Literally too awful for words
I actually love the Merry Gentry books (as well as Anita Blake), but this book feels like she dashed it off with almost no thought. An extraordinarily unsatisfying ending to the series.
I wish I had skipped it so I could have continued to imagine anything I wanted, rather than trying to forget this wretched entry instead. If I’d bought the paper copy, I’d burn it just so that no one else would ever be duped into reading it.
It really makes me wonder - who the heck rated it 5 stars? They must have been paid. Because anyone who read the book would have noticed it was almost entirely devoid of plot, thought or care. Shame on her. And shame on her publishers - from whom I most certainly want a refund.
Decent for rabid fans
By Voracious bibliophile
Let me begin, with the fact that I have read all previous entries in the Merry Gentry series (which I love.) So, when I saw that there was another one as a fan I was super excited. So the question is should you buy the book? Absolutely, if you've read the other ones, if you haven't I would pass. Honestly, this book is really a rehash of previous story points, yes I know some things are furthered, but really not that far. It felt like an "in between" book. Catch you up, give you just enough to keep your interest, but really build for another book. Which I hope happens (fingers crossed.)
Yes because of a new reader or just to refresh those familiar with the Merry Gentry books, it's great to give a brief refresher on the history of the series & what transpired in the last 8 books. There is no reason that 2/3rd's of this book should be that alone. The book was stagnant with repetition and the parts that seemed to move the book along then seemed to hold no real substance and just seemed to be throw aways. I'm not sure who's to truly blame here. Either way, whether it be the publisher or Ms. Hamilton herself, give your readers & fans a bit more Respect and put work out that seems to have a bit more care given to the the storyline. There's a reason a ninth book has been written in this series, your fans love Merry Gentry and her band of men. Please show us that you love them too!
I have been a loyal LKH reader for YEARS. I'm done. Both series have the same issues of repetitiveness and over describing characters. LKH enough of your fans have complained about this and now you have lost one. You use to be a phenomenal author and I'm sure if you honestly cared about your characters like you say you do then maybe you would stop rushing through your stories and actually write some content instead of using fillers like the over use of character description.
Go ahead & skip to the last 2-3 chapters for the story. All chapters before that are just a summary if the previous books. I loved this series until this last book. I'm disappointed I waited 5 years for this.
Laurell K Hamillton never disappoints. It was great to read about Merry again. I hope she doesn't wait as long for the next one.
Not the best
By June Child
This was definitely not her best work. Her work is slowly and steadily becoming worse and worse. This book has precious little actual story to it...and of course needless sex. Needless as in you can't have sex after having babies!! Seriously, it was a pitiful way of working that in.
I love LKH and the majority of her books. I usually can't wait for one to come out, and then I devote myself entirely to the story until the end. But I am so disappointed. The ending was horrible, totally anticlimactic. The ending contradicts the rules that have played out throughout the rest of the series. And it was quickly pieced together without much thought. Another great series circling the drain.
The Reverse Princess Bride
A Shiver of Light is basically a slice of life novel focusing on Merry and her court from the last moments of Merry's pregnancy through the first couple of weeks with the children. It doesn't make much effort to be anything else and that would endear it to me somewhat if it wasn't such a slough. I can respect a book that looks me in face by page 14 or so and says, "Nope! There will be no plot. No mystery, no substance, no substantial story beats or character development whatsoever. I'm going to be pretty and pointless and when you put me down you'll never think of me again, but I shall at least be a pleasant, entertaining diversion while I'm here." Sadly, A Shiver of Light is less a pleasant diversion and more like the reverse Princess Bride. All the boring stuff and none of the good bits.
So, what makes a book with some fairly graphic sexual content, a decent amount of violence and a cast of dozens a total bore? Well, as it turns out, when you slap a book together from a batch of largely disconnected scenes, bother very little with transition, spend an excessive amount of time describing all the characters and what they each look like and wear and then make, quite literally, every single solitary person in the book act like they have no idea what the hell they're doing, and don't bother to put together anything even vaguely approaching a story arc then it really just doesn't make for a very good or entertaining read. The story, what there is of it, comes in drips and dabs with very little in terms of transition and flow to the point that the book feels less like a complete whole and more like a bunch of bullet points that got together to spawn short scenes that are often bulkier than they need to be and loaded with repetitious exposition. And when I say repetitious exposition what I mean is that the same primary characters are described basically the same way in several chapters in excessive detail despite the fact that the chapters occur hours or sometimes only minutes apart and offer little to no new information. Basically, the book acts as if the reader somehow has NO IDEA who these characters are or what they look like regardless of whether they are major or minor characters or how many times they've been seen already in the book. By book's end, you get somewhere in the ballpark of 1/8 of the book (and I'm probably being overly generous there as it certainly seems like more) devoted to descriptive dialogue about the relatively small cast of characters. Characters who are also strangely forgetful and apparently allergic to rational thought as they spend much of the book dithering over options about what to do with a problem like Taranis (the primary villain of the piece) and almost no time actually doing anything or even making any actual decisions. As a result the main conflict of the book resolves itself in the last ten pages of the book primarily through the power of the characters being generally incapable of remembering important information from one moment to the next.
This book does do a few things right. It doesn't feel like a dithering placeholder as did the last novel in the Merry Gentry series and thus progresses with at least a sort of general purpose and a comparative minimum of melodramatic shirt-wringing. Strangely the addition of children doesn't do much to change the overall vibe and dynamic of the character interactions, but they do a fair job of driving the narrative. Even if literally the ONLY time they're on page is when they're plot relevant which presumably explains the odd narrative pacing if you assume that every time it jumps about awkwardly it's because she had to go feed the babies. There are a couple of fun character moments in the book, but most of those moments are over far too quickly and it's back to business as usual. If you've read Hamilton's books (and the Merry Gentry books in particular) before then you know what to expect and most of the usual fobbiles are represented here including, but not limited to: vast amounts of exposition regarding events from previous books (and occasionally events that occurred literally two chapters ago), character overload, exposition and description repetition, long conversations about insecurities, random sexual interludes, excessive cuddling, so many feelings and a need to talk about them constantly.
So, in conclusion, I strongly recommend avoiding this book like the plague. If you want to know what happens with the characters just read the inevitable wikipedia summary as pretty much everything that actually happens in this book can be summed up in a couple of paragraphs. Save your time, energy and money for something that's more worthy of it.
By C Reader
After the long hiatus since Divine Misdemeanors, I was hoping that Hamilton return to faerie would either bring the series to a thoughtful conclusion or show her commitment to continuing its earlier greatness with new mysteries, character development and story arcs. Regrettably, this book did very little of either.
While it was great to finally meet the babies, there was too much backstory filler from previous installments, and very little plot or pacing. Those familiar with LLK knows that she will either use death or sex to advance her stories, but her use of death in Shiver of Light is abrupt and rushed in the last few chapters of the book. This book makes wish she had left well enough alone after Swallowing Darkness.