A Shiver of Light Audiobook by Laurell. K. Hamilton (Review)

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in Reviews | 33 comments

Review of: A Shiver of Light Audiobook
Laurell K. Hamilton

Reviewed by:
On July 23, 2014
Last modified:November 10, 2015


A Shiver of Light Audiobook

By: Laurell K. Hamilton

Narrated by: Charlotte Hill

Published by: Penguin Audio 06/03/2014

A Shiver of Light Audiobook Cover

A Shiver of Light Audiobook Sample


2.5 Stars rating

Meredith Gentry Series, book 9

12 hrs and 42 mins

Whispersync Β for Voice-ready

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My Thoughts

By Ml Simmons

This is a really hard review for me to write. I’ve been a huge fan of both the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series for many years. I’ve stuck by Ms. Hamilton while I’ve watch many people I know leave because the amount of sex in her books has increased to such an extent. I’ve never had issues with the amount sex in the books, though I will admit some stories were missing a plot outside of sex. I also read/listen to erotica, so that was never an issue for me. However, that is not to say that I don’t have complaints about the books. Many of the issues that I’ve had, I have been able to overlook because I felt that I could focus on how much I enjoyed the story and especially, the characters. However, my annoyances with Ms. Hamilton’s writing styles are starting to outway the quality of the characters and story, in my opinion.

First, the lack of continuity of the facts throughout the series. In this book, it is mentioned that Kitto isn’t able to bite Merry because his bite is poisonous, but in a previous book, he bit her to share flesh as part of the bargain with Kurag, goblin king. There is also talk of Frost’s former love, Rose, and her mother, also named Rose. The book mentions that they are dead, but in a previous book the mother is still alive at the Seelie Court. I know that you can’t always remember everything about every character you write, but this has become a large issue for Ms. Hamilton in both series and is happening more frequently as of late. In an Anita book, a character’s name even changed. That is unacceptable to me. Once I started noticed this issue, they now stick out like a sore thumb to me.

Second, the excessive descriptions of the persons features and clothing. This has always been something Ms. Hamilton has done. She makes sure you know the height, hair and eye color of every single character and many times throughout every book in the series. There is also a great deal of page time spent describing the fashions that each person is wearing. This is one of those things that I have always written off as part of her writing style and just dealt with it.

With this book in particular, these two issues really bothered more than normal for a couple of reasons. One, I have been waiting five years for the next Merry book, so I was extremely excited about a new story in this world. Then I start reading and the first two thirds of the book is almost a recap of the first eight books and Merry having kids. At 32% into the book, Merry had had her babies, left the hospital and spoken with her Aunt on the mirror. That was pretty much it. Tons of dialogue, lots of descriptions and rehashing everything that is going on in previous books. I had gone through and done a complete relisten to the series this year as a refresher, I didn’t need the first half of the book to do that for me. Even if I hadn’t done it, it was too much, in my opinion. That being said, once we started having actual stuff happening, the political plotting wasn’t too bad. There is a huge spoiler that I saw prior to reading. I had seen what the event was, but not who it involved on Twitter. It is not an event that I’m happy with, but I think it at least has a point in the overall story, so I’m okay with it. I don’t want to say more about, so as not to spoil it for anyone, but it was not the best I’ve ever seen this type of event written. It didn’t have the “feels” that I thought should go with it. I know that is very vague, but once again, I don’t want to spoil this for anyone who wants to read it.

I wanted to like this book so bad, but it just wasn’t up to what I expect from a Merry Gentry book, especially after a five year hiatus. I guess I needed more new story and less dialogue discussing the past; Frost’s former love, killing Cel, Rhys’s new sithen, the battle with the Nameless, etc. I would’ve liked more action, less dialogue and reminiscing. I will say that the overall story arc doesn’t end with this book. I’m still interested to see where Ms. Hamilton takes Merry and her men. A lot happens, big things, in the last quarter of the book, so should be interesting. I’m still not ready to give up on this series or Ms. Hamilton yet.

Author Laurell K. Hamilton

Author Laurell K. Hamilton

Laurell K. Hamilton was born in Heber Springs, Arkansas but grew up in Sims, Indiana, a hamlet with a population of about one hundred souls. Laurell’s mother died in a car crash in 1969, after which time her grandmother held the household together. Her mother’s death, her grandmother’s role in raising her, and having grown up with no men in the home are “the three things that made me who I am,” she says. She still believes she would have grown up to be a writer regardless.



No image for narrator Charlotte Hill. It appears this is her one and only title to this date. It could also be that she narrated, A Shiver of Light under a pseudonymous.

A Shiver of Light Audiobook Narration

Reviewed by Ml Simmons

This part is really hard for me too. They changed narrators from the person who has normally narrated this series. While I don’t think Charlotte Hill did a bad job, I really dislike changes in narrators this late in a series. She made a lot of changes to the way some of the names were pronounced. I don’t know which narrator had the correct pronunciation, but the change was difficult for me. One character it took me a few minutes to even figure out who it was because of the pronunciation of his name was so different. If this was book one of the series and not book nine, I think she would’ve been fine. She did fine with both men and women. She put the emotion into the stories. There were some scenes where Merry was sobbing, you could hear it in her voice.

