Having just finished a re-read of the Merry Gentry books by LKH, I have Some Thoughts.

[I'm going to try and refrain from mention the two main points anyone brings up about these books: 1) They are terrible, and 2) They are loaded down with sex, all of it terribly-written. We know these things already. These are my other thoughts.]

1) Maybe the worst thing is that hidden deep within the first seven books, there is a legitimately good series hiding. You don't even have to cast aside the fact that the main plot is "racing to make a baby". Think about it: a series of books set in the Unseelie Court, where our heroine--a mortal sidhe princess whose father was murdered when she was a child, who is essentially friendless and ally-free--has to sacrifice her heart (and her womb) to keep herself alive and keep her people thriving, because if her batshit crazy pureblooded cousin gets the throne, she (and the Unseelie) are dead. I WOULD READ THAT BOOK. THAT BOOK IS INTERESTING. Court intrigue! Trying to keep a brave face before the human media, because Faerie integrated with humans hundreds of years ago and are trying to keep their own culture while living in a world that essentially isn't theirs anymore! Navigating treaties with the goblins and the lesser fey courts! Also sometimes she works as a private investigator! Those books sound like something I would read!

Sadly, these are not the books LKH is writing. But they're in there. If you squint. And maybe read them a little drunk.

2) I will tell you, after eight books, past a certain point, I legitimately do not know who half of these fuckers are. The main six lovers, fine, and a lot of the supporting cast--Andais, Cel, Kitto, Kurag, Barinthus, Essus, ad inifintum--are memorable to a point, but around book 3 she just starts hucking nature deities at you to knock Merry up and I literally--if someone can tell me the difference between Brii and Ivi, not counting their names or physical descriptions, I will give you an internet dollar. And there are piles of these guys! Adair! Amatheon! Crystall! Abeloec! And I know LKH bitches about not being able to kill people off because she loves them, but there is a really simple solution to that: do not keep throwing people at us like goombas on Super Mario Bros. Jesus.

3) Okay. Andais is Essus' sister; Cel is Andais's son, making him Merry's cousin. Meg is her grandmother, Besaba her mom, Eiluned her mom's twin, and Cair Eiluned's daughter. How the fuck is Taranis related to her? Who is he related to? Was he Andais and Essus's brother? He's not related to Besaba, because she's be caroling that shit from the rafters, so what? Uar the Cruel had another kid? WHAT? No, seriously, this is bugging me.

4) Haircuts! Haircuts for everyone! Either that, or use magic to unclog the drain, because all you fuckers have ankle-length hair.

5) I would read the shit out of Barinthus/Essus. Seriously, it's like a Victorian marriage, because Andais wouldn't let Barinthus come to court unless he was one of her guards and thus subject to the geas and UGH YOU GUYS COULD HAVE BEEN SO HAPPY.

(And then Barinthus wouldn't be throwing Galen into sliding-glass doors and being all "you need to fuck me so I can level up", which was not his finest moment.)

6) The pairing I'm most interested in now? Usna/Cathbodua. Comes out of nowhere in book 8, and I do not even care. I am totally rooting for the guy who's half-cat and the Celtic battle goddess that sometimes turns into a bird.

7) Possibly my favorite thing is when "Merry" drops some knowledge on us re: "The Troubles" or how Persia isn't really Persia. You can really tell when LKH has visited Wikipedia recently.

8) I do like that the Merry-verse is a lot more relaxed about people being not-entirely-heterosexual than the Anita-verse is, even if Merry occasionally says she gets pissy when people are in her presence and don't want to fuck her. (Inelegantly phrased, but yeah, that's the gist.) And hey, she's yet to mind-rape anyone into loving her! Baby steps!

9) I don't care how you couch it, Mistral freaks me the fuck out. He's BDSM Thor with a pain boner, you guys. Sexaaaaaay.

10) It's not even that it's badly written, or that the sex scenes are terrible and interminable; it's that entire descriptions are repeated over and over again. Seriously, she's just C&P'ing things from book to book, which is baffling. You already pad things out by writing never-ending sex scenes; don't do it again with goddamn character descriptions.

--that said, do I want book 9 to be out right now? FUCK YES.


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