Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Divine Misdemeanors, by Laurell K. Hamilton

Meredith Gentry is back in LA working as a private detective, living with an unspecified number of exiles from the Unseelie court, and pregnant with twins. Someone is killing demi-fey--the small winged creatures humans think of when they think of "fairies"--and arranging the corpses to copy children's book illustrations.

Much of this book is perfunctory--less a novel and more a short story padded out with recaps of previous books in the series and re-introductions of the many different characters. Some new supernatural characters are introduced, including a "Jack-in-Irons" named Uther. A couple of characters gain new powers from Meredith, and a new sithen is produced magically, disguised as an apartment building, although that development happens entirely off-stage.

The only development of interest to the larger arc of the novels is that Meredith faces off against Barinthus, a former sea god who is regaining some of his former strength by living next to the ocean, and who wants to return to Faerie to rule with Meredith through power and fear. Meredith refuses and makes clear that he has obligations to contribute to the upkeep of the LA exiles. By the end of the book, Barinthus has eaten some of the humble pie he's been served.

As a measure of how thinly plotted this book is, there are three murder scenes, but no suspects until after the third one, and the novel is "solved" by the voluntary appearance of someone who rats on an acquaintance. So, basically, no mystery solving, no complexity to the crime. There are two perps, one of whom literally appears only at the end of the book after the informant has passed on what he knows. Meredith and her people go confront the bad guys, who are quickly killed after a short confrontation. The End.

Not worth the purchase price--if you have to read everything by Hamilton, get this from the library, read it at the bookstore, or wait until the inevitable clearance sale lowers the price on this one to under five bucks. Safe to skip--all the developments will be recapped in future novels. Read it with very low expectations to avoid inevitable disappontment. Less original than the widely reviled Micah.

Fans can hope that Hamilton is working on something meatier and that this is a contractual obligation; ex-fans can feel justified in their opinion that Hamilton has run out of ideas.


Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Truly, I have yet to read a Hamilton book. Mostly because as I recall, she is so danged prolific with so many books that I wouldn't even know where to start!

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