Reviewed by:

ML Simmons Reviewer

  • 2.5
    editor rating
Loupe Duffy
A mom, a wife, a friend, a happy ending addict, an Audiobook junkie, a wine lover and geek wanna -be. I'm constantly looking to be blown away.
Loupe Duffy

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  1. This one sounds disappointing. I was one that started holding off on reading the books when I noticed there wasn’t a plot anymore, just tons of sex.

    • This one didn’t have much sex, because of the delivery of the babies. Merry wasn’t allowed sex. They do eventually figure out that there are other options and there is much discussion about who will be the first and then the second in Merry’s bed. LKH amazes me at how a sex scene can start and then stop because of a massive amount of dialogue. That is one reason her books are mostly sex scenes, there is too much dialogue going on before and during.

  2. I am just not sure this is the series for me. I did go hear her talk and she is fascinating but the more I read I just don’t think this series and I would be a good fit.

    • I’ve always enjoyed this series until this book, but it is not a series for everyone.

  3. That’s what I was afraid of . . . I’m sorry, Melanie πŸ™ At least we still have Anita right? I thought the last installment was as good as the books prior to book 12. After that I kept reading, and I thought they were pretty good, but I didn’t LOVE them the way I had previously. I think I might be done with Merry for now though. Maybe if it’s another 5 years before we a new book in this series, I’ll be ready to try again.

    • I know. I was so looking forward to this book and then I kept reading and it was all pointless dialogue. As for the Anita book, while I still enjoy them, sometimes I feel like I’m in therapy while I read them. I mean even Edward was talking in therapy speak in Affliction. I will still keep reading. I’m not ready to give up yet, even though I know many others have. I might no do the relisten right beforehand to see if that helps for the next book.

  4. I LOVED it!!! Reviewed it for LJ πŸ˜‰

    • I’m glad you enjoyed. I’m really hoping that we don’t have to wait as long for the next one.

  5. I read the first three books of this series but quit after people started saying it’s getting worse. I don’t want to fall into a trap where I invested time and money on something that will eventually flop.

    The shift in her series would make for a great hard hitting interview though. I’m curious to find out the reason behind the sexed up books

    • That would make for a great interview. I can say that from reading her blog, it appears to me that she is more comfortable with her own sexuality, as she has come out as being polyamorous herself. I don’t know for sure, but it would make for a great interview.

  6. This is so disappointing. I knew from posts that LKH had a hard time working with Merry in her head, maybe that is why it didn’t work well? That big of a time difference between books is also going to be a killer because I just don’t have time to reread, so maybe the first section won’t bother me so much. I really want to like this, but the reviews coming in are just not good. I absolutely hate it when they change narrators. They just did that in the Alien Huntress series by Gena Showalter and it totally turned me off. After 5 books, you shouldn’t change the narrator on the last one.

    • This narrator wasn’t bad, she was just different and that is so hard when you’ve listened to the same narrator for seven books (there was a different narrator for Swallowing Darkness, too). I think I’m going to avoid the relisten before the next book.

  7. Such a shame πŸ™ I haven’t read Laurell K Hamilton yet, but I have heard the frustration about too much sex, not enough story etc. But to have such glaring errors and incongruities is really bad. I think I’ll stick with her earlier work when I do finally read Hamilton. Sorry it was such a disappointment.

    • I’ve never had much issue with the amount of sex, though I know many others had. In the stories where the amount of sex got to be too much, I just skimmed through those parts and got back to the story. I just love the characters, it makes me sad that the other things are making the story hard for me to follow. I hope you get a chance to try her sometime. I do still like her books overall and the early works are phenomenal.

  8. I don’t blame you for your feelings on this book Melanie, especially after a five year wait! I’ve heard great and horrible things about LKH’s writing so I never bothered to pick up her books but haven’t completely written them off until I actually read one. I love detail but not when the focus is on physical appearance or style, it just takes away from what could be a great story. Sorry this wasn’t what you expected, hope the next book can make you forget about this one! πŸ™‚

    • I’m not ready to give up on her or the series yet. She was one of my favorite authors for years. While other authors have crept higher in the ranks to push her down the list, I still think she is a great author.

  9. I really really wanted to love this one too. I’m like you. I’ve stuck with them and enjoyed most of the sexy bits added in to the Anita ones though it does overshadow the storyline in some of them more than I’d prefer. But for the Gentry ones I LOVE the heat. I got about halfway through this one before putting it down for another day. Nothing was happening and the heat wasn’t even there. Was a definite let down for me because I’d gobbled up ALL of the others in the series. Multiple times. lol Sorry to hear you had some issues with it too :/

    • I will say that the story got better towards the end. Stuff actually starts happening. If you made it halfway through, I would suggest that if you have a chance to pick it back up and try to finish. It does get better at the end. Sorry you had the same issues.

