in the Hallway.
“Onilywn and the queen herself- and some of her guard- are wrestling Cel even now,” Hawthorne said, “or he would be here already, trying to harm the princess.”
“He is quite mad,” Aisling said, “and he is intent on hurting all of us. But most especially you, Princess.”
“The queen told us to run back to the Western Lands. She’s hoping he’ll grow more calm with time,” Hawthorne said.
Doyle wants to stay and fight Cel, but he doesn’t think that Andais would let his death go unpunished, despite them fully being in the right to kill him if he attacks.
Andais then appears before them. She tells them that Cel has been subdued and will sleep for a time. She then orders Merry and Co to head back to LA. Merry agrees, but requests that she can take all the guards who want to come with her. Andais refuses to let Mistral go, saying the only way Mistral will ever leave her side is if Merry winds up pregnant.
“I do not know what to wish for anymore, Meredith. Your magic runs through my sithen, changing it into something bright and cheerful. There is a field of flowers in my torture chamber.”
“What do you want me to say, Aunt Andais?”
“I wanted the magic of faerie to be reborn, but you are not enough my brother’s daughter. You will make of us only another Seelie Court to dance and parade before the human press. You will make us beautiful, but destroy that which makes us different.”
Sholto then appears and tells Andais that he disagrees with her. That Merry will change the Unseelie Court, yes, but into something still to be feared by the Seelie. Andais then realizes the change in Sholto, and she realizes that he and Merry had sex.
“Amazing. Perhaps I will try him some night.”
Sholto spoke again. “There was a time, my queen, when the thought of a chance at your bed would have filled me with joy. But I truly know now that I am King Sholto of the Sluagh, the Lord of That Which Passes Between, Lord of Shadows. I will no longer take crumbs from the table of any sidhe.”
She made a sharp sound, almost a hiss. “You must be an amazing bit of ass, Meredith. One fuck with you and they all turn against me.”
Merry then demands that all of Cel’s guard who did not swear a vow to serve him be allowed to leave with her, and Andais starts to refuse before they all call her on her shit and force her to give into Merry’s demands. Andais finally relents, and says anyone who wants to join Merry may accompany her, but that Merry must leave immediately, that exact moment. Merry is still basically naked, remember? Actually, per Rhys, most of the guard are also naked and covered in blood.
Sholto agrees to take them back to LA, traveling among the shadows and the places in between. This actually sounds really cool, and I’d love to hear more about Sholto’s magical abilities, but you know we’ll never actually get that.
Anyway, they’re all readying to go when Merry realizes that Frost isn’t with them. They find Frost laying in the snow, unmoving. Merry reaches him and lightly kisses him, whispering “Frost, please, please don’t leave me.”
Frost briefly wakes up and reaches out for Merry, but then falls back into the snow. The rest of Merry’s guard approaches, and Rhys announces that since the wild magic had taken over this night, his powers as Cromm Cruach have returned, and he can help Frost heal. Rhys heals Frost, and they all start following Sholto, who leads them back to the warm air of LA. Sholto uses his magic to call for taxis, because that’s totally a power an ancient magical faerie should have, and the book ends with the taxis arriving.
We gave the taxies the address of Maeve Ree’s Holmby Hills house, and they drove. They didn’t even complain about the dogs. Now, that was magic.
I hate the way LKH ends her novels. I’m totally fine with one last chapter tying up loose plot ends, that’s a fine and dandy way to end a novel in a big series like this. No, what I’m talking about is how this book was only 22 fucking chapters, and 16 of them were Merry fucking. The rest were filled with everyone whining and complaining or dying, one small battle sequence, and an epilogue that ends with the most ridiculous “and everyone was okay and we all lived happily ever after” ever.
This book has a bullshit ending and I hate that it exists.