REVIEW: Twilight’s Dawn by Anne Bishop
Breaking from our usual procedure at Dear Author, this is an early review. Twilight’s Dawn doesn’t come out until next March but Jane and I believe that readers should be forewarned. The first half of the review is spoiler-free. The second half, however, is not. I’ve clearly marked where that section begins so readers can skip the spoilers if they so wish, but this is one of those cases where you don’t want to skip the spoilers. Trust us.
Dear Ms. Bishop,
I’m a long-time fan of your Black Jewels books. The series has occupied a place on my comfort reading shelf ever since I devoured Daughter of the Blood over a decade ago. The series has had its ups and downs since then, but I have a soft spot for them despite their flaws. Alas, all things must come to an end and unless I’m mistaken, this collection of four novellas is our farewell to the Black Jewels world. And what a farewell it is. As for whether that last sentence is a compliment, I’ll leave that up to the readers to decide.
“Winsol Gifts” takes place after Tangled Webs, in which Surreal escaped a haunted house with the help of Lucivar. I wish I could find something meaningful to say about this novella, but I can’t. It’s 75 pages of domestic antics as the characters we’ve come to know and love speed towards the Black Jewels’ version of Christmas.
There’s nothing especially new or original here. It features the character dynamics and interactions Black Jewels readers know well: Lucivar and Daemon being confused by their women and the things they do, Saetan laughing at his sons, and Daemonar destroying everything in his path.
It’s familiar and comforting, and I can see why people would like this sort of story. But speaking for myself, this isn’t why I read books. If I wanted to see my favorite characters in domestic scenarios, I would read fanfiction. In fact, I have read fanfiction of this sort. That said, “Winsol Gifts” sets the stage for the three novellas to follow and echoes the larger theme of the Black Jewels books: the ties that bind families, both blood and chosen, together. D
“Shades of Honor” immediately follows “Winsol Gifts” and covers both Surreal’s emotional healing from the events of Tangled Webs and Lucivar dealing with his second-in-command, Falonar, who’s grown dissatisfied with the Eyriens’ lot in Kaeleer. Readers may also remember that Falonar is Surreal’s 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 Honor” details the events leading up to that fate.
To my surprise, this novella ended up being my favorite of the entire collection. It featured the intensity and drama I loved about the original trilogy. It also focused mostly on Surreal and Lucivar, which is always a plus in my book. One of my biggest disappointments with Tangled Webs was that Surreal lacked the bite I’d come to expect from my favorite courtesan-assassin, and I think we see her regain a bit of that edge here. I also enjoyed the closer look at Eyrien society and what it means for a race of warriors to live in a place of peace.
Like “Winsol Gifts,” “Shades of Honor” sets the stage for the two novellas to follow, especially with regards to Daemon and Surreal. B
Fast forward ten years, and we come to “Family.” The story opens with Lady Sylvia, the Dhemlan queen and Saetan’s former lover, taking her two sons for a visit at another Blood family’s estate. We soon discover that not all is right at the estate, a serial killer with a penchant for young boys is on the loose, and things take a rapid turn for the worse.
The first chapters of this novella are misleading. Maybe “Shades of Honor” set me up for false expectations but based on the novella’s opening, I thought we’d be getting a more mystery/thriller-based storyline. Serial killers, missing children, hostages, ransoms… The premise and what happens in those first pages certainly lent support to that assumption, as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately, that tension peters out quickly and the drama is resolved easily, leaving the final chapters to reprise more of what we saw in “Winsol Gifts.” It was a little disappointing to see the tone shift but I think some readers might be interested in the resolution to the Saetan and Sylvia issue. C-
The interesting thing about Twilight’s Dawn is that the novellas all build upon one another, leading from one to the next. We did see a similar effect in Dreams Made Flesh, the previous Black Jewels novella collection, but I don’t recall the thematic arcs and foreshadowing being as strong there. I mention this because the first three novellas in Twilight’s Dawn serve as the foundation for the final one, “The High Lord’s Daughter.”
Before I continue with the review, I must give a very strong SPOILER WARNING. I cannot talk about this novella without spoilers, and they are going to be detailed spoilers, and I am not going to hide them behind a spoiler cut because I think these are spoilers that Black Jewels readers should know before going into this collection. Why? Because I think these spoilers are potentially series-destroying, in the sense of being able to destroy a fan’s love for a series. If readers absolutely do not want to be spoiled, then stop reading now. But don’t say I didn’t give advanced warning. I think what I am about to say will be of great interest to the readership of Dear Author, which in the end is a romance blog. I consider myself a fantasy reader first and foremost and even I am aghast at what happens in “The High Lord’s Daughter.”
We have always known that the great romance between Daemon and Jaenelle would not last forever. Like his father, Daemon comes from one of the long-lived races. His lifetime will span millennia. For all that Jaenelle is Witch, dreams made flesh, she does not come from the long-lived races. By comparison, her life is short and fleeting. We have always known this in the back of our minds.
But I never expected the Black Jewels books to go there. I never expected it to happen on-page. And to be honest, given the Mary Sue-nature of Jaenelle’s character, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see her become something akin to a god, complete with extended lifespan. That doesn’t happen here. Jaenelle grows old. She grows old with Daemon, and fans may be pleased(?) to know they kept sexing it up well into her 80s, but you can’t fight the onslaught of time. She dies.
Yes. She dies. And that’s not all.
Now how does Surreal play into all this? After all, she’s enjoyed more page time in these novellas and there’s been heavy foreshadowing about things to come. There’s a reason why I kept bringing her up and it’s not just because she’s my favorite character. When I reviewed Tangled Webs, I wondered why Surreal couldn’t seem able to find her true love, her grand romance. Why, as with Falonar, they always tended to fail. “The High Lord’s Daughter” finally answers that question.
At some point after “Family,” Surreal became Daemon’s second-in-command. She’s also taken on the unofficial role of scaring off women who’ve come to harass Daemon, especially in Jaenelle’s later years because what could Daemon — still in the prime of his life — possibly want with an old woman like that. And so, as should be no surprise to anyone who’s read a Harlequin Presents, Surreal is also in love with her boss, Daemon.
Surreal being in love with Daemon is actually not a surprise. Like I said, when that was explicitly stated in the text, so many pieces fell into place. We already had a hint of this in the very first Black Jewels book, when we first meet Surreal and learn about the awkward state of her relationship with Daemon. Readers may recall that she’d wanted to know what it’d be like to sleep with him (as the Sadist) and of course, he obliged in all his cold rage. (This was pre-Jaenelle.) Time, and Jaenelle’s presence, healed that rift but it’s something that’s always lurked in the background.
Before she died, Jaenelle made Daemon promise that he’d mourn for only a year and then would go on living again (including finding love again). He does obey this final command from his Queen but only to a certain extent. He never lets another woman into his heart. Surreal is willing to go along with this, and they probably would have continued on doing so but then Saetan dies. And after his father’s death, Daemon assumes the mantle of the High Lord of Hell. And in their shared grief, Daemon and Surreal have a one night stand. After which Surreal becomes pregnant.
Yes, that is correct. The “daughter” in the title does not refer to a daughter of Daemon and Jaenelle. They never had any children. The “daughter” refers to the child of Daemon and Surreal. And I think it was at this point that my already-taxed suspension of disbelief snapped and catapulted straight into WTF-land. I say this well-aware of the fact that I probably left many readers behind on the page where Jaenelle died.
This is a very tricky narrative. I actually like the idea of this narrative. It’s a storyline I would like to read elsewhere: two people have known each other forever but one married someone else, and then when that someone else dies, they find love again with the person they’ve known forever. Unfortunately, the characters involved are Daemon and Surreal and a part of me recoils at the thought, even though I like Surreal and the idea of Daemon and Surreal as a couple makes sense once you stop and think about it (and pretend Daemon and Jaenelle never happened).
However, the Black Jewels series is centered around Jaenelle. Jaenelle is dreams made flesh. She may never have had a narrative role in the novels but without her, there would never have been a story to drive these novels. Even when I thought the books should have moved on to other characters and stories, she was still there and ever-present in her influence (the Lady Cassidy books, for example). Because of everything we’ve seen before, I cannot imagine a Black Jewels story without Jaenelle and I don’t even like her.
And for Daemon to find love again with Surreal is upsetting in two ways. First, it bluntly reminds us that HEAs don’t last forever, even in fantasy worlds featuring near-immortals. If HEAs can’t happen there, then where can they happen? Secondly, Surreal still doesn’t really find her grand romance! She plays the role of the second wife who Daemon will never love as much as his first. And while I think the narrative was trying to show that Daemon’s two loves for Jaenelle and Surreal were different but equal, I was never 100% convinced. And I know part of that is because we saw Daemon’s love for Jaenelle shown over the course of several books and novellas while Daemon’s love for Surreal is depicted in a single 100-page novella through the lens of raising their daughter. That’s a tall order and it falls short here.
If “The High Lord’s Daughter” is meant to provide closure to the Black Jewels series, it does do that. I’m not talking about the general WTF reaction to the premise to the novella but in terms of the narrative itself. Daemon and Surreal’s daughter is also dreams made flesh but a different set of dreams than the ones that gave rise to Jaenelle Angelline. I suppose you could say it brings the series full circle. Some people don’t like that sort of thing but I’ve always been fond of that kind of indulgence, even if the execution ends up being twee here. Of course, this is the Black Jewels world we’re talking about so accusing something of being twee is silly. The main problem, however, is that this closure is overshadowed by the premise.
I’m very conflicted about “The High Lord’s Daughter.” It has many aspects I like, many ideas I normally love, and a core concept I would be all over if it’d been executed well. Weighing all those things against each other, I would probably have given this novella a C.
But the premise still leaves me speechless even now. I would not at all be surprised to see many Black Jewels fans swear off any and all future Anne Bishop books because of this novella, especially if they go into it unaware. (The cover copy does hint at what’s to come but I don’t think it encompasses the full WTF factor.) To be honest, there’s still a part of me that wonders if I had read bad fanfiction because Daemon and Surreal read like caricatures of themselves, even accounting for their ridiculously long lives and a love that developed over decades.
Because of this, my grade changes from a C to a Do Not Read At All. That’s not a proper grade but it’s the only way I know to express my feelings. I cannot send any reader, let alone a Black Jewels fan, towards this collection and especially the final novella without any warning. If a reader loved the Daemon and Jaenelle romance, never wanted to see it split apart on-page, never wanted to see Jaenelle die, never wanted to see Daemon find love again (and especially not after only twenty years instead of something properly over the top like five thousand), then I hope that reader does herself a favor and skips this book. Maybe they can pretend the original trilogy (and maybe The Invisible Ring) is the only thing that exists. I’m sure it will prevent heartache and book rage. Because I am still boggling. I suspect I will be boggling for a very long time.
The digital links won’t work until closer to the release date.
WTF! Thank you so much for putting this spoiler and review up. I suspected that something bad was going to happen when I read the blurb about Daemon losing the two people he loves most…but this? Did I really think Ann Bishop would go for the emotional throat cutting of her readers? Nope. I’m seriously bummed out just reading this review, I’d probably be bawling if I read the novella unaware. Lame but true.
Thank you for saving me some tears.
Thank you for posting this review. It was hinted at on her forum as well but I didn’t think it would go this far. I’m so glad you told us about this or I would have bought the book, read it, and had my heart torn out. I’m not sure why the author decided to end the series this way but at least now I can chose not to buy and read the book and make up my own ending. While I can’t say I will totally boycott her work I will be more cautious in the future.
I am SO shocked. OMFG I can’t believe she did that. I am both angry and so sad. I will NEVER read this book. I loved the Black Jewels so much it’s…I can’t believe it. I need brain-bleach to forget this completely. =( There’s a line that has been crossed.
I agree completely with your review. Very great rewiew.
Damn this makes me so sad.
While I find it a bit worrying that you say the executions is bad and the characters seem like caricatures of themselves (though I’m sorry to say that IMO that goes for several of the latest Black Jewels books), I have to say I find the plotline of the last novella interesting and not at all offputting.
For one thing, I never liked Jaenelle, especially after she became an adult (Mary Sue-ness is less annoying in a child, perhaps?). I know it’s part of the core worldbuilding, but I could never buy why all these people worshipped her to such an extent. IMO, it’s one of the major weaknesses of the original trilogy.
To my mind, the original black jewels books were more about the three male characters, Daemon, Lucivar and Saetan. I find it far more alarming that Saetan is killed off! Now that is definitely sad. :-(
If Daemon moves on, well, good for him–as long as Bishop doesn’t portray Surreal as some sort of second best love of his life. It seems to me that Surreal and Daemon have a lot in common, and could have a much more intimate relationship than Jaenelle and Daemon, who to my mind never seemed to get to know each other that well as adults (it worked better when she was a child).
But that may just be because I find Jaenelle so bland. It struck me often that Daemon more than anyone else was in love with the idea of Witch more than Jaenelle herself, even if I know Bishop made a lot of effort to try to say this wasn’t the case, especially after Jaenelle loses some of her powers.
Thank you for this review!!!!! I almost didn’t read the review since I love the series so much and I expect to get this for review before the release. But something told me to read the review and I am so glad I did. I am wrecked at the thought of reading Jaenelle’s death. I just don’t think I can read this book. I feel betrayed much as I did the Cheysuli books by Jennifer Roberson (old school fantasy in case you wondered). I quite Jennifer Roberson then and I haven’t looked back. I think I will hold the original trilogy close to my heart and not go any further. Thank you again so much for this review.
I agree with @Selene, I always felt the original books were centered around Daemon, Lucivar, and Saetan. I’ve enjoyed reading about these men more than I have of the females in this series. I can’t say I’m surprised with the outcome since there has been a lot of foreshadowing towards these events.
