And we’re back with the sixth book in the Merry Gentry series, A Lick of Frost. Before we get started on this new set of reviews, let’s recap what happened in book five, Mistral’s Kiss:
Seriously, nothing of any value at all happened in that last book. Merry had sex a few times, an evil garden swallowed some of her men, she fucked Sholto in another evil garden, Sholto flipped out and loosed the Wild Hunt on everyone but then was himself attacked, everyone was saved, the end. It was 22 chapters of just enough nothing to piss me off. Good fucking riddance, book.
This one likely won’t be much better.
Remember in the last chapter of book four, the Seelie sidhe had accused a few of Merry’s men of raping one of the Seelie? Remember how this was hardly mentioned in Mistral’s Kiss? Well, we’re back to it, I guess. I just don’t give a shit about this stupid plot already, so to start the book off bringing us back to something the author clearly doesn’t think is important (as why else would she not bother mentioning it beyond just a throwaway line in the last book?) is already telling to me. I reread this book like 3-4 years ago, so I should have some memory of it, but I do not, at all.
Anyway, the book starts off with Merry sitting with Frost and Doyle surrounded by lawyers back in LA. The official human ambassador to Faerie, some jerk named Stevens, is there as well. This whole chapter is fairly confusing as there’s too many lawyers involved, and I have no idea who’s supposed to be representing whom. We have Simon Biggs and Thomas Farmer (who are part of a firm called Biggs, Biggs, Farmer, and Farmer and I already hate it). Then there’s US Attorney Michael Shelby. There’s also a ADA of Los Angeles county Pamela Nelson and her boss, Miguel Cortez. And an Albert Veducci, who is the US attorney for St. Louis. And Grover, his assistant. There are just too many throwaway people in this chapter, and LKH spends a good few pages describing each of them. Look, I don’t care what they look like since this is probably the only time we’ll be meeting them, and also all the dialogue in this chapter is so confusing I have no idea who is supposed to be representing Merry and who is representing the Seelie sidhe/King Taranis.
Shelby immediately accuses Merry and Co of using a glamour on them, because everyone in the room is reacting pretty strongly. They’re not, but of course it takes them several pages of dialogue to convince them otherwise. It’s because Merry is now gaining so much power and becoming more sidhe that her natural presence is becoming overwhelming for regular humans. Merry also, for some dumb reason, starts picking on the only other female in the room, Pamela Nelson, because she’s been staring at Frost/Doyle. This is some bullshit.
I looked at Nelson, but it wasn’t me distracting her; her problem was behind me.
“Which one are you staring at the most?” I asked. “Frost or Doyle; light or dark?”
She blushed in that pretty way human redheads have. “I’m not…”
“Come, Ms. Nelson, confess, which one?”
Eat shit, Merry. Merry super cannot handle when anyone treats her men as sexual objects, and whenever she catches another female (or male, I guess, she picked on some dude in another novel for lusting after her men) staring at her men. She immediately has to call them out on it in this seriously shitty jealous way. I hate this sort of behavior in regular people, so why in the world LKH thinks this is a good trait for Merry is just beyond me.
Ambassador Stevens then makes it pretty fucking clear that he is only loyal to the Seelie sidhe and finds the Unseelie sidhe monstrous. He’s supposed to be the government ambassador to all of Faerie, so sounds like he’d fit right in with the current administration. Merry notices that when Stevens talks, he keeps touching a watch he’s wearing. Merry deduces that this watch was a gift from Taranis and is likely bespelled. She accuses Stevens of accepting gifts from Taranis, which everyone but our current government administration knows is illegal, and Stevens flips out, accusing Merry of lying. Accusing her guards of radiating evilness and power, trying to frighten him into submission.
Doyle and Frost eventually move closer to Stevens, since he’s getting all riled up, and all hell breaks loose. Stevens starts screaming in pure terror, again thinking that Doyle and Frost are basically pure monsters. The magic on Stevens’s watch jumps onto the other lawyers in the room and Merry yells at them to turn their jackets inside out as a way to break the glamour. Once their jackets are flipped, the lawyers are able to look at Merry and Co and see them as just beautiful beings, but not pure magic like they saw before. Because of this, and because of Stevens’s reaction to Merry and Co, they finally understand that he’s under a spell and needs to get away from them ASAP.
Finally, they get to actually talking about the rape accusations. Finally.
“We are all h ere today to see if the charges that King Taranis filed on behalf of the Lady Caitrin should be followed up with more formal proceedings. Cooperation would give strength to the princess’s guard’s denials.”
“Since all of the guards have diplomatic immunity, we are here out of courtesy,” Biggs said.
“We do appreciate that,” Verducci said.
“Do bear in mind,” Shelby said, “that King Taranis has stated that all of the queen’s guard, and now the princess’s guard, are a danger to everyone around them, most especially women. He stated that this rape did not surprise him. He seemed to think it was the inevitable outcome of allowing the queen’s Raven Guard unlimited access even inside faerie. Once of the reasons he brought these charges to the human authorities, an unprecedented action in all the history of the Seelie Court, is that he feared for us. If a sidhe noble of Lady Caitrin’s magical powers could be so easily taken, then what hope did mere humans have against their… lusts?”
“Unnatural lusts,” I said.
Shelby shifted his gray eyes to me. “I did not say that.”
“No, you didn’t, but I’m betting my uncle Taranis did.”
Shelby continued to explain that Taranis believes the years of forced celibacy have made the guard dangerous to all women, as they have become insane with lust. Biggs, who turns out is representing Merry, explains that the three guards who have been accused (Rhys, Galen, and Abeloec) are three of Merry’s lovers, and their forced celibacy has ended. Either way, Shelby thinks that the accusations are enough to get all of Merry’s men confined to the lands of faerie, based on some stupid Jeffersonian law.
Oh yeah, remember that? All of the fey migrated from Europe to the U.S. during Jefferson’s presidency. As if that’s not problematic enough.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter who of the lawyery-sort is talking in this chapter because it’s such a huge confusing jumble that I just don’t care enough to bother. One of the lawyers tells the other that all the royals are exempt from that ‘confide to faerie’ law, which then is further explained that since Merry is boinking them all and at any moment could be pregnant by their mega-faerie sperm, any of them are considered her consort, thus royal. This is so stupid and takes forever to explain because we’re yet again learning all this through boring dialogue because we’re apparently too stupid to follow otherwise.
This book is off to a great start, huh?
There’s some more nonsense about how the fey can’t lie (of COURSE there is), and how the King is above the law of lies, or whatever. So to lie is to be cast out of faerie, but since the King/Queen make the laws of faerie, they can lie. Except they can’t lie because the fey don’t lie. Except when they want to lie to protect the King/Queen/each other. Which then isn’t a lie because they cannot lie. I hate this series so goddamn much.
The chapter is still going. This chapter is like 50 fucking pages long and it’s all BORING.
Oh cool, we then rehash everything we’ve already learned, because apparently the chapter has bored us out of remembering any of the previous pages:
“So the celibacy was the motive for the rape,” I said.
“That seems to be the king’s reasoning,” Shelby said. “We haven’t looked for a motive beyond the usual for rape.”
THE USUAL FOR RAPE.
Anyway, the chapter finally ends with Merry being asked to go on record about how terrible Taranis’s court is, and she does and this hell can finally end. Except chapter 2 is just as bad 😦