I’ve written (um, wait–I have to count and math is just NOT my thing) 18 pages so far this week, but I did not write a lick or a promise yesterday. This is because the brand new Laurell K. Hamilton book in the Meredith Gentry series, Stroke of Midnight, came out on Tuesday, my day in Amarillo, and I was able to go by Barnes & Noble and buy it.
I took it with me to my doctor’s appointment to read in the waiting and exam room during all that waiting one always winds up doing, and to Dairy Queen for a reward after, and made myself leave it in the car while I went to art class, then came home and finished it. Wednesday (yesterday), I picked the book up and read it all over again. I gobbled it down so fast on Tuesday, I had to read it again just to be sure I got all the good stuff.
I realize that there are a lot of readers out there who do not like Hamilton’s sidhe series and don’t much like the direction the Anita Blake series has taken, the last few books, but I’m not one of them. I love the books. Every single, blessed one of them. And I too (like Hamilton in her essay) find it funny that more people get all squidgy over the sex than the extreme violence.
Anyway, I got to thinking about these books which are just floating away on sex, and I got to thinking about another author, Stephanie Laurens, whose historical romances are also heavily laden with sex (though somewhat less kinky, she said in great understatement) which–well, leave me flat. I’ve read a number of them, and always wind up skipping huge chunks of the love scenes. So why do I love Hamilton’s books and not Laurens’s?
And after a fair amount of thought, I have decided that the difference is what those love scenes do, the purpose behind them. In Laurens’s books, they seem to be part of a layering process to show the hero seducing the heroine love scene by love scene into doing what he wants. The problem for me is that after the first one or two, it becomes overkill. “Oh geez, are they doing it again?” The love scenes stop adding to the story, or at least that’s how it feels to me. I’m sure there are plenty of others who disagree with me.
But in the Hamilton books, every love scene does something. It may create metaphysical bonds between vampire, human and shapeshifter, or awaken new magic in a sidhe lord whose magic is long dormant, or even “merely” deepen the relationship between two characters. In the latter case, Hamilton usually just gives us the one love scene and doesn’t repeat it again and again and again. At least not in the same book. Then again, it could be that each love scene lately seems to be with somebody different and that’s what I love about them. It is one of the things I like–but I don’t think it’s the main one. Again, lots of you will probably disagree with me, which is fine. Nobody has to like the same things I like. But I really do like Stroke of Midnight, and I’m glad Ms. Hamilton will have lots more coming. (And I’ve read it a third time since yesterday. I know, I know. But I did.)