      • I’m sure I’ll pick it up again. I didn’t mark it as a DNF just kinda put it aside for a spell. I’ll give it a go in a few months probably πŸ™‚ Glad it picked up some there at the end!

  10. Hmm, I feel your pain, but those inconsistencies would have me pulling my hair out!

    • It amazed me at how much little details made me angry. I never guessed that it would upset me as much as it does. You would think she would hire someone to check these things in her books.

  11. You’re like one of the only bloggers I know who’s still on the Hamilton bandwagon. I’m sorry to hear that this installment was a disappointment for you. You’re a real trooper for not calling it quits even after this book. Then again, that’s why it’s called a series addiction, right? Hehe

    • I know and I am still not going to give up on her. At one time she was my favorite author, that is no longer the case. I’m hoping that the Merry series is maybe just rusty from five years of not writing it. *fingers crossed*

  12. Well that’s too bad. I HATE inconsistencies though. That would seriously bug me.

    • Yeah. I’m like looking for them now, which isn’t good either.

  13. I couldn’t agree more with your review, after that long wait this book was a complete letdown.

    • I’m hoping the next book will be better and the hiatus is the cause for everything. Maybe she needed to revisit everything.

  14. The reviews are quite mixed about this one and I’m so sad because I expected a lot about it mainly after so long but it seems like it’s not the case. I have the book but I still need to read it so we’ll see.

    • I’ve seen the mixed reviews too. There are things that happen that you would want to know before going to the next book, so I would say to read it if you plan to continue the series, which I plan to do. I hope you enjoy it more than I did.

  15. I’m a huge fan of LKH I loved Anita Blake and seriously was majorly bummer with the downfall of that series that I had to take about break after book 19. I’m going to get back into but not sure when anymore. I loved Merry’s series but it started that repetition like Anita’s did where the characters were not focused on enough.

    I’m bummerd that the whole book for you was a huge refresh and not really getting back into the storyline. I hope the next ones better and am glad you didnt give up on the series yet πŸ™‚

    • There was some stuff that happened towards the end. Many of my friends have given up on both series, but I’m just not ready yet. She helped get me back into heavy reading, so I’m pretty loyal to her. I’m hoping that the writing hiatus just made writing hard on her and that it will get better with the next book. Glad you haven’t given up yet either.

  16. I have been an audiobook listener for almost 14 years now, so I do agree that changing narrators during a series is unsettling. That said, having just listened to the entire series for the second time straight through this time, though Laurel Merlington did a good job with the books, she WAS mispronouncing many of the Celtic names repeatedly, and was NOT consistent from book to book with the pronunciations she used. Then Claudia Black’s performance in “Swallowing Darkness” (book 7) illuminated how the Celtic characters should have actually sounded, making Laurel Merlington’s performance in “Divine Misdemeanors” (book 8) even worse (her voice also sounds weaker and higher pitched, as if her voice has been damaged over the years). Claudia Black even did a good job with the American accents as well, but Charlotte Hill NAILS IT!!!

    All the Celtic characters are distinct and correct to the characters actual mythological locations – which are all over England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. Even her rendition of Merry’s voice works, sounding like a person raised in America surrounded by people whose accents are from various British Isles would, which was probably only due to Charlotte Hill her forcing the American accent over her own.

    All of that said, this book was disappointing. After waiting 5 years to find out what happens with Merry’s pregnancy, there is no “birth” story at all really. Her water breaks, and BAM babies. Given the majority of LKH fans are women of motherhood age, this was a let down. There are also mistakes as other commenters have pointed out, like Kitto’s bite. There are some touching moments surrounding her American soldiers, but not NEARLY enough elaboration on whats happening with them and their newfound healing abilities via Merry’s bloody nails. Not enough character development of all the new people she’a brought into this book, and their interactions with each other being forced to live altogether on Maeve’s estate, and definitely not enough description of how “Faerie” is growing on the estate.

    Previous books were saturated with vivid descriptions of how Merry’s magic changes their surroundings, adaptations of real Celtic myth, and beautifully sculpted AHA moments for the main characters. Generally this book, is just alot of Merry’s circular internal dialoging, everyone’s woe is me-ing, and not enough storyline or plot development.

    Thankfully, did LKH made comment recently to a fan question that indicates this is NOT the last Merry Gentry book.. soooooo we shall see. Hopefully they keep Charlotte Hill has narrator.

    • I’m probably not going to continue with this series. After listening to this, I tried the next to Anita Blake books and had several of the same issues with the story. I’m not happy about walking away from a favorite author, but her stories are nothing like they used to be. I have so many new authors to try. Thanks for all the points that you made. There are several things in there that I wasn’t aware of, like the pronunciations.

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