The series has revolved around a conflict between title character, faerie princess Meredith NicEssus, and her cousin, Cel. Cel's mother, Queen Andais, has promised that the first of the two cousins to produce a child will become ruler of the Unseelie Court. Mistral's Kiss continues to follow Meredith's attempts to bear a child and to avoid Cel's various schemes.
Picking up where the previous novel, A Stroke of Midnight, left off, Meredith and company are still holed up in the underground fairy mound of the Unseelie Court, with the princess still trying to get pregnant. Mistral, one of the queen's guards, is on temporary loan to Meredith after the recent attempt on her life. The powers that they stir up affect some serious changes in the land of faerie, none of which make Queen Andais happy. Sholto, King of the Sluagh, comes to terms with Merry and awakens the Wild Hunt. Again, the book takes place in approximately one day.
Characters in "Mistral's Kiss"
- Meredith NicEssus/Merry Gentry - Title heroine, Princess of Flesh and Blood, Daughter of Essus
- Mistral - Title character. Raven. The Master of Winds, the Bringer of Storms.
Recurring characters include:
- Andais - Queen of Air and Darkness, Merry's aunt, the sister of Essus, and mother of Cel. Andais is a war goddess, and the sadistic Queen of the Unseelie Court. Ruler of the male guard The Ravens, recently revealed as barren. Although she is a sadist and is widely believed to be insane, Andais appears to have the best interests of the Court somewhat at heart, and has sworn to abdicate her throne in favor of whichever of Cel or Merry can demonstrate themselves capable of producing new sidhe children. Her consort is Eamon.
- Doyle - Captain of The Ravens, once the Queens Darkness now part of Merry's guard, and included in her many lovers, Part Sidhe, part Hell-Hound (Gabriel Ratchet, et al.), part phouka. He is a shapeshifter.
- Frost - Raven, The Killing Frost, second in command. Was revealed that started life as Jacqual Frosti, Jack Frost, etc, is prejudiced against Seelie Court due to poor treatment at court because the other nobles were jealous of Frost's remaining in power due to his power in the minds of the humans. Has tendency to pout. Has recently come into godhead via Merry. Says recent powers used to belong to one he called master. See Jack Frost.
- Galen - The youngest of the Ravens, Merry's best friend. Lineage is half-pixie and half Unseelie sidhe. Powers include subtle ability to have everyone like him. Extremely unpolitical, naive and idealistic, is voice of childhood reasoning for Merry. Unfortunately, letting go of those ideals is allowing Merry to survive. Mistranslation of a prophecy given from human prophet to Cel almost got Galen killed, as allies of Cel tried to assassinate Galen to prevent the prophecy.
- Kitto - Goblin/ sidhe hybrid, Seelie sidhe mother raped during goblin wars, snake-type goblin, given full sidhe status via sex with Merry, has Hand of Reaching.
- Nicca - Raven and Spy for Andais in Merry's home. Lineage is half-demifey and half Seelie Sidhe. Is apparently Cornish, due to being of Bucca-Dhu's Line (Revealed in Caress of Twilight) Has sprouted wings since wing-tattoos sprung out of back via sex with Merry. Is destined to be father of child with Biddy, formerly of Cel's Guard, via matchmaking ring. Was possessed by Dian Cecht, due to jealousy. Was cured via divine intervention.
- Rhys/Cromm Cruach - Raven, former God of Death. Film Noir buff. Was called Gwynfor "white lord of ecstasy and death" by Sage, 2nd hand has been seen when he killed Siun (Goblin) after Kitto hacked Siun to pieces. In Merry's dream, it is shown that Rhys will get both eyes back, apparently has magical hammer that can heal, raise armies of the dead. However, we are not sure whether dream was of past or future. See Crom Cruach.
- Sholto - Raven and King of the Sluagh. Sidhe/Nightflyer hybrid. Called Shadowspawn behind his back. Fears being relegated to being the Queen's Creature, similar to Killing Frost and Darkness. Desperately wants sidhe flesh. Merry is unsure whether she can handle Sholto's "extras" (tentacles that Sholto normally hides with glamour--Merry could not handle them in the first book). Sholto makes a deal with Merry to form an alliance, which is consummated in Mistral's Kiss and which awakens the Wild Hunt.
Non-recurring characters include:
- Abeloec - Sidhe warrior and Raven. A drunkard, once an ancient god of wine and beer. Brought back into his power as a "sovereign god"—one who can bestow the power of sovereignty to the queen.
- Agnes - Hag. Part of the Sluagh. Sister of Segna. Also known as "Agnes the Grey" or "Black Agnes."
- Fyfe - Goblin/Nightflyer hybrid. Part of the Sluagh. Uncle of Sholto.
- Ivar - Goblin/Nightflyer hybrid. Part of the Sluagh. Uncle of Sholto.
- Segna - Hag. Part of the Sluagh. Sister of Agnes. Also known as "Segna the Gold."
- Drastic changes occurring in the land of faerie.
- The need for Merry to become pregnant by one of her Guards.
- Faerie politics, both within the Unseelie Court and between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts.
- The increase in powers of both Merry and her men.
- Merry's connection to the Goddess and the use of sex to bring about magical change.
- The awakening of the heart of the Unseelie Court.
- The awakening of the Wild Hunt.
- Mandi Bierly of Entertainment Weekly graded Mistral's Kiss as a "C+", writing that the novel "reads sorta like fan fiction" and that although "everyone will enjoy the marathon, 40-page opening sex scene", "we'd love to see her lead men (or goblins) into battle with more than just her sex appeal."
- In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, J. Stephen Bolhafner wrote a more uniformly positive review, observing that "Fans of Laurell K. Hamilton's brand of erotic fantasy will delight in this book . . . . If you haven't been following the Merry Gentry series, you'll probably be lost, but that may not deter you from being captured by Hamilton's seductive charms and inspired to buy all her books."