I’ll probably still get this book since I’m a fan of the series but I may wait until it comes out in paperback. I guess we all knew this series had to eventually end, but not like this. Thanks for the heads up on the reversal of HEA.
Oh man :(
I think I need to digest this but this has really depressed me. Its not the fact that Jaenelle dies – I can accept that and in many ways I think she was too perfect and powerful even though Anne underpowered her in several ways in later books. But what I HATE is the idea of Surreal ending up with Daemon – After the massive fallout in the trilogy??? And the fact that she is more like a sibling and then suddenly shows she has romantic feelings which the anthology is building up to?
No No No – I cant swallow that- I think the idea of Daemon moving on and find new love would have been interesting and could open up the series especially like what Jia said about coming full circle but this pairing feels off and convenient and Surreal deserves better because she knew Jaenelle and Daemon being together and wouldn’t that haunt her? I also cant see her settling and accepting that she’s not that type of character especially with her issues with Fallonar :P
I don’t think I will be getting the HB or even the book. I think I will be happy with the books I have got/read so far and pretend this hasn’t happened. It wont put me off with future books because I think Anne is a wonderful writer look forward to future books.
Eh. I never liked Janelle (she was such a freakin’ Mary Sue, boring), nor was I ever very invested in the Daemon/Janelle thing.
I’m kind of intrigued that Bishop actually put Surreal and Daemon together; that’s a ‘ship that’s been hinted at forever, so I’d be interested to see how that plays out (not well, apparently, according to Jia’s review ;P ).
@Selene: Saetan’s death is also something that’s been hinted at for a while. It does build more strongly in these novellas.
The question of whether Surreal is secondbest or not is something that’s definitely up for debate since it’ll depend on reader reaction/interpretation. I do think Bishop wanted to show that the loves are equal, just different, but I never got over the initial impression that it was more like a good love but not as great. A lot of it has to do with the space given in a novella. Maybe in a full-length, it would have been better execution.
On the other hand, if it were a full-length book, I’m sure some people would be even more upset.
@Leslee: It’s interesting you bring up the Cheysuli novels. Jane and I talked about those in comparison to this one. Oddly, the deaths that happened there never bothered either of us. I can’t speak for Jane but for myself, I know that I always knew the whole goal of the series was to get that promised child of prophecy, which meant it’d be a dynastic, generational telling. So I guess I expected people to die, from old age and because of the enemies they had who wanted to prevent that goal from happening.
I think a lot of the reaction to those books and the reaction this book has to do with why readers choose to read the books they do. I don’t read Anne Bishop for the subtle, nuanced storyline that the fourth novella would have needed to be successful in my eyes. I don’t. I read her because her stories and world are over the top, and I read her because I find her writing very comforting and easy to sink into. She tried, but this isn’t the kind of story I want or need from her.
@Has: I was telling someone I actually kind of thought Surreal was going to realize she was an awesome lesbian and hook up with Karla. Alas, some things never come to pass!
Seriously, though, the spectre of Daemon’s relationship with Jaenelle does haunt her, all the more so because she did love Jaenelle too and Jaenelle was a very important person in her life. I didn’t get into it in the review but there are reasons that Surreal chooses to marry Daemon.
The novella is frank. Daemon isn’t marrying her because he’s madly in love with her. He’s marrying her because she’s pregnant and the issue of fathers and children is a big source of unresolved trauma in the SaDiablo family. Surreal knows that he doesn’t love her, but she chooses to accept his offer because she wanted to help prevent the repetition of mistakes from Saetan’s lifetime. Part of the reason why the world went out of whack before is because Saetan withdrew from the world. That can’t happen again, so she views the marriage as a way to keep Daemon grounded and attached to the world even while he becomes the High Lord of Hell.
It does come off as convenient, I agree, but it makes sense if you look at it from the perspective of why Surreal has been single for all this time. Every other woman in the series ended up with someone. Why not Surreal? It’s because I do believe Bishop intended Surreal to be his long-term wife.
Thank you for posting those spoilers! If I had gone into the last novel not knowing THAT, I probably would have hurled it against the wall. I’m generally a fantasy reader first, but given the series that twist in a novella would have been too much. Maybe she’s just sick of writing the series and wanted to make sure it was irrevocably dead.
From reading hints here and there, I suspected something along those lines would be the outcome.
I haven’t read the book so I don’t know how well she would pull it off for me as a reader, but having read the Black Jewels books back just as the final one in the first trilogy was coming out… well. The first trilogy covered a fair bit of time before Jaenelle, and it made it pretty clear to me that Daemon, Lucivar, and Surreal were going to outlive a great many of the more normally lived people of the series. Including Jaenelle. Yes, she is dreams made flesh, but flesh dies.
It was strongly implied that Jaenelle, after what she did at the end of the first trilogy, was not well and might not make it. That she lived 80 years is pretty phenomenal considering the damage she took. Even when we see her in the Cassidy trilogy, she is not fully well.
The thought of Daemon losing her literally makes me cry, which is probably a testament to how much Bishop has made me care for these characters after so many books… but it’s not unexpected, and it is something I personally have wondered how it would be dealt with.
In a way, I’m glad to know Daemon ends up with Surreal. Before Jaenelle, there was a bond between the two. There still is even with Jaenelle, although it’s never quite taken in that direction. But there are hints that it could have gone that way.
Surreal is a canny sort. I don’t think that she’s going into the situation expecting him to love her the same way he did Jaenelle, and not necessarily immediately. They are both long-lived. In context of that, a year isn’t very long at all; not even a decade is. The time he had with Jaenelle is only a very brief sliver of his life experience, and to lose something that cherished so quickly… so that he has someone there, for him, seems important to me. And in time, he might even love her.
@Selene: I agree that Daemon and Surreal seem more fitting together, although, after books and books of “Daemon and Jaenelle”, getting just a novella of Daemon and Surreal doesn’t seem enough. And I feel sad for Surreal that she is apparently just second best. I always wanted her to end up with someone who really wanted her, all of her.
Geez. I may end up reading this, just to see it all for myself, but I don’t think I’ll enjoy it. And Saetan’s death will make me cry buckets, even with forewarning. THIS kind of thing is why I read spoilers – it’s good to have the time to mentally prepare, because OMG, this would hit me like a ton of really depressing bricks if I weren’t expecting it.
Yup. I’m the same way. I’m one of those that gets very emotionally invested, and if I read something like this without forewarning (or watch — Fred and Cordy dying in Angel would have devastated me if I hadn’t known, and marathoning that series was an exercise in extended depression, as much as I loved it), it’ll swing me down pretty badly.
I really want my hands on this book now. >_< Because I can see the pieces all working, but I want to know whether it works for me. Blah!
I stopped reading these after the original trilogy. I tried the first novella collection and didn’t love it, read The Invisible Ring (I think that was the title) and HATED it. It was terrible. The “moral” of the story was so blatant that the entire plot was pointless.
All that is my way of saying that I’m not the slightest bit surprised, Jia. And thank you for reading this so no one else has to. We should all just pretend the series stopped after the original trilogy.
Thank you so much for the review. I will definitely be skipping this anthology. I loved the original trilogy. And I think reading this would definitely have spoiled the series for me.
@LG: I completely agree–a novel sounds just like what this story would have needed!
I for one am curious to see how well Bishop pulls this off, so I’ll be checking it out (when it comes out in paperback of course). It’s a story that at least has the potential of interesting conflict, unlike the one with the haunted house e.g.
Thank you for the warning. I love the BJ trilogy despite its flaws, but Daemon getting with Surreal is not something I ever pictured. I think I will skip this one, unless my curiosity gets the best of me.
@Cassie: The Invisible Ring was always such a funny book to me because its sole purpose for existing was to fill in and explain how the solution to the conflict in Queen of the Darkness worked.
Wow, thank you for this review Jia. I just went and canceled my pre-order. I will not be spending my money on that book. Regardless of the reality of what we did know Jaenelle would die, I think it is in fact unfair to Surreal to have that kind of ending. In addition, Daemon has always viewed Surreal as someone to protect and care for in a sibling fashion. He never felt like that about Jaenelle, he was just willing to wait until she was old enough to share his feelings. I recognize the author is within her rights, but so am I.
I could see the idea is that he needs to stay connected, but does anyone else think that having children with Jaenelle would have served the purpose? And to do it in a novella? The fact that Jaenelle dies, Saetan dies, and Surreal and Daemon have a kid is not even worth a full novel with appropriate examination is mind-boggling. Seriously, not even worth a novel?
Not an Anne Bishop fan. I think I read a couple of the early books and maybe 5 chapters of Sebastian— a book I bought only because the hero’s name wasn’t some weirdly spelled biblical reference. Is is possible though that Ms Bishop did not like/had become tired of the character and wanted to get rid of her by killing her off? While I adored Sherlock Holmes I can understand Doyle’s need for the Reichenbach Falls.
@DS: I admit that Jane and I have tossed that theory back and forth.
Is there any mention of Lucivar and Marian in the anthology? I adore this couple and felt that Anne never gave them their due because of the concentration on Jaenelle and Daemon. Heck, if Surreal ended up with Saetan, I would have been fine with that.
Surreal deserves better, IMO. She will never be truly loved because the ghost of Jaenelle will be between them.
I’d rather Daemon had killed himself after Jaenelle died than have him with a woman he can’t really love the way she should.
The last time I felt so depressed about a book was when Narcissus in Chains came out and LKH make Anita a magical ho.
@Nikki: That’s actually my biggest problem. I think the novella intended to show us the development of their relationship through the lens of raising their daughter BUT we only saw glimpses and vignettes scattered throughout that daughter’s life (up until the acknowledgment ceremony). I think maybe if we had had a steady chain of looking at the raising of the daughter rather than snippets, it might have worked better. It’s tough because you run the risk of boring people if handled poorly but the scattered vignettes made it difficult to connect to what was happening.
And the collection does basically say that the reason why there is no child between Daemon & Jaenelle is because after everything that’s happened, Daemon thought Jaenelle was too fragile to give birth and that it would kill her.
@katiebabs/KT Grant: Lucivar does figure prominently in “Shades of Honor” but there isn’t much interaction between him and his wife. They do have a daughter in one of the novellas… and I think maybe another child at some point? But I think Bishop told their story in that Dreams Made Flesh novella and that was it for them.
Thanks for the review. I’ll wait for the PB. It’s not that I’m against Daemon finding love again. People die, it happens. You need to move on from that and continue living. It’s more that this Daemon/Surreal pairing seems like a convenient way to dwell. It gives both characters the excuse to not really give 100% because of the memory of Jaenelle and that’s the real disappointment for me. They both deserve better than that.
Well, I guess I am in the minority because I actually like the development. I find it intriguing and, well, ballsy. Maybe it helps that I never “read” these books as romance but rather as fantasy so I don’t need the HEA. And I say this a reader who actually really likes Jaenelle.
Thanks for the heads up. It makes the compilation all that more interesting to me.
Thank you so much for putting this out there. I cant believe that the story would take this direction. I dont even know how to comment on the WTF factor, becuase it is just that WTF. I actually liked those two together, but mainly i like the story of Daemon. And to have something that he as waited for thousands of years to just end like that, didnt even allow a daughter from Jaenelle to be possible. Im totally in shock.
Thank you again for the heads up, i will not be purchasing this book. And thinking really hard about any upcoming series.
@Eva: Yeah, I’m actually kind of intrigued by this too. I always could kind of see the two of them together. I don’t think it could have worked before Jaenelle, though. He was too angry at womankind in general and too focused on waiting for Witch.
OTOH, it’ll all depend on whether Bishop successfully convinces me it works. If the execution is as unsatisfactory for me as it is for Jia, it’ll piss me off. I think I’ll probably try it and see if it works for me.
Well, echoing a few people here in that I’m far more upset about Saetan dying than Jaenelle, and that Surreal really deserved better.
To be honest, I never really got Daemon’s appeal so that could be part of it – always found him ridiculousely emo in the worse possible way. Still, Daemon and Surreal is a lot more interesting than Daemon and Jaenelle so might just check this book out.
@Jai: :) I read minds, just wish I could read the winning lottery numbers and buy the ticket in time to win.
I felt like the Chesuli novels really got me to love these characters in the first couple of books and then killed them off because they were in the way of the big picture (Child of Prophecy). I felt abused by it and couldn’t keep reading when I felt that way. I know that Jaenelle would have died some day but as I have thought about it today, I just don’t know if I want to experience it firsthand.
Ok, I swear I’ve read this as a fanfic. (I’m mostly kidding, but not entirely.)
I was incredibly meh on the last Black Jewels book I read, the haunted house one, specifically because I just couldn’t work out wth the point was. Now I get it – more Surreal stories so that the transition to her as primary heroine is less jarring.
And it really does make narrative sense, even if the romantic aspect of it sounds rather less than satisfying. I might even read it when it comes out in paperback.
Thank you Jia. Hmmm. I’ve never been a fan of Jaenelle – she is perfection, and I find that boring in a character. And I agree with the other commenters that the books have been, for me, about Saetan, Daemon & Lucivar.
As for the Surreal/Daemon pairing?I’m gutted…on Surreal’s behalf. Maybe if we had more page time seeing their relationship develop (and from the sounds of it we don’t) I’d buy it, but…this. *heads desk* Surreal deserves a proper HEA, not to be second best. It doesn’t even sound like, after the pregnancy, that their marriage was anything but name only (or have I misinterrpreted)?
I have requested it from the library, so I will read it, but…it sounds rather light versus the original trilogy, which was dark and heavy and you worried about the characters. In the more recent books, everyone has been so powerful that you kind of knew they would come out on top. Maybe this is the author’s way of showing us that even so powerful, they can’t avoid death?
@FD: From narrative point of view, it definitely makes sense. All those aspects I found unsatisfying in previous books? It now makes complete sense why they were left the way they were.
