Let me start this off by saying that Laurel K Hamilton's husband is either the luckiest man on Earth or the unluckiest. It all depends on whether she uses him for research for her books or her entire sex drive is channelled into her books. If it's the former than the man is very sore but with a permanent smile on his face. If it's the latter than the poor schmuck only gets to read about the glorious things his wife comes up with.
That out of the way, Lick Of Frost is my favorite Merry Gentry book yet. It's not the best. That distinction goes to either the first or second book in the series but LOF is the first book since then with any serious plot or character movement since then. It's been sex, sex, sex, a little upping of power levels for random characters, and then sex, sex, sex. Maybe I'm just not the target audience for the sex part being a gay male. To her credit, the unrelenting straight sex does make more sense over here than in the Anita Blake books. Since Merry was trying to conceive, any other form of sex would be counter-productive. That's even covered in the stories. Over in the Anita Blake series even the gay characters (what few there are) have breeder sex with Anita. I suspect Ms Hamilton doesn't really understand what it is that makes gay men gay. If she reads this let me take a moment to explain it: Gay men have sex with men. I'll give a slight pass because of the whole mystic aphrodisiac aspect of Anita's curse but the aftermath should be about the same as having unwanted sex forced on you.
Anywho, there really isn't a character featured in LOF that doesn't have their character advanced in some way (negatively in a few cases) and the plot has finally hit the point where things are interesting again. I'm not happy with how Hamilton got rid of one of the two main contenders for Merry's heart but it works within the context of the story and fairly legend as well. Heck, even the parentage of the long awaited child (see? That's a spoiler despite my dislike of actually putting any in things I write) makes sense from fairy legend. It solves a lot of the problems about the Royal Consort and where some favorite characters will end up should Merry actually have the kid (and that's in about twenty years at the glacial pace the books are moving in). I even loved the bits where Andais backslid a whole lot. It added drama but it also made a lot of sense when it comes to the character's through line. It also acted as a good counterpoint to Taranis. Andais hates most everything about Merry and the deal she has had to broker with her mortal niece. Andais loves the Unseelie Court more than her own dark needs and wants and ensuring its fertility and survival means more to her than seeing her beloved son on the throne or Merry's death and/or torture. Love or hate her character, Andais is a queen in every sense of the word. Taranis, king of the Seelie Court, is her opposite in every way. He cares for himself and his position above all else. If Andais discovered she were infertile and thus poisoning the Unseelie is there any doubt she would have stepped down then and there? Taranis' actions continue to get darker as he tries to hide the fact he is probably dooming the Seelie Court. I liked the fact that the return of magic to the courts has singled out the madman as an oathbreaker (one of the true sins of Fairy) and is punishing him on its own. Good writing all around, Ms Hamilton.
Have you given up on the Merry books as Fairy how to books about sex? I implore you to pick this up post haste. Have you been anywhere between deliriously happy and tolerant with the past few books? Lick Of Frost is your reward and then some. You owe it to yourself to read this book but I have no doubt you already have.
Now bring on the Jason book and the next installments for both Anita and Merry. My love for Laurel K Hamilton's writing has been rewarded and my longing for a new book from her has been recharged like never before!