JG (The Introverted Reader)'s Reviews > The Black Jewels Trilogy: Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, Queen of the Darkness

The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop
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I have an omnibus edition, so I guess I'll write a review for each book as I get to it.

I am embarrassed by how long this is, but here is the third and final piece of the never-ending book review. See the end:

Daughter of the Blood--4.5 stars

In a society that seems to be loosely based on the habits of black widow spiders, the strong females have eliminated all but the weakest males and females, leaving only a few strong males to strengthen their bloodlines. This has been going on for centuries. But the coming of a female with power that has never even been imagined has been foretold. Daemon and his brother, Lucivar, have endured slavery and unimaginable cruelty by holding onto the hope that they would one day get to serve this Witch. Saetan has endured centuries of a half-life ruling over Hell, holding onto the hope that this Witch, the daughter of his soul, will come to him. She finally appears, and nothing will ever be the same for any of them.

I loved this. It took me a little while to get into it because I have a very low tolerance for learning a whole new culture just to read a fantasy book. My limits were pushed at the beginning, but I got through it, and I'm so glad I did. Little Jaenelle, Daemon, Surreal, Tersa, Lucivar, and even Saetan were complex, likable characters. Yes, you read that right--Saetan was likable. Think of him as being more like Hades, god of a shadowy underworld, than like Satan, Prince of Darkness and ruler of the fire-and-brimstone-eternal-damnation Hell. And, oh my goodnes, Daemon. What can I say about Daemon? He's hot as hell, and I think I have the beginnings of a full-fledged book crush. *Fanning myself*

Okay, moving on. Once I got into the story, I truly could not stop reading, and once I finished, I was exhausted. The plot just kept building and building, and I got more and more tense, waiting to see what was going to happen next. I would recommend having the next book handy so you can keep reading. The ending of this one was a cliffhanger, so you will probably want to keep going. I would have been pretty disappointed if I had read this when it first came out, knowing that I would have to wait years to find out what happens.

What bothered me a little bit, and kept me from giving this a full five stars, is that, other than the main characters, everyone else was very flat. They were evil *itches, whose sole reason for existence seemed to be to have sex with the hot males they kept around as toys. I know it's hard to flesh out secondary characters without bogging down the story, but it would have been nice to have a little more depth to them.

Overall, I highly recommend this to fantasy fans who aren't going to be bothered by reading about Saetan and Hell. Girls--you will love the men. I promise you.

************Spoilers if you haven't read the first book*************

Heir to the Shadows--4 stars

At the end of the first book, Jaenelle is broken and Daemon isn't in much better shape. Jaenelle has to heal in this book and come to terms with what she is. Luckily, she's surrounded by caring friends who are willing to protect her and push her as needed.

I truly wanted to give this one 5 stars. Again, it grabbed me and just did not let go. But there were a few more things that I couldn't overlook. To start with, I was a little more aware in this book that the writing could have been more polished. I can't think of an example, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Also, this one felt more like a young adult book. The focus of the first book was mostly Daemon, a grown man. The focus of this one is a teenage Jaenelle, so the tone has gone backwards a little bit. As happens sometimes in trilogies, this second book felt like filler. The author wrapped up a few threads from the first book and set up the conflict for the third book, but there wasn't a whole lot of actual new, necessary stuff going on in this book. The big thing was that the book felt very episodic. There wasn't a great flow. I would finish one chapter/story, and in the next chapter, two years had passed and another little story was being told. It would take me a page or two to figure out when the story was happening.

That was the bad stuff, but there was still lots of good things going on. I love these main characters. Daemon wasn't seen as much in this one, but we did get to see more of Lucivar. I do really like him, but I can't wait to see more of Daemon in the third book. Saetan is still filling in as the long-suffering father-figure and I love him. He's just great. Another cool thing is that we finally get to see some of Jaenelle's far-flung friends that she only alludes to in the first book.

Overall, this was a decent second-book-in-a-trilogy, but I hope the third one lives up to the promise of the first. I'll definitely keep reading though.

***********Probable spoilers if you haven't read the first two**********

Queen of the Darkness--4 stars

The evil queens, Dorothea and Hekatah, are trying to force a war and so gain control of Jaenelle. But they have no idea how strong she is or the lengths she is willing to go to in order to protect her people. Or of the lengths her people will go to try to protect Jaenelle.

Either these aren't quite living up to the promise of the first book, or I'm not quite as enchanted by this new system of magic and these characters, but I'm not quite as in love with this series now. Don't get me wrong--I still read this 400 page brick in a matter of hours, frantically turning pages, and eager to see what happens next. But somehow Daemon wasn't the same sexy unknown that he was in the first volume, Jaenelle isn't quite as charming as queen, and there wasn't much of Saetan, whom I adore. But there was more of Surreal, and I loved reading about her.

Jaenelle doesn't put in an appearance for several chapters, and once she finally did, I remembered a peeve of mine from the other books--the phrase "midnight voice." Oh my gosh, I'm irritated just repeating it! It's used to show when she means business as queen, but a more creative author could surely find another way to do that without beating that phrase to death. And then there's Karla's "kiss kiss." Ugh. My husband stumbled onto that phrase as I was reading this and never even saw what hit him coming. What a coy, pretentious, fake, supercilious little habit!

But, really, I do love these books and the characters and look forward to reading more of them. Which reminds me of something else--Why is my omnibus edition called The Black Jewels Trilogy when it's obvious that more are coming? Anyway, I still highly recommend the series.
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