@orannia: You didn’t misinterpret. I just didn’t reveal the full details of their marriage since despite revealing a lot of the major spoilers, I still left some things undisclosed for readers who are still willing to read the collection. But for the record, it wasn’t in name only.
Thank you for this review. Although I’ve had problems with Anne Bishop’s writing, I really love to reread the Black Jewels series. Whenever I don’t feel like reading anything new, I gravitate to these books to skim or to reread.
Therefore, I am rather dismayed to hear about the ending to this world. I understood that Jaenelle would die, but I had hoped that there would be a legacy of Jaenelle’s and Daemon’s love such as a child. I am not averse to Daemon finding love again, if that is what he found, but not so soon after Jaenelle’s death.
I’m also saddened to hear of Saetan’s death. I don’t like the fact that Daemon becomes the new High Lord of Hell although it makes sense that he does. Does Anne Bishop explain how this works? Or is it kind of like primogeniture?
I suppose I do not mind that Daemon and Surreal had a one-night stand. They have had a long history together, after all. It seems too convenient, too Harlequin-ish, that Surreal got pregnant though. Thanks for going more into detail in your comments. That kind of made me feel a little better about the whole situation.
However, I do not really want this for Surreal. It’s sad that Surreal settled for second-best but I suppose there really was no one else for her. She is a dark jeweled witch and a first-rate former assassin. That’s enough to scare anyone, let alone (weaker) males in the Black Jewels world. I suppose Daemon was the only one strong enough to accept her as she is.
With this warning, I won’t be getting the hardcover (in fact, I didn’t even know this book was coming out until now). I will probably get the paperback to add to my Black Jewel’s collection, however.
I also don’t like the fact that Surreal’s and Daemon’s daughter becomes the new Dreams Made Flesh. It is too convenient, too much of keeping it within the family. I wonder, does Daemon have a similar need to serve his daughter as Saetan had served Jaenelle? Or was Daemon so strongly pulled to serving Jaenelle because she had been made flesh from his strong dreams?
I have a feeling that I will regret reading that last novella though.
Anyway, thank you again for the spoilers. I would definitely not have wanted to read this book unprepared.
@nasanta: I did get the impression that the High Lord title was a lineage thing. We have been told over the entire series that Daemon is essentially Saetan’s mirror. Daemon had already been taking care of the duties given to the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan in previous novels, and in this collection, he starts taking over other duties from Saetan regarding Hell. He doesn’t assume the full mantle until Saetan dies, of course.
As for the daughter, she’s dreams made flesh like Jaenelle but she’s from a different set of dreams. Jaenelle was the convergence of many dreams of many people. That’s why she was so epic (and Mary Sueish). The daughter, however, is the convergence of dreams from only three people: Daemon, Surreal & Jaenelle. I won’t deny that she’s special and twee but I feel that she’s a different kind of special and twee from the original Jaenelle. She’s not an reincarnation. And for various reasons (see below), Daemon will never feel compelled to serve her the way he did Jaenelle. Jaenelle was his Queen and was the only Queen of his lifetime.
More spoilers: [spoiler]The daughter isn’t a Queen at all.[/spoiler]
@Jia – thank you so much for clarifying. I’m a huge Surreal fan and even emailed Anne Bishop as I was desperate to know whether Surreal had a HEA – I really wanted her to. It will be interesting in light of the above to read the novella. Surreal is very different to Jaenelle so I guess her relationship with Daemon will be very different.
So, is this the end of the Black Jewel books?
@orannia: That’s what I was told, but I feel like you can never say never in the publishing industry because writers can always change their minds for whatever reason (they got a new idea set in the world, they discover their new series in a new world doesn’t sell as well so they go back to what was tried and true, etc). I guess time will tell. I know Bishop’s next couple books are set in the Ephemera world.
Thank you so much for the warning. I know that if I had bought this book because of my love for the previous ones, I would have been disappointed and angry. I’ve always loved these books and been able to read them again and again, but this would have ruined everything for me.
I could see the idea is that he needs to stay connected, but does anyone else think that having children with Jaenelle would have served the purpose?
From the review I was very surprised that Daemon and Jaenelle never had children. Maybe it was because even though she “fully recovered” after almost dying, it made it so she couldn’t have children? Dunno, even if that’s the case it still sounds like a crap reason to me.
Ooops, didn’t read Jia’s post as to why Jaenelle and Daemon never had children. I still think it’s a crap reason.
I cannot stress how ABSOLUTELY betrayed and grossed out I am by this ending. I started reading these when I was TWELVE, for god’s sake. Does no one remember that Daemon raised Surreal? He only leaves her alone after she hits on him and even then he is still responsible for her well-being for decades. It would be like if Saetan and Jaenelle had gotten together in the second book instead of her waiting for Daemon. I understand that in the Cassidy books Bishop was leading us all to the position that Jaenelle would die, but I had rather imagined that would happen at the end of a book and in some heroic sense. UGH. Also, the scene in the third book where Daemon mourns Jaenelle is the best scene in the entire series. I can’t imagine him remarrying after that scene and that was before they had been married. To be honest, despite what was said in the Cassidy books, I thought he was going to kill himself after Jaenelle died. Sorry for long post, but Good God.
@valor: Well, there was that awkward passage in the books where Saetan did wonder what it would have been like to be Jaenelle’s lover instead of her surrogate father, so that hint was dropped. I guess.
To be fair, though, he wasn’t going to kill himself because he has enough of a sense of responsibility to carry out the duties of the High Lord of Hell and the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan. He did intend to spend the rest of his life celibate but Jaenelle gave her final command as Queen that he not do that.
Oh. my. gosh. I already knew that Bishop was going to explore Jaenelle’s death at some point, but I didn’t think it was going to be so soon! Jaenelle wasn’t my favorite character, and I didn’t like Surreal all that much either, but I didn’t want Surreal/Daemon to get together! This depresses me… especially because J/D never had kids.
I think if I get this anthology, I’m skipping the last story.
Thanks for the preview! I was so looking forward to this last set of stories but WTF indeed.
I thought “The High Lord’s Daughter” would be about Daemon coming out of mourning Saetan and Jaenelle’s deaths, perhaps adopting a daughter, like how Saetan was a paternal figure for Jaenelle.
Surreal definitely deserved her own HEA. Given her dark jewel and skills, I wonder if a more beta hero would have worked.
Thanks for the preview. Sometimes I like knowing these kind of things before I read a story. At least in my case, I have not really enjoyed any of the books after the original three (with the possible exception of the prequel).
Most of my dissatisfaction with the newer stories has come from the fact that the sense of EPIC has been missing. The appearance of ‘dreams made flesh’ solved the world’s problems and thus made most of the other plots kind of fluffy. For me to be happy with this ending I would have needed a return to Epic-ness and it doesn’t sound like this novella does that.
…also,of course, I <3 my HEAs and not having them peeves me.
Curse you immortal/mortal parings, how you vex me!
I still think Janaelle not being able to have kids is complete and utter BS. In one of the novella books (can’t remember which one – Dreams Made Flesh?), she said she is TOTALLY HEALED. Daemon could (smell?) that she was totally healed. If she is totally healed, why would she then not able to have children?
Or was coming back to reality like having cancer in people – where they are “cured” or “in remission” after radiation and/or chemotherapy, but they can’t have any kids because they’ve now infertile?
Well, whatever, I still think it’s dumb for Janaelle to not be able to have kids, let alone Daemon and Surreal having a one night stand that eventually leads to love. I could see Surreal wanting to have sex with “The Sadist” out of of curiosity, but it’s been shown that Daemon had no interest in Surreal and it’s never been shown (IMHO) that Surreal was even infatuated, let alone in love with Daemon.
It almost makes me want to put all my Anne Bishop books up on Paperbackswap, this honks me off so badly.
@Tanya S.: To be fair, the entire world was saved in the original trilogy. The prequel took place before the trilogy so it had that same level of threat because stuff was rapidly downhill at that point, which would eventually lead to the crisis point of the trilogy itself. You can’t get more epic than saving the world.
But you also can’t have the world be endangered again and again, not to the same level that was there before anyway. That gets repetitious in its own way. That isn’t to say there’s not a potential for intense conflict and high drama. I did like the novella, “Shades of Honor”, for that reason. We did know that something happened to Falonar so that bit of tension was lacking but it is interesting to look at how people adjust in the wake of the purge.
You’re right though in that “The High Lord’s Daughter” doesn’t have the epicness of the original trilogy. Maybe it’d at least had the intensity of “Shades of Honor,” my reaction would have been different.
@DS: Well, if I were Bishop, I would find it somewhat disappointing that her most popular books by far have always been her Black Jewels books, particularly the trilogy. Attempts she’s made to move on to other worlds (that series with Sebastian, the one with the elves) haven’t gotten nearly the same kind of fan love.
@RKB: Yes, even though I felt that Surreal and Daemon “got” each other better than Daemon and Jaenelle, I didn’t really see it as a romantic thing. What keeps popping into my mind is the one bit in one of the novellas, where Surreal and Daemon are eating together, and Daemon is telling Surreal he knows she’ll one day find the right man for herself. She’s worried that there might be something in his eyes that says he’s thinking he’s the right man, looks up, and is relieved to see it’s nothing like that.
Every time I try to think about how a relationship between Daemon and Surreal would work, I come up against that one scene, and I get incredibly sad for Surreal. I really wish Daemon (and possibly also Surreal) had ended up with someone not from the original cast of characters.
I haven’t even read this, and it’s depressing me. I do want to read it for myself, but I guess I’d better make sure I’ve got a nice big stack of fun romantic comedies to read afterward, for emotional cleansing.
I also felt that Daemon and Surreal had a deeper understanding. They were very close friends. I think that’s why it doesn’t seem so odd to me that they would end up together after Jaenelle’s death. It’s not uncommon, even in “real life”, for best friends to end up together after a tragic loss like this. It doesn’t seem implausible to me.
(Wow sorry this is TL; DR)
UGH, thank you so much for the spoilers for this Jia, I’ve been waiting with bated breath for some to come out and now that they have I kind of wish the Daemon/Jaenelle child plot line was never resolved.
Surreal and Daemon was a pairing I also never imagined, the idea that Surreal was *in love* with Daemon never crossed my mind and I’ll be honest it strikes me as so much conivinient bull. I never saw the hints that she was *in* love with Daemon, that she loved him? Sure I figured she saw him as a distant absentee father figure that his cousin (her real father) never was. This was in my mind both a hinderance and a blessing because Daemon really cared for her and gave her the support she really needed at a time when she needed it and also helped her grow to be a such a strong person it was hard for her to find a man who could match her will.
I’ll be serious I was with someone else on her who said they were hoping she’d end up a lesbian with Karla. Or that she’d at least find someone else for true love with. As for Daemon moving on I guess I did sort of selfishly hope that he never would I BELIEVED he never would because I was convinced that he was made by the darkness for the expressed purpose of being the lover of Dreams Made Flesh and that he *couldn’t* be in love with another woman. Hell I was hoping he’d adopted a young girl and discover she was the child of his soul and live happily ever after.
Bah, this is apparently the last book in the Dark Jewels Trilogy and I think it’s Anne Bishops way of angrily closing it because, she really has GOT TO be frustrated that none of her other series have taken off quite like this and all the others are being compared to it. To be fair I DID try her other ones, Sebastian (which was all right…kind of bland) and the elf one which was awful.
@marumae: I ALMOST managed to get through her elves series, and I think I do own them all. However, every book I got through was a test of my willpower, the series bored me so much. The thing about her original trilogy that grabbed me was the characters (except for Jaenelle, who always came across as cardboard to me), and there is not one character from that series that stuck in my mind enough for me to remember them now.
Her series with Sebastian was better, but the problem with that one is that it felt like regurgitated Black Jewels. It had some of the same elements that I enjoyed from the Black Jewels books, but they felt…less.
If this novella really is a way of angrily closing the series, I wish someone had held her back, told her to take a few deep breaths, and had her rewrite it. Or at least give it the space of a full novel, because that is a heck of a lot of punches to pack into a limited page count.
I agree with Nonny that I don’t think it’s implausible that Daemon and Surreal would end up together. I just wish the execution were better here. As someone said above, this is a major change and development and it wasn’t even worth exploring in a full-length novel? Really? But I also like the friends to lovers and one night stands that lead to love tropes, so that probably colors my opinion.
@marumae: Don’t apologize for being wordy. This review is over 2000 words long and I could have gone on for much longer!
I do sympathize with Bishop’s dilemma. I’m sure it’s absolutely frustrating to want to move on and write other things but just not be able to. But I think it’s telling that the books readers latch onto best is the one series whereas the others seem to incite the same reactions across the board (elf books = terrible; Ephemera books = a bland, regurgitated version of Black Jewels). I know Bishop’s next books are set in the Ephemera world but maybe beyond that, if she tries another world, she’ll have better success putting something. She obviously has talent. The fact that people are disconcerted by these developments tells you that she did her job at making you care about the characters and their relationships, and that is a gift.
I never read spoilers but thank you Jia for this one!! I don’t understand this ending at all…no matter how well AB may have executed it. I never thought of Daemon and Surreal as friends but as FAMILY which is totally different. Them ending up together, especially as you’ve described, wouldn’t work for me on any level. Both characters deserved so much better than this.
Daemon was willing tortured for HUNDREDS of years on the mere belief that Witch was coming and he was meant for her. How do you take that premise and end it this way? I can’t decide if I’m more angry or heartbroken at the injustice to all three characters.
Thank you for the early review and spoilers. As a fan of the Dark Jewels books, I have been eagerly anticipating this next book even though her Shalador duology was a bit of a hit and miss.
From the synopsis of the novellas I anticipated that Jaenelle was going to die and possibly that he was going to connect with someone else. I felt ok about that. There would be closure to their relationship and yet continue to live his life.
The Surreal part was definitely shocking. In some ways it is a very real ending. What happens when a spouse dies? The living continues to live. I’ve read somewhere that those who love deeply, more often than not, do find another love and continue their lives.
Of course, readers of this blog love romance novels and the HEA. With our investment in the Daemon/Jaenelle relationship, it is shocking for some of us to reconcile this change. Does this mean that Bishop is writing from a fantasy point of view instead of a romance point of view? I would assume so.
Since the first set of novellas, it has felt to me that Bishop was being compelled into continuing to write in the Dark Jewels world rather than being drawn to it. I cannot decide yet whether I will be reading Twilight’s Dawn but I am heartily glad that I am not anxiously awaiting it’s arrival just so a plot bomb could hit me.
Do they say what the name of Daemon and Surreal’s daughter is? I can only hope it’s not ‘Jaenelle’ or ‘Tersa’. ;)
Honestly, that would be the only reason I’d even pick up the book would be to find that out, so perhaps you could spare me?
@JS: Sorry to crush your hopes. This IS Anne Bishop we’re talking about. There is a reason why I said the daughter was twee.
[spoiler]Her name is Jaenelle Saetien. It was Surreal’s idea.[/spoiler]
Mind you, she’s twee in other ways too. I personally think of her as Dreams Made Flesh version 2.0 for a reason.
Jia: WTF in regards to the spoiler you just posted.
Sounds like a VC Andrews plot.
Seriously, what was Bishop thinking? Was there no editor to say to her, what in all that is holy is wrong with you?
Ugh. This is as bad as the epilogue of the final Harry Potter book (though I did love all the books, the names of the children really made me roll my eyes).
Is there an Old Tongue explanation for this name or is it just the combination of two names?
Let’s not forget that this is also a characteristic of the SaDiablo family. Daemon’s real name is Saetan, after all.
…yeah, I got nothing.
@JS: No, it’s exactly as it looks like. Named for the most important people in Surreal’s life, you see.
And I managed to type that out with a straight face. No gagging. Really, I did.
I never viewed Jeanelle as sweet and innocent. I always viewed her as Witch, a she lioness with her claws hidden, but they were there and she knew how to use them, power just below the surface, an exotic creature who just wanted to be normal but never could be but she darn well would try.
I am seriously wondering if Anne Bishop has lost her mind.. I kept thinking something epic would happen that would save Jeanelle, but the black jewels has never been about extra ordinary happening (miracles) it was always about power, and things were what they were. Through all of the books she was the thread that held them together, even before she was born. I don’t see how anything can come from this that would be satisfying. I wrote her an email a while back and she said this wouldn’t be her last book with the black jewels world, but it looks like she is taking a break, I just don’t see how she can come back from this.
And in the same email with Anne Bishop she said it was a loong time later, like hundreds of years… so when did hundreds of years turn in to twenty of no love before Surreal? confused..
@Jia: I am reminded of the Twilight series. Renesmee Carlie Cullen. ::shudder:: Since Surreal only managed to work three people into her child’s name, rather than four or more, I suppose you could say she failed in the Naming Showdown.
“There is nothing I can say about “The High Lord’s Daughter” that wouldn’t be a
major spoiler, but I will
say this: the stories span a couple of centuries, and in a family, there are
losses in that amount of time
but there are also joys. Daemon will be all right.
As for the Black Jewels series, I don’t know if future stories will be about new
characters or will revisit
people we already know, but I’m sure there will be more stories about the Blood.”
part of the email sent over the summer from Anne Bishop to me…. so I am going what the heck!
Thank you very much for saving me from what would have been for me exactly what you said, a series killer. I’m very happy to have this review save me from losing one of my favorite series to the WTF bin a la the Anita Blake novels. thank you thank you thank you!
omg i am speechless…wtf!!!!! actually i am horrified….i kinda feel like crying…no no no…sorry guys i dont think i’ll be able to get this book….
Thanks for the spoilers, I’ve now cancelled my pre-order since I definitely do not want to read this book.
I feel betrayed and disgusted with this turn of events. Daemon waited a thousand years for Witch and when Jaenelle finally came, his feelings were always suspect. Did he really love Jaenelle for Jaenelle or was it only because of Witch? The plot told and seemed to show us time and time again that he loved her for Jaenelle, even until she lost her Ebony power, but High Lord’s Daughter is utter bullshit.
One person already said – Surreal getting pregnant from their one night stand is so Harlequin-ish. Yes, there are only enough times the characters can have an EPIC BATTLE WITH EVIL and SAVE THE WORLD, but that doesn’t mean it should branch out into bad fanfic plot territory.
How could two people who grew up under the social stigma of being bastards be so careless about contraception and have a daughter from a one-night stand?
I love this series. I reread it every time I feel like reading a good book, or if I feel the need for a cleansing after reading so many crappy ones. Reading this review breaks my heart. Or more accurately, when I first read this review, I felt like crying but tears wouldn’t actually come out and now I’m just mad. Why end it this way? Why couldn’t she have just left it with Cassidy’s story? Another Terreille-centric or side-character story wouldn’t have hurt either. I feel gutted with this turn of events.
I love Surreal and although I can see how a relationship with Daemon will work, I just can’t accept it. The initial summary made me think that Daemon and Jaenelle wouldn’t have kids, and Daemon would end up being emo for centuries until he finds a Witch to raise just like his father did. I was sad and afraid of reading the book then but those feelings don’t even compare to reading these spoilers. I want nothing to do with this book. Ever. I’m sad that another favorite series is going down in disappointment.
If Daemon’s marriage with Surreal is just in paper, it sucks for Surreal. If Daemon eventually loves Surreal as much as he loved Jaenelle, then it sucks for me because I can’t look at the Trilogy the same way anymore. If he doesn’t, and Surreal ends up being second best always then it sucks for Surreal. Again.
The one thing that I loved about Anne Bishop was that none of her stories ended up in disappointment. They might not end up living happily ever after, but at least Jaenelle was alive at the end of QotD. The succeeding books were just a bonus. But why THIS!?! Why ruin it?
I agree with someone who said that Daemon raised Surreal and this skeeves me out, too. Yes Saetan had a FLEETING wish of being born as the lover instead of the father, but he never acted inappropriately towards ANY of his charges. He never had a one night stand with Jaenelle and got her pregnant. This whole fiasco is just gross.
I can’t even anymore. idek :|
@oshirigaitai: I totally one hundred percent feel the way that you do. I don’t think I can ignore the book, I want to know the details of why? But my brain is having a hard time accepting this outcome. She was Witch!! rules don’t apply to her!!
@Sabrina: Exactly! Jaenelle was already a Sue. I expected it to carry on til the end. Find some way to have them both together longer, or even forever. Daemon’s reasoning about not getting Jaenelle pregnant is weak, and made even lamer by getting Surreal pregnant through a one-night stand.
I like reading about surprise!babies from one night stand-plots, but I usually get that fix from cheesy romance books. I didn’t expect it from Black Jewels!
@oshirigaitai Thank you for voicing my view down to the last detail. I was talking to @sabrina about it and I just cannot get it through my head. I can’t comprehend WHY she would do this.
I read this series to my neighbor who can’t read and when I read this review earlier I was absolutely GUTTED.
This doesn’t make an ounce of sense and I always figured that since Jaenelle was Witch AS WELL AS Other that Draca or somebody would figure out how to prolong Jaenelle’s existence even longer.
I can’t read these books anymore. My neighbor told me not to throw them out but I just cannot. look. at. them. the. same. way. anymore.
Surreal was one of my fave characters because she was so ballsy and she was an adoptive sibling / cousin of Lucivar and Daemon’s.
But now…I’m done with this author. I couldn’t be more thoroughly disgusted.
@Alicia: Or not even that, if she didn’t want to make Jaenelle into an even bigger sue, I would’ve settled for Jaenelle and Daemon living happily ever after in the Abyss. In that nice little place Jaenelle took him to to fix his chalice, that hideout she has. I wouldn’t have minded an EVERYONE DIES but!!! they reunite in the Darkness and live happily ever after type. ANYTHING BUT THIS!
I’m in total agreement with you. My BJT books have had a prominent place in my main bookshelf for SOOOOOOO LONG but after I read this review I had to take them down and put them out of the way where I can’t see them. Waaay way back on the bottom shelf of my other bookshelf. This installment ruined them for me.
I thought I’d just pretend I never read it and erase what I’ve learned from my mind, but I can’t. I think back and become so suspicious of Daemon and Surreal scenes now. I can’t even look at Daemon the same way anymore. Disgusted. Skeeved. Disappointed. Sad. Horrified. Rinse and repeat.
I am shocked. And appalled! I feel like I’ve been a victim of bait and switch.
The Black Jewels Novels were always about Jaenelle despite it never having told from her perspective. Not
all fans like Jaenelle, but it has always been about her. I can’t imagine a Black Jewels book without
her, although I liked the Cassidy books. If AB really had to write another one, I would’ve preferred
installments where the SaDiablos only make cameo appearances, like they did with Cassidy.
Reading about Jaenelle and Saetan’s deaths in canon is upsetting. An open-ender would’ve been preferable,
and new characters taking up the center spotlight, like what Rick Riordan did with Heroes of Olympus,
would’ve been nice. But knowing that Daemon moves on, and moves on with Surreal? I am gutted.
As I’ve said before, Black Jewels is about Jaenelle. The main romance was about Jaenelle and Daemon.
Finding out that the epic romance that was a big plot point in the original series dies and then
gets replaced makes me feel cheated. I’m also incredibly annoyed that “family” is switched over for
romance. Not that I have anything against romance, but Surreal and Daemon’s familial bonds and what
they’ve overcome when their friendship broke and subsequently repaired was precious to me. I liked that
Daemon was a big-brother, sort-of-father in place of Kartane (Daemon’s “cousin”) when Surreal was a
child. I liked how their relationship progressed from mentor-ish, to friendship, to family. I know
they’re not biologically related, but their history might as well have made them so. This one night stand
turned marriage turned love squicks me. Squicks me a lot. And I’m not easily squicked. I ship m/m incest,
but I’ve been totally blindsided by this.
And so, I feel like this development makes a mockery out of what I loved best about Jaenelle and Daemon’s
romance. 20 years is hardly a drop in the bucket of Daemon’s life. How big a liar Daemon is when he’s
already moved on after only a short time. Saetan’s death aside, I really can’t accept this. I feel
It’s perfectly reasonable and not implausible for Daemon to move on despite claiming to love Jaenelle as
much as he did, but meh. I still feel cheated. I’ve always been secure in the knowledge that AB stories
always end happily ever after for the main characters, despite the odds. But at the last minute, AB
switched heroines and I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.
Years of emotionally investing into a character, into a canon ship that’s sunk needlessly. The series was
perfect the way it was. I didn’t need to know of Saetan and Jaenelle’s deaths in canon. Why did she even
write this? To punish the fans? I feel like I’m being punished. Not to sound entitled or anything, but
when an author peddles a ship from the get-go and does so for more than a decade, you can’t just
sink and replace it without leaving feelings of betrayal behind. It’s not like this was her only
choice. The series could’ve gone in many other non-heartbreaking directions, but it took the worst
one instead. I wonder what was going on in AB’s mind when she wrote this.
Ten years worth of shipping down the drain. She didn’t have to kill Jaenelle. She didn’t have to make Daemon move on with Surreal in a really cliched plot. Ten years of emotional investment over fictional characters, however small, accumulates.
Where can I get a refund…
@zeke: That’s why I recommended not to read this collection and pretend it never happened.
@Jia: Not reading it is the easy part. Pretending it never happened takes a little more effort. I can’t even look at my Black Jewels books right now. I wanted to read the trilogy to wash away the heartbreak from these spoilers (thanks for saving me the time and money, btw!), but my enjoyment has dulled. I don’t know if I can ever look at them the same way again. Or any Anne Bishop book for that matter.
Don’t throw out your books or otherwise abandon the original series – just pretend everything Jia wrote was a description of fan fic. Heck, that’s kind of what it comes across as anyway – it’s kind of hard to believe Bishop really did this to her characters and series.
@LG: Honestly, after I finished the fourth novella, I told Jane it reminded me of the kind of fanfic written by rabid fans angry that their pet ship did not become canon. See: Harry Potter (the Harry/Hermione shippers), Twilight (the Bella/Jacob shippers).
Thank you so much for writing this review! I was excited and slightly worried about this book, but now I’m absolutely horrified at what the author has done to her characters.
Thank you oshirigaitai (post 68), I couldn’t have expressed my feelings any better.
I love the BJ books, and I feel completely betrayed by an author who builds up this amazing beautiful story with characters who mean the world to each other… and then proceeds to do what AB has done.
I’m going to try and pretend that this is just some horrible fanfic. It’s going to be tough, but I’m trying not to let this story change the way I feel about the other books in the series.
I know from a prior article that Bishop has not closed down the ‘world’ of the Jewels definitely. She said she was working on a new series unrelated but might return there later.
Regarding the SPOILER…I will have to read for myself. Unless it is horribly mis-written I don’t find the ideas it proposes wrong. I disagree with the illusion that readers can or should try to tell authors what to write. If you don’t like a writing style then don’t read the books. BUT taking you on journeys where you might not wish to go is part of what literature is about. I like books with realism mixed with the fantastical. So for me having that ending or the one for the last Bujold book does not disappoint.
I am sorry you don’t see it that way, but on this case we have a fundimental disagreement about what readers can tell authors. Tell them you don’t like the plot, tell them their grammar sux, tell them they need a clue as to how to use tropes, but don’t second guess how to write their stories…write your own.
@Lyssa: I disagree. Fans can voice their opinions, just like every other human being is allowed to do. Fans who love and have read this series have an opinion on how certain characters are portrayed. When characters who were beautifully characterized devolve into poor caricatures of themselves, expect some less-than-fluffy reactions.
You have your opinion and other people have theirs. It is what it is.
Just wondering… how plastered were Daemon and Surreal when they had sex? Were they drinking Gravediggers? Were any of them conscious of what they were doing? Did any of them care at all that they were doing it? I’m curious to know what they were thinking when they were doing it. How did Daemon exactly mourn Jaenelle? Did he even care for her at all?
1. We don’t actually see Jaenelle died. She’s been dead a year when “High Lord’s Daughter” starts. When she died, she commanded Daemon (as his Queen) to mourn her for no longer than a year. And on the anniversary of her death, he “officially” comes out of mourning, meaning that he returned to his social commitments.
2. Actually, they weren’t drunk. They weren’t drunk at all. Just very griefstricken. It was supposed to be a one-night of comfort thing.
By that point, Daemon had already slept with other women. Surreal wasn’t the first woman he’d slept with after Jaenelle had died. But she was the first one he actually brought back to his quarters.
@Jia: So how did she get pregnant? Wasn’t he taking contraception when he slept with the others? I can’t wrap my head around it… Where does Jaenelle factor into all this? Did he really even love her or was he just in love with the concept of Witch for so long that he transferred it to Jaenelle and thought himself in love with her when he wasn’t? In your opinion, did he love Surreal by the end of the novella? How exactly did he mourn for Jaenelle and why is he having sex with others? For someone whom sex was the only thing left sacred when he was Hayll’s Whore, I am so confused.
@zeke – No kidding. He was a virgin before Jaenelle, having avoided anyone forcing him from having sex against his will. And we’re supposed to believe he had sex, even just meaningless sex, with multiple women after Jaenelle’s death. I’m even more confused now than when I thought he just fell into Surreal’s bed for a one night stand.
Daemon has sex with other women after Jaenelle dies? I’m with LG on this one. Daemon waited thousands of years of Jaenelle and not even a year after her death he becomes a man ho???
This doesn’t make sense at all. This sounds more like someone’s failed attempt at writing Bishop fan fiction.
Hmmm. I’ll weigh in here – I’m not happy about the way things seem to be going in the book (but I’m going to reserve any real judgment call until I read it.)
But…as awful as it may be, speaking from personal experience, it’s not uncommon or unheard of for people to try to drown out their grief over the loss of a mate by trying to find another one (even on a subconscious level). Meaningless sex? Probably. But so what? The thing he wanted most in his life had been his and was gone. Sometimes it’s just a desperate need to try to recapture even a little bit of what you had.
(As a general observation, it does seem that men are much quicker to remarry in real life than women.)
Keep in mind, too, that Jeanelle was older – at 80 or so, Daemon had to know she wasn’t going to suddenly manage a way to live forever. Maybe he was already in the process of an extended grieving when she passed? (Again, something that does happen often when you are forced to watch a spouse die of illness, etc.)
Not making any excuses here, because it does seem terribly wrenching, but it’s plausible.
As far as the Surreal thing – I have to admit there was scene in Tangled Webs that really had me wondering about where things might go (the one where Daemon’s all open shirted and barefoot on her couch? Seemed like he was rubbing himself in her face a bit.)
Just my two cents.
Plausibility and implausibility aside, I still can’t get over the fact that Anne Bishop sunk a ship that’s been going strong for twelve years. Hints and now-loaded Surreal-Daemon scenes aside, I can’t just roll over and accept that a footnote novella discredits 8 books of Daemon’s supposed ~OTL4ever~ with Jaenelle and replace it with ~but it’s realistic, even in real life~ long-term marriage with Jaenelle.
It wasn’t broke, she didn’t need to fix it. They’re her characters, but couldn’t an author be considerate of the time and emotional investment readers have made throughout the years? The more I think about it, the more upset I become. I feel shafted, tbh.
Okay, so. The following are my thoughts and theories, formulated from the fourth novella as well as bits and pieces from the series as a whole. I’m not spoiler-cutting this so just skip if you don’t want any more spoilers…? (Beware: Long comment is long.)
I might have missed it but it’s never actually said in the text that Daemon is drinking the contraceptive brew. I may have been reading into it too much but I was under the impression the same thing was at work that had allowed him to stay impotent during his time as a slave, that had allowed Lucivar to stay sterile during his time as a slave. Basically, it was through sheer force of will. So just as meeting Marian turned the key that made Lucivar fertile again, his fear of Jaenelle dying in childbirth kept that door locked in Daemon. That’s what I took away from it.
(I’ll just ignore for now that it’s kind of gross that Daemon basically made that decision for Jaenelle. Why didn’t she get a say?)
What the text does say is that Surreal hadn’t been drinking the contraceptive brew because she hadn’t slept with anyone for several years so what was the point? That part is believable to me. Is it irresponsible that she ended up having unprotected sex, knowing that she wasn’t taking the brew? Yes. But immense grief does that to you. It makes your thinking far more scattered and fragmented than alcohol ever could.
It’s actually something she ends up panicking about when she does realize she’s pregnant. Daemon’s m.o. post-Jaenelle’s death is to have meaningless flings with women but the instant they want something more, he drops them because he fears they will try to get pregnant in order to tie themselves to him. Surreal is horrified that she inadvertently became one of those women (and ironically succeeded) so when she tells him, she assures him that she will acknowledge as the father but he did not need to worry about taking care of her. Of course, Daemon reacted by locking her in the Keep and refusing to let her leave instead.
Now you can draw your own conclusions about that because it does speak volumes (to me anyway), if my interpretation is correct and Daemon kept himself sterile with Jaenelle by sheer force of will, that Surreal got pregnant after only one night. True, they did have sex multiple times during that night but still. As Allison mentioned, there have been bits and pieces throughout the books that seem to foreshadow this novella in hindsight.
As for why Daemon had sex with other women… Honestly, I think that was part of Jaenelle’s influence. Throughout the books, Jaenelle’s (or Witch’s, if you prefer) presence has healed people from their various wounds. Maybe after a lifetime with Jaenelle, she healed that part of him. I don’t know for sure; maybe someone else will draw a different conclusion from reading the novella but that’s what I think Bishop was going for. And as Allison said, the great love of his life has come and gone. The only thing left for him to do is go on. Meaningless sex is a part of that. Whether or not that’s something readers expect from the Black Jewels universe? That’s something else entirely.
But this goes back to what I said in the original review. I do like the idea of this storyline. I really do. I love the storyline of mourning a loved one, grieving, healing and learning to live again, and then finding love again. I do. But after over a decade of various Anne Bishop novels, this is not the kind of story I expect from her. This is not the kind of story I want from her. It’d be like if Mercedes Lackey stopped writing about abused, ostracized kids who rise above their circumstances and become awesome, sometimes through the influence of telepathic white horses, and instead started writing about ignorant farmboys with mysterious heritages who save the world by collecting plot coupons. You don’t read Mercedes Lackey for that, and I don’t read Anne Bishop because I want a nuanced, sensitive story of healing and second loves.
I do think Daemon does love Surreal at the end of the novella. At the very least, Bishop intends for us to believe it, and I do believe it. I just don’t believe what she was trying to sell: that his love for Surreal was equal but different to his love for Jaenelle. I took away: his love for Surreal was a good love and a long-term love but not quite as all-consuming as his love for Jaenelle. I’m not saying that’s unrealistic because you don’t love different people the same way, and Surreal and Jaenelle are very different women and the relationships Daemon has (had) with them are different because the dynamics are different. I wouldn’t expect his loves for them to be the exactly the same. I just wish I could have bought that they were equal, and I just don’t know if that was possible in the space of a novella.
Oh yes and one more point:
The novella itself spans centuries and I think this is the source of its greatest weakness. Because up until this point, the books themselves (and even the first three novellas) have taken place over shorter time periods. Yes, it’s true that the books are about the people who serve Jaenelle/Witch or live in her shadow but the books are centered around Jaenelle/Witch. Without her, you wouldn’t have the books. So because Witch was housed in the body of a woman from the short-lived races, it makes sense that the passage of time in the books would follow. Short-lived races? Burn bright, burn fast. The books? Burn bright, burn fast.
The novella, however? By that point, the people who are left are the long-lived races. We start at the first anniversary of Jaenelle’s death, track to 20 years later when Saetan’s dies, and then to centuries later when the daughter has her birthright ceremony.
The way time passes for the long-lived races has never really stuck in my head. I actually don’t think it’s been emphasized myself and one of the first things I asked Jane when I emailed her was if she’d picked up on that in previous books. It makes sense that it would pass slowly for them but it was hard for me to reorient myself. Because in one scene, the daughter would be a newborn and then in the next, she’s already running around, riding horses. So while mentally, I’d think, “Oh, it’s been 5 years,” it actually was probably closer to a 100? So Daemon falling in love with Surreal actually took centuries but it doesn’t read that way exactly because the previous books hadn’t “trained” us to read like that. If that makes any sense at all?
@Jia: I agree that this book needed much much further explanation from the sound of it. I wonder if Jeanelle knew since she was a black widow that this would happen, it wouldn’t really surprise me. I am intrigued about the Dreams made flesh that is Surreal, Daemon and Jeanelle’s dreams. If Jeanelle dreamed her, she might be something special, if not in the power kind of way since she just wanted to be normal. I am glad I have til March to absorb this information, or else my pregnancy hormone filled brain was going to lose it, and probably still will (I’m not due til May).
I feel short changed in two ways, if she was going to do this, there should be a good explanation as to why! I want to know why I was short changed, and why she brought in that type of reality in to the realms, it was not needful and she upset a lot of fans because of it. I really am having a hard time seeing this series with out Jeanelle and I kind of don’t want to (she was my favorite, Surreal was ok, but there were other characters that I liked more). I’v picked up on the foreshadowing of Surreal and Daemon, so maybe this was her intention all a long, but its not very satisfying and it feel like a puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit.
I really wanted there to be a way for them to live forever after. Its not fair that its not possible and there is no going back now!!
@Sabrina: I feel weird using spoiler tags in a spoiler-filled review with spoiler-filled comments but I’ve been trying to withhold some details for people who plan on checking out the collection.
But here is the answer to your question:
[spoiler]Jaenelle did know.
Dreams Made Flesh version 2.0 came about from a web she started spinning in her lifetime. She wasn’t able to complete it before she died — it wasn’t ready and couldn’t come together — so she left the web in the care of the Arachnian Queen who finished it.
The web was constructed from these sources:
Daemon — who desperately wanted a daughter (…just not apparently from Jaenelle because it would kill her? idek)
Surreal — who wanted to admit her love for Daemon; who wanted to have a child
Jaenelle — who wanted Daemon to be happy, to live a full life, and to love again after she died.
You are on the right track though about the daughter. That’s part of what I was referring to when I said she brings things full circle. A lot of the events from her childhood are mirrors of events from Jaenelle’s childhood. But different. I know some people think that sort of stuff is twee and overindulgent, but I like that kind of twee. That’s the one element I liked about this novella without reservation. But I also admit other people may find it saccharine and it may cause them to vomit.
@Jia: Daemon was drinking contraceptive brew. The first time I remember it being mentioned was by Prothvar and Lucivar when Prothvar was explaining to Lucivar why SaDiablo Hall was uncomfortable for darker jeweled Blood ever since Jaenelle allowed Daemon to fully fulfill his Consort duties. They talked about how Daemon said he wanted to enjoy his lady’s bed for a few more years so he was going to be diligent with taking it and they need not worry about it anymore.
I’m in total agreement with you in regards to not expecting this kind of writing from an Anne Bishop novel. Let alone, the Black Jewels. Yes, in hindsight, there are always foreshadowings of somethings, but I could say the same thing about every book/manga/series I’ve ever followed. There’s always a foreshadowing of something that’s open to interpretation, but to see Black Jewels actually go there has left me gutted.
Good for Daemon that he finds an enduring love and happiness in his long-term marriage, but this novella is like a kick in the gut. That I didn’t need. I just finished reading several Maya Banks books prior to reading this review that featured such one-night-gets-woman-pregnant-man-does-the-right-thing-and-marries-her-and-they-eventually-find-love and the books were 100+ pages at best. I liked reading about it because I expected that kind of plot going into it, but not with this series.
Healed views on sex with Jaenelle’s help or not, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that Daemon is so cliche and goes out manwhoring. I’m supposed to believe that sex isn’t sacred to him anymore now that Jaenelle’s gone? And gets down with Surreal, Kartane’s (the man he thought was his blood related cousin) child, the child he mentored from a young age and then subsequently thought to be as a cousin for centuries afterwards after only 20 years? Everything is so cliche.
Daemon’s virility might’ve unlocked, if he were just doing it through sheer force of will and not taking contraceptives anymore, due to the daughter being Jaenelle, Surreal and Daemon’s Dreams.
Daemon’s reasoning regarding not having a kid with Jaenelle is really lame. It irritates me further that he got Surreal pregnant instead. Could Jaenelle have given birth to her and Daemon’s Dreams instead is what I’m also curious about. And Surreal’s too, I guess. What were their specific dreams anyway? He could’ve found love with any child of Jaenelle. I can’t believe he got so selfish and didn’t give her a choice in that. What a jerk.
lol, I feel like I’ve gone through several stages of grief ever since I read these spoilers. So far I’ve gone through denial, anger, bargaining and depression. Don’t know if acceptance is coming; at
this point it seems unlikely.
I got my cousin into this series a while ago. When the Trilogy came out in one edition I gave her my old hardcopies. She loved it. When I told her what was in store for High Lord’s Daughter, I had to take them back plus the other BJT books she bought to complete the collection. She was going to throw them away and I don’t like seeing books in the trash. :/
@Jia: I agree, I don’t mind it either, I’m a bleeding heart what can I say. I think its what might get me through the reading, it will be bittersweet but I don’t believe in ignoring the existence of a book because I’m afraid of what will happen, so prefer denial. lol btw I am one of those people that read the last pages of the book and then go back to the beginning because I rather know what happens and read through it slowly and get the details, so thanks for the information!
* some prefer denial
Zeke, she lists the specific dreams in the spoiler after my comment at 10:40.
Extremely sad about the no children with Jeanelle thing, I don’t agree with his reasons, and I don’t think she was that fragile, but he has also almost lost her several times, fear does strange things.
@Jia: yes it makes sense. That is one of my main complaints.
Any of the books after 3 were good stopping points, but Bishop kept going. I enjoyed the fluff immensely and was always aware HEA don’t last, but to actually have canon shove it in my face is unpleasant. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it and quit while you’re ahead and all that.
@Sabrina: IKR? Whether you hate Jaenelle or not, Black Jewels was about her. It’s like doing a Superman movie but substituting Batman in the epilogue because Superman quit.
@Sabrina: Ha! A person after my own heart! It’s very rare that I read straight through a novel from start to finish. I typically read the first 50-100 pages and then flip to the end, read the last couple pages, and then come back. lol This habit didn’t use to be so bad but then I started reviewing books for Dear Author, after which it became standard practice.
But you know, even though I’m still processing what happened in “The High Lord’s Daughter” and I definitely wish the execution had been better, I actually don’t regret reading it. A part of me does admire what she tried to do, and I do think it’s an excellent example of what happens when authorial intent and reader expectation diverge.
@Jia: Oh, I didn’t read this before I asked about what Dreams the daughter was made of! lol, sorry.
Reading it convinces me more that Jaenelle was shafted. lmao
Surreal comes in a close second, with never having that one great love because ~she was meant for Daemon all along~ and that lingering doubt that she may have to play second fiddle to Jaenelle no matter what the novella says.
But Jaenelle… BJT was about Jaenelle. Without Jaenelle there would be no BJT. Love her or hate her it’s a fact. Girl had to endure all she did, and when she finally gets her man in the end, the man ends up too selfish to give her a child because he supposedly was too in love with her to risk her health. The saddest thing is, all those foreshadowings and Daemon’s future behaviour makes me rethink his feelings for Jaenelle. 8 books and a thousand+ years of waiting tells me he really did love her, but actions speak louder than words and getting a kick in the gut from this novella has made me suspicious. lol
OMGOMGOMG!!!!! i would never have guessed that Daemon would hook up with Surreal let alone have a kid with her. They only had the BFF vibe not the lovers vibe.
I thought Jaenelle and Saetan were going to be murdered in the 3rd section, then in the 4th section Witch would come back to Daemon but in a long-lived race.
But this is just a shocker. And could potentially destroy the series.
Oh god please tell me this is a horrible nightmare and when I wake up, it’ll all go away.
This is worse than what Studio Deen did to Rurouni Kenshin with its Seishounen atrocity. Oh god. I am absolutely horrified! At least with Kenshin even Watsuki (the original creator) felt as unhappy as I was with the result saying his character went through so much crap and deserved to have a happy ending. I never knew Anne Bishop hated Jaenelle to the extent of actually writing her death in canon and then giving away her man to her cousin. OH GOD!
At least Studio Deen never messed with Kenshin and Kaoru’s undying love for each other. This is a nightmare! My worst nightmare come true! Oh god! <- I can't say that enough. I've gone into shock.
Well that just sucks. Anne Bishop didn’t allow Daemon to have kids with Jaenelle because she needed that plot point to make Daemon fall in love with Surreal. Talk about depressing.
I can’t believe it. I am shocked. I never wanted to think about this happening, Janelle’s death. I just wanted it to be them together and jsut forget about the fact that she would eventually die. And his father…NOOOOO! I’m officially devistated. I cried when I read the spoilers. I don’t know how I wille ver view the books the same and I don’t know how I feel about the Surreal thing but I like Daemon having a child. They will never be in love like Janelle and Daemon but I think they will be a strong couple bonded by all the s**t they had to go through in life. She’s known him for a while so it will be more like friends who had a child and not lovers, regardless of what Bishop wanted it to be. Still love her as an author
Oh, man, this review really bums me out. The Black Jewels trilogy has been a comfort re-read for me ever since I first read it almost half my life ago, and this really sucks the comfort out of it.
I’m still firmly stuck in denial and have even been entertaining the idea that the novella is in fact a fake, intended to create confusion and controversy prior to the release of the real novella. I think I had gotten to the point where I was fine (aside from still being upset that Bishop thought it would be ok to cram all of this into a novella), but finding out about the multiple women after Jaenelle and before Surreal was the last straw for me. That, to me, screams bad fanfic, because it breaks established character traits.
And looks like there’s another anime fan here. Kim, now you have me worried about the Rurouni Kenshin episodes I’ve got that are waiting to be watched. “Seishounen atrocity”? I suppose I’ll need to look it up so I can prepare. ::sigh::
@LG: If you’re watching the tv series, you should be okay. The tv series diverges from the manga around episode 62 or thereabouts and the rest of the episodes (until 95) are essentially made-up filler.
There are two OAV series. The first one is a prequel and based on the manga arc that begins immediately after Kyoto Hen. The second OAV series, however, is Seisouhen (Reflection) and that is an arc completely made up by the studio for some unknown, godforsaken reason (money grab? who knows?) with no basis on the manga at all. Just ignore the second OAV because it will seriously destroy your will to live. I don’t even know what the studio was thinking, and it’s a bad sign with the original creator disavows a work like that. For the most part, Weekly Shounen Jump mangaka* are lenient with non-canon fillers.
*I realize Watsuki is not part of the Weekly Jump stable anymore.
Yes, it’s the TV series. I’ve read all the manga and enjoyed it. I had wondered about whether I should get the OVAs. I guess this is my answer.
Daemon becomes a man-whore? Surreal became Daemon's 2nd wife by becoming pregnate in a one night stand? I just can’t read these books again because the whole time I’ll be thinking that Daemon didn’t really love Jaenelle just the idea of her and all of this in the original books in really meaningless. Daemon becomimg a man-whore that above all else is so unbeliavable to me. I’m sorry but I’m done I couldn’t enjoy any of her other books and this series is now dead to me.
Everyone keeps saying that because he listens to an order (and we know that orders are different from the Queen then just an order from a wife) that he could not possibly love Jeanelle as much as he says he did. People are capable of loving more then one person. From the sounds of it, yes he has a one night stand but he doesn’t fall in love with Surreal until centuries later. I don’t like the plot, but I have not read the book personally to know how I feel one hundred percent. But I think it’s silly to say he never loved Jeanelle, I feel he loved her more then anything. And as Jia says, A. Bishop tries to make it sound like it is an equal love with Jeanelle, but not a great love like he had with Jeanelle but a good one, and it doesn’t come off believable that Surreal was anything but second fiddle (which is sad for Surreal but I feel that means he loved Jeanelle more then ever).
I’m starting to think I have a different definition of manwhore? Yes, he does sleep with other women after Jaenelle and before Surreal and no, I don’t recall the novella giving a certain number so maybe it was hundreds of women, but I don’t think so. I got the impression it was just a few women. I understand though that for some readers just a few is still too much.
@Sabrina: I personally think he still loved Jaenelle best, which was the sad part for me because I really wanted Surreal to find her great love. And I guess maybe for her she did but I think it would have been nice for her to have a partner who would have cherished her the same way the other women in the series (Marian, Cassidy) ended up being cherished. But then I do believe that you can love more than one person in a lifetime as well.
I think the problem here though is, as I repeated constantly, that this isn’t the story people wanted from Bishop. Up until now she’d told us stories about one true loves: Lucivar & Marian, Cassidy & Grey, even Saetan and Sylvia to a certain extent (because Saetan’s previous wife was Hekatah and look what that led to!). It’s a shift in the paradigm, I guess.
Wow, talk about a big disappointment. Anne Bishop could do whatever she wants with her characters. Kill them, make them act completely out of character, make their lives miserable or anything else, but I never expected this.
In the books succeeding the Trilogy, she has written more fluff and happier pieces, and I feel completely blindsided by this.
I refuse to believe Surreal was in love with Daemon all along. It cheapens everything she’s done in the series, and makes her look like a snake waiting for the right moment to strike instead of the character I admired half my life. Even if it was unconscious on her part and only realizes it after she finds out she’s pregnant, or even if she feels the greatest remorse – no. Just no.
Bishop can do whatever she wants with her characters, but I never expected her to assassinate their characters. I think it’s really lame that Bishop cockblocks Daemon and Jaenelle from having children so that she can pave the way for Surreal and Daemon’s romance. Talk about unnecessary.
I am disillusioned with this series. Disillusioned with this author. Enjoyment over these books are lost. And I’m sad that I can’t think of Black Jewels as comfort reads knowing this now. Still, I’m holding out hope that as long as I pretend this doesn’t exist, I can still go on like I did before.
Hey, I can dream, right?
I prefer one true love and against all odds kinda plot lines personally. Agreed, this is not a story I expected or wanted from her. I dislike harlequin novels they are a dime a dozen. I am hoping I find something redeemable in the books. But I do not question for a second daemons love for jaenelle. I kinda wonder if he took jaenelles order literally to the best extent he could since it was an order that would clash with what he would normally choose for himself.
Did Bishop write sex scenes for Surreal and Daemon? If she did, how does it compare to the ones Jaenelle and Daemon have?
@Isley: She did. I thought they were pretty standard sex scenes for Bishop, honestly. I personally didn’t like them but I think that has more to do with my perception of Surreal and how I feel like she wasn’t really acting like herself in this novella.
Of course, my personal complaints with the treatment of Surreal’s character extend back well before this collection, so I’m really not the person to ask.
Thanks for answering my question. Now I’m definitely sure I won’t be buying this book. Just thinking about it makes me want to regurgitate my lunch. Shouldn’t have read the answer after a meal.
As bizarre as it sounds, this storyline makes me feel like my dad cheated on my mom with my favorite aunt. And I can taste bile in my mouth rn, negl.
If Daemon really does love Surreal as he did Jaenelle, then I don’t think he really loved Janelle at all.
In the real world, people could love several soul mates several times in their lifetime. But in the Realms, we’ve only seen Blood have their One Great Love once in their lifetime.
Jia already said this, but I’m putting my two cents in.
Saetan married Hekatah but he wasn’t really in love with her. He had that conversation with Marian that puts Sylvia as the best candidate for his true love. Lucivar has Marian. Gray and Cassidy. Lia and Jared. Blaed and Thera. Talon and his dead wife. Morghann and Khardeen. Aaron and Kalush. Gabrielle and Chaosti. Moonshadow and Mistral. And for eight books we’re lead to believe that Daemon’s one great love is Jaenelle.
The Blood also truly only have one Queen for the rest of their lives. Males may serve several Queens in their lifetime, but they only have one Queen with which they feel that special pull with. Jaenelle is obviously the exception, because she is Witch and even Queens consider her their Queen. Talon had to wait for Cassidy. Saetan for Jaenelle… etc…
So if Daemon really does love Surreal as he loved Jaenelle, then Daemon didn’t really love Jaenelle. He might have just confused his dream of being Witch’s lover + the inherent sexual attraction Warlord Princes have towards their Queens + thousands of years worth of obsessing over Witch as love, but Jaenelle wasn’t his true love after all.
Of course, my personal complaints with the treatment of Surreal's character extend back well before this collection, so I'm really not the person to ask.
Jia – if you don’t mind me asking, I’m really curious as to what you mean by this. I really like Surreal and have been massively crossing my fingers the whole way through the series that she would find her other half…it just seemed like everyone else had but not her. (I even emailed the author about it). Now…I feel gutted on behalf of the character. After everything she has been through? IDK….I just feel Surreal deserved more.
On a complete aside – do we find out what happens with Rainer? I liked him :)
Oh, and I’d like to stick up my hand for enjoying The Shadow Queen books. So many fanasty novels write about the big crisis and then finish…I find the re-building aspect very fascinating. I don’t think The Shadow Queen books had the edge of the original trilogy, but I did enjoy them.
Lucivar taught us that a male can turn down a Queen’s order he just has to justify it and be aware he might suffer the consequences. So all this obeying my Queen cause she ordered it is hog-wash Daemon could have said no.
Daemon was shown in the main 3 books that he was not a man who had meaningless sex because of his time as a slave to him it had to mean something. When Jaenelle was sick he lost his sex drive and it didn’t return until she got better so for this man all of sudden to be able to have sex with out love that’s what I don’t get. That’s what makes me believe he didn’t really love the woman Jaenelle but the idea of her as witch once that is gone he becomes a regular guy who reacts like a regular man and I’m sorry Daemon was never a regular man.
Now the man-whore comment he turned away from his lovers weather they be one 1 or a hundred when they wanted to much when they wanted an emotional attachment he couldn’t give. So in effect it was just for the sex that to me means man-whore. Also in this world birth-control is not just something women worry about men take a brew as well so if he has acting this was why wasn’t he taking it.
I can honestly say I never thought about Jaenelle dying until the Shadow Queen series when a comment was made by Surreal it made me sad and I accepted it but didn’t dwell on it. Do I want Daemon alone for the rest of his life no it would have been interesting to see how such a man could have been able to fall in love again. But the way it was done has made me so angry. I’ve deleted all the books from my reader cause I no longer believe them. I’ve deleted the books I still hadn’t bought off my wish list and I’m trying very hard not to dwell on these books anymore but all I seem to be able to do is rant.
@orannia: Ah Surreal.
So Surreal is my favorite character of the books. But the thing that has always annoyed me about her treatment is that over the course of the series, she loses her edge, that bite, those metaphorical claws and fangs. She is a courtesan-assassin. And by accounts, very good at both parts of that occupation.
And yet we got Tangled Webs in which she had to be rescued by Lucivar. One of the things I dislike very much in fiction is when a supposedly strong female character capable to taking care of herself suddenly needs to be rescued by the men because the men need to look awesome. Or something. I’m not into that narrative, and also because I have a longstanding beef with the way courtesan-assassins are portrayed in the fantasy genre at large.
So my issues with Surreal’s portrayal rest more with the fact that I’ve increasingly felt, that with each new book, she has become a caricature of herself in order to fit the plot rather than letting her character organically advance the plot.
I also have large issues with how her relationship dynamics with Daemon were portrayed but I don’t think those will make much sense to anyone who hasn’t read the novella yet.
We do see more of Rainier. He shows up in the first two novellas.
I refuse to completely write off this series until I read it for myself, let alone write off daemon and jeanelles relationship. He tortured his brother for his queen and he knew he would destroy everything but he did it for her. Yes they can ignore their queens command and catch hell for it. But I am reserving judement til I see how anne reasoned out the why. I have a hard time swallowing demon sleeping with other women. But so far the only person here who has read the book is the reviewer so we are working on limited information.
My roommate and I love the books. I read the review, she didn’t. I’m bursting to tell her—anyway, she is rereading them and sometimes stops and quotes things and some of the recent things she has quoted are with Surreal and Daemon…knowing what I know now I can kinda see the love and I honestly think it cheapens the books a little…
@Jia: *grin* Interestingly, the courtesan-assassin usually isn’t my favourite character in a book…and while I like strong female characters, I usually prefer them to be strong internally rather than externally (but that’s a reflection of me and something I’m working on changing ;)
Anyway, all that aside, I love Surreal because of that internal strength she has – to survive come what may. She…has to rely on herself because she’s never had anyone to rely on. And…I can’t see that changing quickly, which is why I too found Tangled Webs…wrong sounds like too harsh a word. Out of character perhaps? You’re right, she does lose that edge she has…the edge she has had to have ever since her mother was murdered and she ended up on the streets. She had to have it…and it wouldn’t just vanish because three strong, dark-Jewelled males appears who claimed familial ties.
And…Lucivar & Daemon already had a strong reputation pre-Tangled Webs. So that softening of Surreal wasn’t necessary.
Hmmm. I do want to read Twilight’s Dawn (my library hold is intact :) but March seems so far away. I don’t think though, that I will be happy with the outcome because I feel Surreal deserves more. Her character is so vibrant, even in the latter books, that a full-length novel would have IMHO better addressed her complexity.
On the plus side, I’m so glad we see more of Rainier :)
While I am a little sad to see it end this way, I’m not anywhere near as upset as most of you obviously are. I realized right after the original trilogy that there was going to be a major difference in life expectancy for Jaenelle and Daemon, and was wondering how it would all play out.
I think this is an unexpected twist to the story, but I can’t see how it taints the love that Daemon had for Jaenelle, nor that it is at all gross because Daemon “raised” Surreal. Honestly, in my opinion he didn’t have a father like relationship with her, he was sort of a mentor and nominal guardian/companion. Surreal and he seemed to live fairly separate lives that intersected on occasion, because he was always servicing some Queen or another, and she had her own professions. If you think it’s gross that he’s known her since she was 12, consider how young Jaenelle was when he met her. Just because she was his fated one doesn’t mean that it makes the age difference any less creepy. Surreal was probably mentally a lot older than 12 since she’d been on the streets already by that time.
I enjoy the writing of AB (I may be in the minority here as well, but I liked the Ephemera series, and didn’t see it as a pale version of BJT at all), and this doesn’t change my enjoyment of any of the previous books. The trilogy I consider the “meat” of the story, and the other stories were little vignettes that provided insight or glimpses of the people behind the positions. In the original trilogy, they all had specific roles to play, and there wasn’t really much time to see the lighter, more human sides of the characters, because there was too much epic story happening. The short stories also served to fill in some details that provided a better understanding of certain events (like Saetan utterly destroying an entire race of people) and gave the author time to develop characters instead of just the story.
The reader can have all the expectations s/he wants, but the author does not actually have to conform to those expectations – I was amazed by the earlier comment that said AB should take into consideration the emotional investment and time the readers have put into her characters…what about the emotional investment and time SHE has put into them? After all, she is the creator; you are merely reading the results of her vision. What you saw for her characters is vastly different, and that’s fine – she just happens to be the one in charge of the storyscape.
This isn’t my favorite kind of ending, but it’s a realistic one, especially for a long lived race. Maybe it’s meant to show that you can still be happy without that “one great love,” and that life moves on regardless of your loss. Or that companionship and friendship are sometimes more important than a grand love. I’ve always thought authors tended to avoid the obvious fact that the longer you live, the more losses you accumulate, especially when you’re as violent as the Blood. Think of how many friends and family members Saetan ended up outliving. Heck, Sylvia wasn’t from a long lived race either so he would have lost her also. I’m actually a little curious about Surreal and Daemon, because Surreal is only half Hayllian; the rest is Dea al Mon, who are short lived. I thought it was implied previously that Surreal will outlive many of her friends, but is not as long lived as Daemon.
@Isley: I don’t think those are good examples of the Blood only having “One Great Love.” Those were main (or important secondary) characters, so obviously their romantic stories were a little more stable. Surreal thought she was in love with Falonar at one point, Sylvia has a son, so presumably she might have loved his father, Ferall (in Shalador’s Lady) ends up with a widow, etc, etc. I’m pretty sure the story was never intended to mean that everyone is given only one true love. I think if the Blood were seriously only given one mate they’d be in trouble, considering that killing is not a crime among the Blood and they ARE a rather violent people. Also, it doesn’t specify about the “one Queen.” My interpretation is that a man can be drawn to more than one Queen in his lifetime. He can also serve Queens he is NOT drawn to, and choose to NOT serve Queens that he IS drawn to. It always seemed to be like being attracted to someone – sometimes the chemistry is there, sometimes it isn’t. Talon mentions that he served a Queen before and she is why he became a rogue.
Regardless of how I ultimately feel about this last book, I’ll still enjoy the series. It was well written and beautiful, and nothing changes that.
@tenshineko – Ditto ditto ditto everything you've said!! @Lyssa too!!
When I read the review and then the response in the comments, the first thing that popped into my mind was Joss Whedon. He's the creator of Buffy, Angel and Firefly. And he's known for pulling you into a detailed story set in an amazing world with characters you totally fall in love with. And then he kills one, or two, or more of them. When he did it in his movie Serenity, the folks threatened to string him up they were so mad. It was shocking and horrible and it is hands down my favorite movie. He's my favorite writer. Anne Bishop runs neck and neck. I trust that when I pick up her book, I'm going to go for a ride that's going to grab me by the throat and be totally unlike anything else on my shelves. Completely worth the time and money spent.
@tenshineko: Actually, Sylvia is a member of a long-lived race. It’s just that Saetan’s lifespan is abnormally long, even for a long-lived race.
@Jia: Oops! I forgot the Dhemlans were a long lived race. Thanks for the correction. Considering that Saetan lived about 10x the normal lifespan of his race, it’s no wonder everyone else looks short lived next to him.
I also remembered that Saetan loved Cassandra (and thought she was his Witch) for many years until she faked her own death. It never said which race she was from, but she did live a comparable lifetime to his.
That’s actually one of the details I disliked – that there were so many short lived races and only 3 much longer lived races that mostly became corrupt. The whole Dorothea problem would have gone away a long time ago if she didn’t defeat her more formidable rivals by simply outliving them. With that much time, anyone can accomplish their goal. If there was powerful opposition from another long lived race, it could have been nipped in the bud before it led to a purging of the race.
@tenshineko: That’s one of the reasons why Surreal agreed to marry Daemon because she wanted to prevent a repetition of Saetan’s mistakes. The implication being that if Saetan had never withdrawn from the world the way he had, Dorothea would never have risen to power the way she did.
@ tenshineko, while I agree with your sentiment that authors can do whatever they want with the book certainly, that doesn’t mean I have to agree with their actions. As others have said this is more realistic certainly and I do like the idea that someone *can* move on and get on with their life after their soulmate/one true love comes along in real life, in the world of the Realms I do not like it. This is definitely not reality, and while it has the violence of the real world, these books were always a dark escape for me.
I understand and admire what Bishop’s trying to do here, but I don’t think the Dark Jewels was a place for her to do it. As I said before I do think it cheapens the series and the love between Jaenelle and Daemon as being this big, epic destiny that spans a thousand plus years. Someone suggested it might have to do with the healing aspect of Jaenelle and while I do like the idea and agree that Jaenelle does that, I don’t think this is the way to manifest it with her character healing Daemon, he was always the toughest nut to crack, the most damaged to heal and him ending up after a one night married to someone who he thought of as a younger cousin? There’s got to be another way that doesn’t (as I said before I do believe this) cheapen the relationships she had preestablished.
I’m sorry to say this really does damage the rest of the series for me, I may pick this up one day to finish it out, but for now I’m going to avoid it.
@marumae: Oh, I don’t have a problem with people disagreeing with what an author does with a story – telling people that they have no right to an opinion is not my intention. I don’t think anyone ever truly agrees with every aspect of a book; part of the reading experience means that you are imagining the story as it unfolds, and naturally you have your own view of where the story should logically go. It’s quite possible that Anne Bishop wasn’t actually trying to “do” anything here at all – perhaps this is simply where her imagination took the story. It may even have been planned from the inception of the novels.
Hm. I thought that as the High Lord of Hell Saetan was supposed to withdraw from the living Realms. I know that they have a law about not interfering with other Realms because that in part was Dorothea’s goal. I wonder if Daemon ever heals enough that he doesn’t freak out in Terreille?
I think the proof that Bishop wrote a powerful, enduring romance between Jaenelle and Daemon is seen in the strong feelings that everyone feels for the couple. I can see why many people feel betrayed by how it all turned out, but for me it is still the epic romance of a very long lifetime. The characters didn’t end up where I wanted them, but that doesn’t surprise me because I wanted Jaenelle to stay with him forever:)
Ah you’re probably right, she probably in all reality didn’t mean to break any ones hearts on purpose, but simply took the characters where her imagination saw fit…even if I didn’t agree with that ;). I wanted my schmoopy happily ever after with Daemon and Jaenelle and a ton of children–but I suppose I should be happy they got some kind of happily ever after at all and even though I don’t like where they put Surreal she did get one eventually.
Thank you for this. I am so happy I found it, because it will save me the heartbreak of reading the book.
I guess we always knew that Jaenelle was going to die much sooner than Daemon, but it was not something that I wanted to read about. And Saetan!!!! I don’t want to even go there.
The other thing I find unbelievable is that Daemon had a one-night stand. I mean this is Daemon we’re talking about – the Daemon who had never really had sex with anyone before Jaenelle. Remember everything that happened in the beginning when everyone wanted to breed him, but they couldn’t because he… couldn’t? Not even during his one night with Surreal. He even lost his libido when Jaenelle was healing. How is this Daemon all of a sudden involved in a one-night stand? Doesn’t jibe with everything I’ve read so far.
I don’t want to think about it.
For starters i don’t think Surreal was in love with him ALL ALONG, I think it developed towards the end of the last couple of books, more so when Jaenelle got old and passed. I certainly don’t believe it would have happened during the main trilogy. It wouldn’t be the first time that bestest friends have turned to each other in a time of comfort and love develops (though i’d had a thought that even though Rainier was gay maybe he might turn bi and something would happen there between them – i guess not).
I also don’t think that someone as strong willed as Jaenelle would just smile and nod when Daemon said why he didn’t want children with her. It may not be mentioned, but i think if this was the agreement between them then Jaenelle must have agreed also, maybe she had her own reasons.
Saetan says himself that he always highly valued sex, so maybe he brought that up so many times over the years that it became a new thought for Daemon too – there is a difference between waiting for the right person to lose your virginity to as opposed to the only person you’ll ever sleep with when you can no longer be with that person.
In times of grief contraception is the LAST thing on someones mind – even if they do look back after and think oops!! I don’t think Surreal is coming off second best – there is such a thing as different love, otherwise people who marry widows would never be happy. As sad as I am to see life after Jaenelle – it was expected she would die and she seemed just the type to tell him he MUST move on.
Mostly what i want to say is though I appreciate the review and everyones opinions, I don’t believe in the idea of refusing to read a book based on one persons review and interpretation. If i’m going to hate a story it’ll be because i read it myself and thought it bad, not because someone else didn’t like it first.
I’m keeping my preorder, i’ll be getting my hardback to go with the rest of my books and i will devour it like I have all the rest. Then and only then will I make my final opinion on the story.
PS – Merry Christmas all :)
YES! YES! YES!
Janelle was so boring. Surreal was one of the only characters in this series I could identify with. I always thought there was chemistry between Surreal and Daemon, and I’m glad this author took a risk and went there!
So to one person, at least, the whole premise sounds interesting :)
Wow, that was a lot of information about the last novella. I never expected to find that much information on it, but I’m very thankful. I’m still a bit confused on one point though: Jaenelle says she came back after unleashing her powers for Daemon and that Jaenelle’s dreams got woven into the new web, so why wasn’t having a longer lifespan to spend with Daemon part of her dream? That’s what I expected to happen; I assumed she had her own reasons for not telling Daemon about her longer lifespan. I see Jaenelle as a fundamentally Mary Sue character (she’s made up of people’s dreams after all) who has dreams of her own struggles between being what other people want/expect her to be and what she wants for herself and I find it a very compelling struggle. It seemed that she got what she wanted when the Weaver and the kindred healed her. The fact that longer lifespan wasn’t part of that makes me feel that she is reduced to a tool used to heal Daemon and make him happy — a plot device rather than a character. In that context, it makes sense that she wouldn’t fight Daemon on the child thing.
And as I think about it more, the Surreal/Daemon relationship also echoes the Jaenelle/Daemon relationship and gets a bit less creepy. Daemon was more like an older brother to Jaenelle when they first met as well, although he always had eventually being her consort in the back of his mind and the books acknowledge that they don’t see each other as siblings. Surreal and Daemon had an acknowledged family-type relationship, so I still find their new relationship creepy.
