Shannon (Giraffe Days)'s Reviews > Daughter of the Blood

Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
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May 15, 09

bookshelves: 2007, fantasy
Read in October, 2007

The three realms of Terreille, Kaeleer (the Shadow Realm) and Hell are ruled by the Blood, people given the gift of Jewels of different-ranking colours. They are supposed to be caretakers of the land, and are deeply heirarchical. It's a matriarchal world, but a taint, a rot, has seeped into the Blood, and now the ruling Blood - both female and male - spend their time indulging in pleasures of all manner, often cruel. Some of the races are long-lived, and the Demon-Dead in Hell still have the use of their Jewels. Some have been around for more than 50,000 years. And they all have very long memories.

The High Lord of Hell, Saetan daSiablo, is the only male Blood - and dead person - to rule a territory, and a realm. Kaeleer follows individual Queens, since there is no Queen of Ebon Askavi and she would be the Queen above all others. Terreille, corrupt and dissolute, has been taken over by the High Priestess of Hyall, Dorothea, working in tandem with Saetan's Demon-Dead wife Heketah. They are both absolutely horrible people, who find entertainment in having men castrated. Ouch.

Saetan and his two still-living sons, half-brothers Daemon and Lucivar, have been waiting centuries for the arrival of the Queen who will rule them all and end forever the corruption of Dorothea and Heketah, which has already seeped across the closed borders into the Shadow Realm: Witch. Who, at the beginning of Daughter of the Blood, is just a 7 year old girl called Jaenelle, suffering abuse at the hands of her family and the doctor she is given over to.

There is a lot that is different about this fantasy book - and the entire trilogy - from the typical good vs. evil dichotomy. First off, it is one of the first fantasy stories I have read where I believe. What I mean is, Dorothea and Heketah and all the people they use, and all their perversions and cruelty, are intensely believable. Even though they are extreme, I think it is the way Bishop writes that draws me in so thoroughly.

Her other characters are equally well-written - and there are a lot of them, but I never felt overwhelmed. The interesting thing, to me, was that even though Jaenelle is technically the main character - in the sense that everything and everyone ends up revolving around her, focused on her - we never hear her voice. She never narrates. And this works perfectly. She is so other, by the end, that the only way to know is by understanding how those close to her - and those trying to manipulate her - perceive her.

The insipid covers of these books always put me off - that and the uninspiring blurb which gives no real indication of what these books are like. But it's a great story and very well written, and I read this trilogy in five days. It helps when they're all available! New editions with much nicer covers are available now, by the way.
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