BOOK & BLOG
October 28, 2007
Book of the Week: Laurell K. Hamilton’s A LICK OF FROST
This week I took a break from my “have-to” reading to immerse myself in Laurell K. Hamilton’s A LICK OF FROST. Getting into Hamilton’s USA-with-faerie scenario is like jumping off a boulder into a deep lake; you hold your breath, and you leap in. What I love about Hamilton’s writing is her total commitment to the world she’s created.
Anita Blake, Hamilton’s other famous protagonist, wouldn’t survive long in Meredith Gentry’s life. Meredith’s life is all about paying attention to subtle cues, keeping your mouth shut, and avoiding fights unless they’re absolutely necessary. These are not Anita’s characteristics. Yet the two women have some things in common: they are both bent on survival, they’re both trying to find a balance for the men in their life, and there are lots of those men, for one reason or another. Oh they’re both short and they’re both proficient with weapons, though their choice of weapons is very different.
FROST picks up within a few weeks of where the last book ended. Meredith and her bodyguards are living in the guest house of Maeve Reed, a movie star who happens to be fae, and Meredith is on the point of consummating her treaty with Holly and Ash, the terrifying goblins, when she’s abducted by her insane uncle, King Taranis, who publicly blames the beating she takes on Merry’s own bodyguards.
I don’t want to give away any of the big plot points in the story and there are at least two that are really startling but the huge and sprawling cast of characters definitely moves into a decisive phase of the story of Meredith and her accession to the Unseelie throne. There’s a possibility she might add the Seelie throne to that, too.
As usual, more things happen to Meredith in a 24-hour period than happen to other people in a couple of years . . . or ten. If she can survive this phase of her life, she can survive anything!
I love my trips into either of Hamilton’s world, and I enjoy sharing the adventures of either of her protagonists. FROST was a wonderful vacation.
My last big trip of the year is coming up this week. On Halloween, I’ll fly to Boston to stay with my friend and collaborator Toni L.P. Kelner, and we’ll drive up to Saratoga Springs together for World Fantasy. I’ve never seen upstate New York, and I’m really looking forward to the drive, especially since it’s fall and I have a good chance of seeing the fabled leaves.
Leaves around here don’t have the dramatic and beautiful changes I’ve seen in pictures of New England. For one thing, there are a lot of pines here, and they just sit there shedding needles. For another thing, we don’t normally have the abrupt shifts in temperature that trigger the color changes, or at least that’s how I understand it.
Someone’s already told me that the leaves will be on the ground by next weekend, but I’m trying to ignore that inconvenient piece of advice. I want to see fall color!
I’m also looking forward to Toni’s company. We’re having a signing at Flights of Fantasy, a science fiction store, on Thursday evening, and we’ll take part in the mass signing on Friday night. I hope we see a lot of readers; I’m limbering up my signing hand. I don’t mind signing old books at all. I’ve run across writers who have all kinds of strictures on what they’ll sign: some don’t like to sign paperbacks, or books clearly purchased at a secondhand store, or more than three books. I feel delighted when I get a big stack to sign, and I don’t care where they came from. If there are really a lot of books, and I have a long line, I might request that you get back in line to get the overage signed, but I’d be glad to see you again. That’s just a courtesy to the others who have also been waiting. Other than that, bring it on!
Since this signing at Flights of Fantasy got added rather late to the itinerary, I didn’t have it on the calendar. I’ll try to correct that by having Dawn put a notice up. The store is at 488 Albany-Shaker Road, Loudonville, NY, and the signing begins at 7:00. There are a skew of other signers, including Lois McMaster Bujold and Anne Bishop, so Toni and I will be in great company. Flights of Fantasy has a website, of course, and they’re having all kinds of fantasy writers in that weekend, so check it out.
Have a great Halloween, in the meantime. Be sure to carry flashlights, have a good look at your kid’s candy, and make them say “Thank you.” Our rule was that if we didn’t hear our children say “Thank you,” we got the candy. We were remarkably mean parents.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris