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REVIEW: The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop

Dear Ms. Bishop,

045146254801lzzzzzzz While your other novels have been hit or miss (mostly miss) for me, I’m a longtime fan of your Black Jewel books. I discovered them at a time when I was about to give up on the fantasy genre and because they rekindled my love for a genre I’d become disenchanted with at the time, they’ll always hold a special place in my heart.

The Shadow Queen starts two years after the end of the original Black Jewels trilogy, in which Jaenelle cleansed the world of the tainted Blood (witches, for those unfamiliar with the series) who were on the verge of destroying it. Dena Nehele is a territory in Terreille that’s suffered over the centuries. It was one of the last territories to fall under the control of the evil Dorothea and Hekatah and as a result, they and their followers made sure to demolish whatever resistance was left when it finally fell into their grasp. This meant breaking the Blood who presented the most threat and killing those they couldn’t break. Because of this, no witches were left when Jaenelle’s storm passed through since only the corrupted remained.

Theran Grayhaven is the last, direct descendant of the last, uncorrupted witch to rule Dena Nehele. He desperately wants to restore his home but to do so, he needs a Queen to lead it. There are a couple obstacles in his path. First, what potential Queens they have are far too young and they can’t wait that long. And secondly, after centuries of corruption, no one actually knows the ways in which the Blood are supposed to live. Left with no choice, he asks Daemon Sadi to help him find a Queen. Daemon is understandably reluctant; he doesn’t particularly like Theran and he doesn’t want to “loan” one of Kaeleer’s Queens to them. But he knew and liked Theran’s ancestors (the main characters from The Invisible Ring) so out of respect for them, he asks Jaenelle what her thoughts are. Lucky for Theran, she has a suggestion.

Lady Cassidy comes from a poor, low-ranking Blood family. Due to a twist of fate, she was born a Queen. She even had her own court. Unfortunately, her entire court recently deserted her for a younger, flashier Queen. It’s humiliating, and a part of her blames herself. After all, she’s not powerful, pretty, or ambitious. But Jaenelle believes she’s the perfect Queen to heal Dena Nehele. Unlucky for Cassidy, the one hundred warlord princes of the land share the same opinion as her previous court so she must prove to them, and herself, that she can rule and teach them what it means to be Blood.

What I immediately liked about this book is that it’s the first since The Invisible Ring not to focus exclusively on Jaenelle and her boys. Some readers might not like that, but I certainly do. We’ve read enough stories about Jaenelle and her boys; it’d be nice to read about other characters too. (I’m still holding out for a book about Karla!) I also admit Jaenelle’s not one of my favorite characters since I consider her a canon Mary Sue. So I liked it even more that the main female character is Cassidy, a Queen who’s not powerful at all and whose confidence has been shaken since her court deserted her. It was very refreshing to see that not all the Blood are crazy powerful and that not all Queens immediately find a Court that loves and adores them at first glance.

It was also nice to go back to Terreille. Since most of the Black Jewel novels focus on Jaenelle and her boys, they’re usually set in Kaeleer or Hell. I’ve been curious for a while to see the repercussions of the war on Terreille since that was the realm most influenced by Dorothea and Hekatah. Understandably, it was a complete mess. With the Blood decimated by Jaenelle’s storm, the survivors fell victim to the landen (non-supernatural people) who’d finally grown sick and tired of being abused by the Blood. Of course, they had no way of knowing that the Blood they were killing were the good ones and to be honest, they wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference since the surviving Blood retaliated against this new threat to their lives. In such a situation, probably the only Queen who could wade through the mess is Cassidy. Anyone more powerful would cause a panic among the landen.

Of course, that’s not what Theran and his one hundred warlord princes want. They’ve been fighting for a long time so they’re tired and bitter. They want someone shiny, which is the exact opposite of Cassidy. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t care for Theran, but I understood why he felt the way he did. I also think his attitude is a reflection of the corruption that pervaded the world before Jaenelle’s coming. He’s not tainted in the same way Dorothea and her witches were, but he’s not entirely free of its influence on certain ways of thinking. After all, if you grow up thinking witches are evil and want to break you, you probably wouldn’t have a good opinion of women. What I did like about Theran though was that he showed how not all warlord princes immediately fall to their knees before a Queen. I would never call him likeable, but I think his motivations and attitudes are understandable.

What I would have liked to see more of were interactions between Cassidy and Gray, Theran’s cousin. Gray was kidnapped by Dorothea’s witches when he was fifteen and broken in their “tender, loving” care. He was rescued after a couple years but the damage was already done. Gray would have been the best warlord prince to come out of Dena Nehele in generations. Instead, he’s emotionally, mentally and psychologically scarred, not quite right in the head, and more reminiscent of a young boy than a grown man. It’s Cassidy who leads him on the path to healing but since the damage done to him was so severe, I just would have liked to see more of him moving forward. I like the idea of Cassidy and Gray as a couple (older heroine/younger hero, my fellow readers!) but at the same time, I’m a bit squicked since for much of the book, Gray gives the impression of being much younger than he actually is.

Now for what detracted from my enjoyment. One of the themes of the books is how the damage wrought by Dorothea’s corruption leaves scars that last a long time. Mirroring Gray, we have Daemon who spent centuries as a sex slave and during that time, created a sort of different personality called the Sadist. Daemon hates that part of himself and never wants to be that way again, but he’s triggered and his acting as the Sadist with Jaenelle has repercussions on their relationship. While I appreciated that this topic was addressed, I can’t help but feel it’s a bit late. Shouldn’t this issue have come up between Jaenelle and Daemon before?

The other subplot involves Saetan and is a continuation of a story introduced in the Black Jewels collection, Dreams Made Flesh. I’m rather ambivalent about it, although I think people who haven’t read the collection might be confused as to where this storyline came from. The fact that it didn’t come up until near the end of the book didn’t help matters any.

All in all, I liked this book. I just wish it would have focused solely on Cassidy and her time in Dena Nehele. We’ve had so many books about Jaenelle and her boys already. There’s no reason why they need to take over a book supposedly about someone else. I think I would have liked it more had they played true supporting roles the same way Daemon did in The Invisible Ring. As it was, I thought they hijacked the book at some points — particularly towards the end when I was more invested in Cassidy and her struggles. Still, Black Jewel fans won’t want to miss this installment which offers a different look on the realms of the Blood. B

My regards,

Jia

This book can be purchased in hardcover from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.

Jia is an avid reader who loves fantasy and young adult novels. She's also currently dipping her toes in the new adult genre but remains unconvinced by the prevalent need for traumatic pasts. Her favorite authors are Michelle West and Jacqueline Carey. YA authors whose works she's enjoyed include Holly Black, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, and Megan Miranda. Jia's on a neverending quest for novels with diverse casts and multicultural settings. Feel free to email her with recommendations at [email protected]!

31 Comments

  1. Catherine
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 09:11:58

    I didn’t realize that this series was being continued. Do you know how many more books are planned? Not that the continuation is a bad thing… I’m excited! I had a few problems with the Black Jewels Trilogy, but I thought it was great overall.

    I agree with you about Jaenelle. She was a total Mary Sue. I still enjoyed her storyline, but I ended up getting really irritated that everyone in the world loved her so much. The struggle that Cassidy sounds like she goes through sounds interesting.

    Did it seem like Cassidy was hooking up with Gray or Theran or neither? Was Gray interesting in his brokenness? What I mean is: I liked Daemon because he was twisted. There were two parts of his nature that struggled against each other. I found it fascinating to watch. Is Gray sort of like that?

    Thanks for the great review Jia!

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  2. Jia
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 10:24:09

    @Catherine: In case you missed it, another Black Jewels novel was released last year — Tangled Webs. It’s about Surreal.

    IIRC, there is a sequel coming out next year to this one (which hopefully will address some of the questions I have) plus another collection of short stories/novellas.

    Did it seem like Cassidy was hooking up with Gray or Theran or neither?

    Right now it seems like her love interest is Gray. In some ways, I think it would have been more interesting if her love interest was Theran because there’d be more conflict for them to work through due to their different perspectives on life but in the Black Jewels world, Gray is the more “warlord prince” type, broken or not.

    As for brokenness, Gray is nothing like Daemon. Or even Lucivar. He’s very, very broken, to the point that when we first meet him, he reminds you of a little boy. That’s where a large portion of my on-again, off-again squick comes from. Because even though I know he’s a grown man, mentally he’s a child at the start of the book and maybe an older teenager at the end.

    If you liked Daemon’s struggle with his two sides, I think you’ll like his subplot here because it deals with that.

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  3. Randi
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 10:47:39

    I think Anne Bishop has the same problem Anne Rice does: she grew to love her main character (Bishop=Jeanelle and Rice=Lestat) so much that all other characters are just wallpaper to showcase the main character. I liked, really liked, the Black Jewels trilogy but….I feel like I know Jeanelle well enough (just as I know Lestat well enough), that I don’t need that particular story line to continue.

    It always bugs me when a good writer introduces a slew of really interesting seconday and tertiary characters, but won’t follow through on them, because the writer is in lurrrve with their first main character.

    I probably won’t buy this, but if I see it in a UBS, I’d likely get it.

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  4. Catherine
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 10:50:10

    @Jia: I did miss it. I had no idea that there were books continuing to come out in this series. I did read “Dreams Made Flesh” but I only came upon it by chance and honestly thought it was only written because fans were dying to know more of what happened to Jaenelle after the end of the trilogy and to have more insight into other characters. Obviously I need to research series better and not just make assumptions.

    Thanks for explaining about Gray. I can understand your uncomfortable feeling with how old he seemed because I’ve felt that way before with the Black Jewels Trilogy. In one of the books (they all blur together now) Daemon is trying to get Jaenelle back from the brink of shattering and he has to seduce Witch to do it. Jaenelle seemed to toggle between painfully young and more mature. I appreciated the scene, but the seduction of the young part of Jaenelle in her mind make me feel really really icky.

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  5. Nifty
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 11:14:41

    I read and enjoyed The Shadow Queen. I’d give it the same grade Jia did. I have to say that I also appreciate Jia’s fresh perspective on the book and even the series as a whole. I’m a fan of Jaenelle and “her boys” so I’m happy to read more books featuring them. But I do think Jia has good points about their omnipresence. My thoughts about this series, post trilogy, is that all novels need some kind of conflict as a driving force, and it’s hard to come up with a believable conflict now that Jaenelle has destroyed Dorothea and Hekatah. Who else could really rival Jaenelle, Saetan, Daemon, and Lucivar? So I appreciated that this newest novel shows a more “ordinary” group of the Blood and the struggles they’re facing.

    I never really warmed up to Theran, but I will say that he developed a bit as a character. Sometimes that’s all you can hope for, I guess. Anne posted yesterday or today over on the LKH forum that she just send off the manuscript for the sequel to The Shadow Queen. It will be titled “Shalador’s Laday” and will be out this time next year. And like Jia, I’m also hoping for more about Karla. Love her! Kiss-kiss.

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  6. Erin
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 12:22:30

    “What I immediately liked about this book is that it's the first since The Invisible Ring not to focus exclusively on Jaenelle and her boys.”

    I’m guessing you’re referring to her books in the Black Jewels world. Anne Bishop has plenty of other great books set in completely different worlds. Sebastian and Belladonna are some of my favorite books.

    Regarding The Shadow Queen, I also wanted a little more detail about the conflict between Cassie and Theran, and the relationship building between Cassie and Grey.

    I don’t think Janelle is a Mary Sue. There are plenty of people that don’t like her in the books. Those are the ones trying to rape and use her.

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  7. Jessa Slade
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 12:48:46

    I had an interesting discussion the other day about these stories and how much fun it would be, if you were coming late to the series, to read them in chronological, escalating tension order. The original trilogy sort of peaked for me, but your review has piqued me again. Trundling off to add books to my list…

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  8. Jia
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 13:12:09

    @Randi: It’s also in hardcover so I probably wouldn’t recommend that a reader currently lukewarm on the series to buy it. On a side note, last year’s Tangled Webs should be out in paperback right about now.

    @Catherine: I’d completely forgotten about that scene! But I do know which one you’re talking about so yes, it wouldn’t be the first time that particular dynamic came up in the series.

    @Nifty: It’s true that it’s very hard to top the original trilogy in terms of conflict. But after years of reading epic fantasy, I’ve actually grown fond of books that focus on what happens after the war. The aftermath, so to speak. They tend to be quieter books, though, and require more character and internal conflict to carry them since there’s less external stakes (at least to the same level as a world-changing war!) to drive the story along.

    And maybe we’ll be lucky. Even if Karla never gets her own book, maybe she’ll get a story in that forthcoming short story/novella collection

    @Erin: Yes, I’m referring to her Black Jewels books. I’ve read her other non-Black Jewels books but I mentioned in the review, they haven’t worked for me nearly as well. Even Sebastian and Belladonna felt like watered-down versions of the Black Jewels books when it came to concepts and themes. In this sense I agree with Randi. I think that of all the worlds Bishop has written in, this is her favorite, which is why she keeps returning to it, over and over again.

    As for Jaenelle being a Mary Sue, it really does depend on your definition. This part right here:

    There are plenty of people that don't like her in the books. Those are the ones trying to rape and use her.

    That is absolutely in line with being a Mary Sue to me, because all the people who don’t like her want to rape and use her, and all those people are EvilTM. Everyone who’s “good” lurves Jaenelle. She fulfills the trifecta: she has the tragic past (sexual abuse), the unrealistic powers (she has a jewel no other witch has ever had, both before and after she gave up her powers!), and she can do no wrong.

    That’s why I really appreciated the dynamic between Cassidy and Theran. I didn’t like Theran but it was far more realistic to see characters who didn’t necessarily like each other have to work together for the greater good. Even at the end, Theran does what he does not because he suddenly thinks Cassidy is the best Queen ever but because he knows not to do anything would destroy Gray.

    @Jessa Slade: I don’t think anything can really top the original trilogy but I like the books enough to keep reading them. Mostly because I keep hoping for more Karla. Maybe one day.

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  9. TELLY
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 13:37:03

    I loved the Shadow Queen. I also enjoyed reading everyone’s comments about this books and past books

    Where was it posted that she is writing a squel to this book? I would like to read up on that.

    I felt if the ending of this book was a little off…I kept glancing at towards the last pages and wondering how was she going to wrap it up. I guess now I understand now- there is more to the story..hopefully. I think she could go so much into the rebuilding period..since she the book ended with her being “slightly” accepted.

    I like the amount of the Other characters..I think it was a good tranisition..now she can start writing more “stand alone books” on different charachters

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  10. Nifty
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 13:37:18

    Jia, I know that in the past I’ve asked Anne a few questions about Karla. For instance, I asked if a gay Queen could have a consort. Is there any such thing as a FEMALE Consort? Anne’s response was that those were good questions, but not ones she could answer yet. (This was in 2/08 that I asked…so a year ago.) I’m hopeful that the collection of short stories she has planned will significantly feature Karla. I’d love for her to get a lengthy story of her own the way Lucivar did in DREAMS MADE FLESH.

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  11. Nifty
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 13:39:53

    Telly, Anne is a frequent and regular poster over at the Laurell K. Hamilton forums. If you go to LKH’s forum, there’s a section for “Other Authors.” There are a few authors who post there, but I think Anne is probably the most frequent. She makes constant announcements about what’s going on with her books and what she’s working on, and she interacts with posters who have questions and comments, etc.

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  12. Selene
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 13:56:22

    I’m looking forward to reading this novel, but after being disappointed with a lot of Bishop’s non-blood books, I frankly won’t be buying it in hardcover. (I found the Fae novels in particular to be really annoying. The fae acted like spoiled children and the message in the books was really heavy handed.) I skipped reading Surreal’s book (Tangled Webs) because the plot summary made it sound silly, IMO, and I was afraid I’d be disappointed, especially since I always really liked Surreal. I enjoyed Dreams Made Flesh, if mostly for the story about how Lucivar found his mate.

    I wholeheartedly agree that Jaenelle is a complete Mary Sue–I loved the Black Jewels trilogy despite her presence, not because of it. It’s the three main male characters that make those books interesting, IMO (and Surreal, though she has a smaller role). The Invisible Ring was a nice, welcome break from Jaenelle. I hope this novel will be equally satisfying.

    Selene

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  13. Selene
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 14:01:47

    TELLY wrote:

    Where was it posted that she is writing a squel to this book? I would like to read up on that.

    There’s a recent interview with Anne Bishop here. She says, among other things:

    There are two other Black Jewels books coming out besides The Shadow Queen. I'm currently working on the second half of that story, which is still unnamed. I'm also doing another collection of stories, like the Dreams Made Flesh collection.

    Selene

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  14. Marg
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 14:01:51

    I really need to hurry up and read Tangled Webs and then this one. I really loved the Black Jewels books I read previously.

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  15. Jia
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 14:09:50

    @Selene: Surreal is another one of my favorite characters from series and yes, Tangled Webs does her no justice. It’s probably a good thing that you skipped it.

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  16. Bree
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 15:40:34

    I admit that I wished there had been more focus on Cassidy and her struggles, but I am a huge flaming hypocrite. If Lucivar and Surreal had been the ones butting in most of the time, I would have been thrilled. I just have my favorites and they don’t happen to be the same as hers.

    That said, I really did enjoy the book. Though I did share your moments of occasional squick with the fact that everyone seemed to be more concerned with giving Gray sexual pointers than making sure he was emotionally healed. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens with Theran and his attitudes, and though I like the story with Gray (baring the odd occasional squick) I do think that it would be interesting for someone’s fate and future NOT to be judged accurately by Janelle at first glance for once. (Re: not belonging to her.)

    The subplot with the Sadist didn’t throw me as much because I can understand that it might be the sort of thing that wouldn’t have worked to explore when she was 823,234,134 times more powerful than him.

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  17. Cauterize
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 15:57:41

    Thanks for your review, Jia! You’ve done the almost-impossible task of getting me excited about another Anne Bishop book. I loved the original trilogy, and thought Dreams Made Flesh was decent because of the Lucivar/Marian story. However, I thought the Tir Alainn trilogy was boring and written badly but with an interesting concept and I DNF-ed Sebastian/Belladonna because I hated it too much.

    I avoided Tangled Webs because my reading buddy told me that it was crap-tastic because with no evil to fight anymore, the boys (Daemon, Saetan and Lucivar) rise to the killing edge for trivial things such as the wording of an invitation or being locked out of the library. Yet they survived for centuries of abuse and torture? Also, the concept of the plot revolving around a haunted house seemed ridiculous to me. I think the story of Janelle and her boys is done.

    However, I agree with the others about a Karla story! Karla rocks! I also wouldn’t mind the story of Saetan and Cassandra. She was unceremoniously dropped in the trilogy and thought that was unfair to her.

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  18. Mischa
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 16:43:04

    Personally I was rather dissapointed with The Shadow Queen. (I would have given it a C+, maybe a B-.)

    Since the back blurb and everthing else I read only talked about Cassidy, both subplots felt like huge distractions. The fact that they didn’t have anything remotely to do with Cassidy’s situation didn’t help matters. At one point I remember realizing that I had less than a 1/4 inch left of the book to read and I couldn’t figure out how the main story could be resolved well in the remaining pages. When I was done reading, my overall response was “That’s it?”

    All in all, I would have been a lot happier if the subplots had been separated out into a separate novel that concentrated on Janelle’s family. The Sadist plot especially could have been fleshed out into its own story. That would have allowed Cassidy’s store to really shine and given me two great novels in the Black Jewels world. *grin*

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  19. Jia
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 18:21:02

    @Bree:

    I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens with Theran and his attitudes, and though I like the story with Gray (baring the odd occasional squick) I do think that it would be interesting for someone's fate and future NOT to be judged accurately by Janelle at first glance for once. (Re: not belonging to her.)

    It would be interesting (and very welcome, at least by me) but I’m not holding my breath.

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  20. Bree
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 18:34:36

    @Jia:

    It would be interesting (and very welcome, at least by me) but I'm not holding my breath.

    Yeah, the smart money is not on it. Though some day I really do want to sit down and figure out why Jaenelle does not make me cross-eyed crazy with the Sueish tendencies. I’m not saying that I love her best of all, but somehow she has crept past my sometimes knee-jerk reactions to similar characters, and I’m not sure if it’s the lack of her POV or something else.

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  21. Jia
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 18:43:15

    @Bree: I actually think that is exactly why the books hold together — because not once do we see from her POV. When I read the original trilogy for the first time all those years ago, the fact that Jaenelle was a Mary Sue completely slipped under my radar. It wasn’t until I read it again about a year later that I realized she was indeed a Sue. If the story had been told in her POV, or at least parts of it, I’m not convinced it would have been nearly as effective.

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  22. orannia
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 19:20:00

    Thank you Jia! I also like books that deal with the aftermath of a brutal wa/incident. The rebuilding, not just of a country or a city, but of a people. I guess Gray would be a good example of that sort of character. I also like that Cassidy is just as she is, without a strong jewel or stunning beautiful. In other words, it is who she is as a person that will determine whether the Blood males follow her or not.

    I would also like more on Kara…whether she has recovered from the poison, etc. But Surreal and Daemon are my two favourite characters, so I’m definitely hoping for more on Surreal. I find the fact that she has such a dark jewel but such a low caste very interesting…almost the opposite of Cassidy…

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  23. Gayle
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 20:23:15

    @Ranni – I don’t see Anne Bishop loving Jeanelle so much as loving Daemon, Lucivar and Saetan. Her exploration of the male characters is what keeps coming up, especially in this book.

    Tangled Webs was a huge disappointment and I was much happier with The Shadow Queen. It helped that I was warned about the lengthy subplot. This story does end without a real resolution to Cassidy’s story.

    My favourite part of the book was definitely the Cassidy/Gray interaction (favorite seen was about the freckles); seeing a Queen who didn’t automatically know how exactly to be the perfect Queen; getting a different understanding of Warlord Princes; and Lady Vae.

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  24. Jia
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 20:38:40

    @Gayle: Ah, Vae! I completely forgot to talk about how awesome Vae was! The mental image of a small dog completely railroading a bunch of warlord princes was so hilarious, I about died laughing.

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  25. TELLY
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 21:20:05

    I also loved Vae in this book! Daemon has always been one of my favorite characters in the series- but I will agree that the subplot was not needed–at times I was soo confused with the ‘flashbacks’.

    I really like the future possiblities of Gray & Cassidy. I will love to see Gray come into his own. Maybe there will be conflict between him and Theran? or some type of love triangle? I dunno..its possible now that he will find out that Lia (who was respected) wasn’t HOT..

    I will also agree that I wasnt impressed with tangled webs overall story– with the hunted house..

    Also does anyone know for sure if Gray give an offering? Or is he still wearing his birthright jewel?

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  26. Jia
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 21:37:41

    @TELLY: I’m pretty sure Gray only has his birthright jewel, which is purple dusk. It wasn’t clear to me if he’d ever attempted to make an offering and in fact, I do wonder about that. Can he still try? And if so, will he?

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  27. Nikki
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 21:55:08

    I liked this book better than a lot of Ms. Bishop’s work since the original series. I got the feeling that she was writing more in her comfort zone, sort of like that old favorite blanket you like to snuggle with.

    I liked that the book did not focus exclusively in Kaeleer. I remember one of my major questions was always how does Terreille rebuild, can it? So, seeing one aspect of the rebuilding is interesting.

    While I enjoyed the interactions between our favorites I did feel a bit more in dpeth attention could have been paid to the the background of characters like Theran and the others who had struggled so much. Seriously, I want to see where they go and if they can bridge the distances and move beyond their own personal trauma, not as extensive or as deep as the original trio but scars nonetheless.

    also, am I the only person who sort of liked Theran by the end? You know, kinda, well, you are an ass, but you could grow and be a better person?

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  28. klmeri
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 21:47:02

    Your review hits the nail on the head–several times, in fact!

    It’s hard to compare any of Anne’s later BJT novels to the trilogy itself. In fact, it just shouldn’t be done. The trilogy was her best work, a culmination of years of thought and planning. I think once an author has hit that high note (and imagine doing it the first time!), one sees the rest as the trailing end of the song.

    What is there left after Dorothea and Heketah are destroyed? Especially in Kaeleer, where their influence was on a much smaller scale? Since the main characters are residing in the Shadow realm, trying to enjoy their new lives, it would make sense that their conflicts are emotional aftermaths.

    But Terreille is a different story. It was prudent of Anne to take her readers back to that devastated but cleansed Realm, because we all have questions about how those people are coping. The Shadow Queen is a success in this sense because, you have to admit, Cassidy fits as the savior of Dena Nehele. Theran fits as a conflict without being an evil one (which would have ruined this novel). Gray fits too. Yes, it’s squicky that he is still a boy in mind, but he is showing flashes of transformation. I relish his maturing as much as I like the sweet relationship between him and Cassie. It’s not… too overt like the romance between Daemon and Jaenelle.

    Theran. I have my inklings about this one. It seems to me that his transformation will come in the sequel–rather like a conflict turned on its head–in the form of finding the Queen to which he belongs. And probably a Shalador one, at that. What better irony?

    I like the interposition of the original BJT cast with the new one. Yes, it is distracting at times. I found myself skipping over parts, to follow one of the storylines without confusion. But regardless, the more I re-read the bits and pieces, the more I see the connection. There is always the question of whether that connection was forced, to justify its presence… but I don’t get that feeling.

    Some parts are over-amplified. Why would Saetan go over the bend now, when he’s strong enough to have born his scars thus far?

    Lucivar had the best part, out of all the original cast. He’s so steady as a character, and sure in his Eyrien-ness that he was the perfect candidate to deal with Cassie’s reluctant First Circle.

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  29. Cauterize
    Mar 07, 2009 @ 13:36:17

    I always thought that what made the Mary Sue-ness was easier to stomach was because Jaenelle was made from the dreams of three Realms. She wasn’t born an ordinary person with an ordinary purpose and everyone loves her for no reason. She’s a culmination of thousands of years of dreams. I think we can cut her some slack.

    However, I do think now that the “dream” (the cleanse of the Realms) has been completed and her purpose is done, she should show more flaws and less omniscience because the blueprint of her life as a dream is finished.

    ReplyReply

  30. REVIEW: Twilight’s Dawn by Anne Bishop | Dear Author
    Dec 09, 2010 @ 04:01:50

    [...] former lover (as shown in the original Black Jewels trilogy) and that in the Lady Cassidy books (The Shadow Queen and Shalador’s Lady), we learned that something unfortunate happened to him. “Shades of [...]

  31. Rosa
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 09:52:45

    @Cauterize:
    I agree with what you’re saying..
    Never saw Jaenelle as a Mary Sue. (then again wouldn’t recognise one if she walloped me over the head with a Annotated Sandman while singing drunkedly)
    For me, the notion that she is mega powerful always seemed to add to that little bit of “unrealness”… I see her as this mythic,almost messianic,figure. She is not an ordinary person, but I don’t see her changing just because the dream has finished.

    ReplyReply

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