Mistral’s Kiss, by Laurell K. Hamilton

May 1, 2007

Anyone still reading Hamilton by now knows what to expect. Her short, tough, feminine, sexy, sassy main character will meet new, exciting, inhuman men with long hair and assorted neuroses. She will have lots of supernatural sex with these new guys while occasionally paying attention to the older boy toys. All of her boyfriends find her lovin’ good enough that they’re willing (with varying degrees of angst) to stick around and watch her sleep with anyone and everyone while not being allowed to get any of their own on the side. The sexcapades often manage to awaken new powers in everyone involved, most of those watching, and occasionally even their surroundings. Oh, and sometimes sex gives them new magic items, as if Hamilton is functioning as some really voyeuristic DM.

Mistral’s Kiss is a Merry Gentry book, so the erotica thing is a little more tolerable. This series has always been steamy, and at least Meredith has plot reasons for constantly sexing her harem. But the Anita Blake series’ descent into unreadability has been infecting the recent Merry books. Mistral’s Kiss includes a small amount of action and plot, but the character development mostly focuses on powering up the already badass team.

My biggest problem with the book was not necessarily the high amount of sex. Yeah, there was too much, especially for such a short novel. But Hamilton can’t even seem to manage decent erotica. The constant making out would be more tolerable if it wasn’t so repetitive and boring. Throwing in a few new bedmates with different kinks doesn’t keep the series fresh when Hamilton uses the same old descriptions from earlier books, and it doesn’t help that sex in this series is written exactly the same as all the getting it on in the Blake books. At this point, all you’d have to do to make a sex scene from one series fit perfectly in the other is change the names involved.

None of it was the slightest bit hot. As Hamilton’s books went from plot to porno, they stopped being things I encouraged my friends to read and became guilty pleasures. These days I take the new books out of the library when I’m bored and feeling perverse. For awhile I hoped that Hamilton was just going through a phase, but her poor reaction to criticism seems to be making her writing even worse. She isn’t getting any more of my money, but I’ll keep getting her books from the library.

It’s like a challenge for me now, I have to see how much worse they can get.


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