Cody was incredibly sweet and allowed me to open one of my birthday presents early: Laurell K. Hamilton's Blood Noir. I finished it too quickly to put it up on my Shelfari bookcase (and a week before my actual birthday!). However, I got to do what I wanted: read two of my favorite author's new releases back-to-back.
It was decadent. Two known good authors in a row, with familiar characters, was fabulous. What stood out, though, were the differences.
In Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Mercy the story unfolds over months, deeply rooted in the character's histories and environment, while Hamilton's novel takes place in less than a week's time, and is focused more on the impact of the present events on the future.
Their writing styles are so vastly different that it was almost jarring. Carey has fluidity and almost poetic prose; Hamilton is harder—not harder to read, but hard as in tough-as-nails, gritty. Both had more than the average novel's worth of sex, treated in strikingly different ways. They also both dealt with themes of love, but coming at it from such different angles as to make them barely recognizable when held up next to each other.
It's so hard for any book to follow Carey's, but Hamilton's was a good bridge between Carey and the unknown authors on my shelves. I no longer feel the need to hold off on reading anything else with the idea of lingering in Carey's world. Of course, another Carey novel is coming out later this month...