And if it amuses anyone, as I’m writing this I’m listening to “If You’re Not the One” by Daniel Beddingfield; it’s been stuck in my head.
So, Merry gave up the crown of Faerie in Swallowing Darkness and she and her encourage moved out to L.A. However, that doesn’t mean that Faerie is done with her. Far from it. She is still a vessel of the Goddess and she is still fighting in Divine Misdemeanors.
The main plotline of the novel is that someone is killing the lesser fey and Merry still feels that it is her responsibility to warn the fey and help figure out who is behind the murders. The murders are somewhat gruesome because someone is taking images from children’s books and copying them with the demi-fey and brownies. Very creepy when you think about it. What better way to ruin a childhood memory.
The title of the post comes from Merry’s responsibility to warn the lesser fey. When I cast characters as royalty, my good ones act like Merry does. They feel responsible for the people under them and don’t treat them as lesser or inferior beings. It isn’t sport for them to torture the people who serve them or demand their adoration. The royalty are adored because they are just and fair. And compared to her relatives, Merry could only be a better alternative, even if she possessed some of their nastiness. Part of this is explored because of her mixed heritage- sidhe, brownie, human. She isn’t one, but many and it makes her more aware of those she is responsible for.
She is also still facing opposition. Outside opposition comes from Gilda, the Fairy Godmother of L.A. And she is the godmother of the lesser fey, not a fairy godmother to humans; there is no such thing as a fairy godmother, like in Cinderella. Gilda is trying to turn the situation into a battle of queens and Merry just wants everyone safe. It’s amazing what power does to these people. Although, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The other opposition comes from within her camp. Her father’s friend, Barinthus, is unhappy that Merry and Doyle gave up the crowns of Faerie in order to save Frost and he is also resentful that he hasn’t recieved his full powers back the way some of the other fae have. It is another example of “power corrupts.” With him and with others, Merry steps up and refused to back down. Even if she didn’t accept the title, she is still acting like a queen and I think that says more about her than having the title.
This book also has more exploration of what happened under Andias and Cel. One noble was tortured into a bloody ruin. Merry saved him and his body healed but his mind is broken and even though he’s only in a few chapters, it hurts my heart to read what happened to him and what he is compared to the other sidhe around him. The female guards that stay with Merry also have issues to deal with because Prince Cel (may he rest in… well, actually, may he burn forever) sexually tortured them. One female guard has a bad reaction to being hugged from behind because Cel used to grab them and throw them on the bed. There is still a lot of healing that has to happen and I think it would be interesting to explore it.
Other characters get time too. Galen gets a bigger role in this one. I like him because he is a little naive and innocent, and not as hardened as some of the other guards. Rhys gets his own sithen even if he doesn’t know what it does yet. And Merry’s alliances with the goblins and the demi-fey may be in danger, but that isn’t explored, just hinted at. It might be the focus of the next book.
One other thing that I like is that Hamilton gives a wrap-up at the end of the book. Life is heading in this direction. It’s enough to sum up the book and provide closure if she doesn’t write another book, but it doesn’t close it up so completely that there is no possibility of another book. If that makes sense.