I’ll still read the story, though I’ll probably pretend it doesn’t exist afterward and Jaenelle got a longer life after being healed. Darn it, once I read a story, I get full rights to ignore canon and fix the story to make me happy!
Oh no! NOnonononono. This book shouldn’t even exist. *groans* Now excuse me while I go cancel my pre-order.
In my life there have only been two series that have caused me to turn obsessive and re-read the books over and over and over again. Harry Potter and Dark Jewels. When I found out about Twilight’s Dawn, I got so excited only to see the summary for The High Lord’s Daughter. I am completely shocked at what actually happens. I assumed Jaenelle would die but I thought the daughter would either be 1) Jaenelle’s and Daemon’s or 2) Daemon’s daughter of his soul. I’ve been reading this series for almost 5/6 years now and genuinely enjoyed reading all the books except for Tangled Webs. I’m disappointed that Jaenelle didn’t live longer (since she is a Mary Sue) or at least a daughter was left behind. Add to the fact that Daemon had to lose TWO people and not just one. I’m not against Surreal/Daemon but it’s going to take a while for me to get used to. Plus, I have to see how Anne Bishop wrote it. Strangely enough, I’ve always thought that Surreal was perfectly fine by herself although a lesbian affair with Karla would have been awesome.
I’ll buy the book just not in hardcover. I plan on getting a Kindle and just buying it from there. I really like Anne Bishop’s writing and this series in particular. (Tried her other stuff but couldn’t quite get into it.)
But thank you so much for the review and spoilers. I’m sure that if I read this without knowing any of the WTF-ery that goes on, I’d have crashed and burned which would be awful since the release date for this book is also around midterms for me and there is no way I would have been able to concentrate well enough. I have enough time to get used to the idea and just be able to enjoy the ride versus hoping against hope for a cheesy/cliched happy ending that would never be.
@Kasie: To be fair, I do think the daughter is the daughter of Daemon’s soul (she is dreams made flesh). It’s just that she also does happen to be his daughter, and Surreal’s as well.
Well, that is true. I guess my fangirl self just really wanted to see Daemon and Jaenelle have a child together. But then I was thinking about it and maybe it was a good idea not to have Daemon’s child be Jaenelle’s. I feel like there were would be a lot of expectations because of who the parents are.
Oh, and I don’t think you mentioned this but I apologize if I missed it. Does Lucivar appear in “The High Lord’s Daughter?”
@Kasie: He does. He doesn’t have a main role though since “Shades of Honor” was his story, so to speak.
I’ll add my thanks to those who’ve already done so. I’m glad you posted the spoiler and I’m glad that I read it.
My stomach has been knotted up since reading the summary for that last story almost a year ago. And not because of the possibility of Jaenelle’s death; her death would, in fact, bother me hardly at all. No, it was the thought of losing Lucivar and/or Saetan that I couldn’t bear. (Especially Lucivar. I’d sob and sob if that happened.) Knowing about Saetan…That’s just not something I can read, which means that this collection is now a no-go for me.
I think the fact that an actual sob escaped me when I read this is a testament to how much this series has meant to me over the years.
Daemon waited centuries for Jaenelle. It’s made undeniably implicit throughout the entire series that she is his destiny, that he was born to be Witch’s lover. And now that all falls kind of flat. Because of all that time, after all that waiting and waiting, after his whole life was shaped by her arrival, he got eighty years? What?
There’s being realistic and then there’s being realistic.
I’m actually a little bit heartbroken.
I always hoped Daemon would end up with someone else once Jaenelle passed, but I never envisioned it as Surreal. It would have been an interesting story to have him meet someone new and learn to love again. I will read it though, just because it is the Black Jewels. Oddly enough, in the end, he gave Dorothea exactly what she wanted: his bloodline and hers. Hmmm…..
Thanks so much for the detailed review and spoilers. I cancelled my order as well.
I don’t see how Daemon and Surreal would hook up after Surreal asked Daemon to have sex with her. He felt betrayed that someone he trusted and considered a friend would ask him to sex her up to up her street cred, as it were. They eventually grew together to have a very close friendship and familial relationship… but love? I didn’t see it.
The other thing I have a problem with is this: Witch was a compilation of all the dreams and strengths of all the realms. She reached to Daemon long before her birth- how in the realm-loving sense did she NOT have a long life span?
The Daemon from the first three books would have have “sought comfort” from other women. He would have buried himself in work and Lucivar/his family.
What a bummer. :-/
Forgot one other thing- Daemon couldn’t tell Jaenelle “no” for anything. He could coax, persuade, cajole… but flat out say “no, I’m not going to have babies with you because I love you too much.” Is just not… Jaenelle. She was way too headstrong to meekly accept some… *male* dictating how she would live her life.
I’m so upset. I went on iBook and saw she had continued the series and downloaded dreams made flesh and deleted it after reading this. The first trilogy got me through so much and gave me courage and dreams and I just can’t believe Bishop would kill Jaenelle!!!! After all that girl went through and all Daemon went through, they can’t have a happily ever after and just end it there?
I have been scouring to find her e mail to call her a crazy idiot
Like things aren’t bad enough in the world she has the kill the love his life and his father? Really woman?
Where’s Lorn and Draca in all this??????
@Susi: her email address is on her website http://www.AnneBishop.com. As much as I would love to have a conversation with her about the why O’ why’s of her decision, its well within her rights as the author unfortunately.
@Susi: To be honest, I don’t remember much mention of them. They might have been in “Shades of Honor” but it wasn’t a major role, if so.
I do agree with Sabrina that it is well in her right to tell this story, though. Just as it is our right as readers not to like it.
I shall reserve judgement until reading the story, but it’s not THAT far off left field for me. I’m actually most interested in the daughter to be honest. Is she a Queen? What are her jewels? If she’s a black jeweled Queen will she reign Ebon Askavi? Or were the dreams for her to be more “normal”, as Jaenelle always wanted to be? For some reason the offspring of the main characters always interested me. It’d be nice to see a grown up Daemonar or at least a Daemonar different than the little terror he’s portrayed as. I hope this isn’t the end… Mostly because this series is my guilty pleasure, and I’m constantly rereading them because for some reason the world really gets me engrossed.
Thanks for the forewarning though!
it’s in the comments some where where there is more information. The daughter is dreams made flesh, the dreams of jaenelle, surreal and daemon so she sounds special but not in the power kind of way.
Thank you SO much for the spoilers. I had pre-ordered the book and am incredibly grateful I am now able to save myself the misery. And, to my mind, no matter what others feel about it, it would be misery.
I cannot thank you enough.
You know, I think I can handle this, and in fact I have a stupid parallel to explain why. In “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” my OTP is Buffy and Angel, because they’re effing EPIC. The Slayer and the Vampire, the Chosen One and the Souled One, two warriors against Hell, etc. etc. But my friend preferred Angel and Cordy, because they grew into it from being friends. No, it’s not earthshakingly destiny-bendingly epic, but it’s warm and it’s comfortable and that’s okay too.
So… yeah. Surreal and Daemon aren’t going to be OMGOTP for me, because I really love him with Jaenelle. And I really wish that Surreal had gotten a different happy ending of her own. But I love both characters, I know they’re be comfortable and happy and safe together, and well, that’s okay too.
Firstly, I have to say that I actually liked the Tir Alainn trilogy, I thought it was interesting and different but perhaps that is because I am a witch so I understood the premise a little better. (Although I am not a building bridges out of moonbeams witch, although that would be awesome), I thought she took a dark time in the history of our world and created a parallel to explore it.
Now to the final Black Jewels novel, I'm not surprised by some of the things that happen. Saetan dying does whack you in the heart I'll grant you but he was 50,000 years or so old, he was eventually going to die and why shouldn't it happen during the course of the novel? It gives the readers a chance to grieve and accept. We all have invested time in these novels; we love the characters so Anne has given us the chance to be in their world and take the journey with them, this is just a part of it.
It is a shame that Jaenelle and Daemon didn't have children, I did expect it but I think if we look at it honestly, as readers we would have expected far too much from a daughter they had. I did think there also might be a ‘together forever' ending with Jaenelle and Daemon, barring that I thought another Witch might come into his life, thus continuing the legacy.
However I am not so up in arms about the Surreal and Daemon pairing. If you look at the Black Jewels novels overall it was always about 3 damaged men who had lost hope and looked at their long lives as bleak and black and never ending. Jaenelle, although billed as â€œDreams Made Fleshâ€ was there solely to heal them and to bring hope and love back into their lives. She took 3 bitter, damaged men and made them capable of feeling love and happiness again and cleansed the Realm from taint thus providing a situation for these three men to grow.
So fast forward to this last novel and you have Surreal and Daemon together. It makes sense. Look at who Surreal is, a Gray Jeweled Dea Al Mon Witch and Assassin, her relationship with Falonar gives us a clue as to how any of her relationships would work. She's a novelty to start with but at the end her power and strength (not to mention family connections) would scare anyone – even a Warlord Prince. Just think about it for a minute – along comes a darker Jeweled WP (sapphire, green, red) thinking he's all sorts of powerful and he starts a relationship with Surreal, eventually the fact that she could kill him with or without jewels is going to grate on his ego and he is going to want a woman who needs his protection, and a woman who he feels he can protect and yes, even dominate.
Daemon knows her well, knows who she is and what she is capable of, she in turn knows the same about him. She is probably the most powerful jeweled Witch in the Realms besides Karla, unless another has come along during this time and Daemon could not live with or love some one who was afraid of who he was and his jeweled strength. Also Surreal knows how to deal with Darker Jeweled WP and you can't get much darker than Daemon. So I get it and I applaud it. I think it's a fitting way to end the series and it gives us all a chance to see that Daemon can love again and be happy.
I am surprised that their daughter is not a Queen. Given the mother is Gray and the Father is Black there is a good chance that after the OTTD she is going to wear Gray/Ebon Gray/Black Jewels. It is odd that some one who would potentially have that kind of power would not be a Queen, but then I suppose Surreal was never a Queen. I wonder if after Daemon passes or steps down, if he and Surreal have no more children (specifically a son) if their daughter would become the High Lady of Hell?
Thank you for the heads up. I am know deeply attached to Kim Harrison, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Karen chance, Patricia Briggs and Sunny. I will still read Twlights Dawn. I feel Anne Bishop let me down. Yes, Witch is bland but if you really think about- Bishop did not give her fans much of a character. I hoped that she would show her readers what impact Witch made on other territories. It made more since to me that Surreal would end up with Karla. Daemon deserved a child with Witch. With had a troubled child hood herself it would of been wonderful to read about her raising her children. I honestly think Bishop had no more juice for the Black Jewels. She might of grown tired of it all and decided to put it to rest. Daemon and Surreal??(WTF) really?? Yuck- Sorry I am so scattered. I am pissed off- I read Jennifer Roberson chesuli series as well. She will be coming out with two knew books in regards to that series. It is about the twins (boy and the girl adventures) The King who had several children by a deranged chesuli woman. At least I knew in that series they were trying to stop all the blood shed. What is really upsetting is the fact that Bishop introduced us to several characters in “Heir to the shadows” What the hell happened to them? Well, it was a nice ride. Sorry that I ranted and raved. Bishop let me down. I am glad I have others I can count on-
Well, while most of you are cancelling your orders, I will be reading this novel with relish. Yes, I will miss Saetan something fierce and I can accept that Jaenelle dies. This isn’t Twilightlandia where arbitrary rules reign. I can just imagine the outcry if for some reason Jaenelle was allowed to live on, even though her doing so was never foreshadowed in the previous books. And frankly, if Daemon has to find happiness with someone else, why not Surreal? They’ve been incredibly close all these years so to me their relationship makes far more sense than say, Daemon and Karla (LOL, since Karla’s not into men anyway). Here’s the funny thing: I don’t think Ms. Bishop has any idea what she’s wrought in terms of how passionately we feel about her characters and this world. I like Jaenelle, and unlike the reviewer, have never viewed her as a Mary Sue. You want a REAL Mary Sue, try Bella Swann–the Mary Sue-iest of all.
Good fantasy doesn’t always mean a happy ending. Then again, I’m more of a true fantasy reader so I guess I’m far more used to having characters die, even characters that I’ve grown to love.
I have to say, after reading this myself, I think all the spazzing about The High Lord’s Daughter was, and is, completely unnecessary. Daemon was deeply in love with Jaenelle. She was, in a lot of ways, his soul mate. But people can love again, and because she loved him just as much, she gave him the opportunity to do that. Everyone knew she would die before him, so being upset that there is no “Happily Ever After” seems ridiculous. There IS a happily ever after: he loved her right until the last. That is a beautiful and wonderful thing. And even happier is that he got to move on and find another person.
And it takes him at least four years after her death to even remotely move on. Part of that moving on included multiple sexual partners. Since when is there something wrong with that? Especially in this particular fantasy world. It seems like anyone who goes â€œThere is no happily ever after! Jaenelle doesn't live forever with her One True Love! It's broken foreverâ€ is viewing this book in a vacuum, or throwing out all the world-building Anne Bishop has done. People in this world have sex a lot – their society is very sexual. Is having sex with a few partners (because my impression from Daemon's narration, and other narration, is that he has only a handful of sexual partners, no more than ten in four years, which isn't a lot at all) the best way to deal with some of your grief? No, probably not. But everyone copes differently.
A second wife might not be loved in the same manner as the first, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t loved. I’ve known many men who, after being widowed, have taken a second wife, and they love that second wife just as much, if not more, but there is always going to be a part of them that loves their first wife. That’s not wrong. Why does it have to be black and white? Why can’t Daemon find another love, and in this case, be Surreal’s? He doesn’t have to wax poetic about her for the reader to realize he does love her. But their love isn’t the all-consuming love Daemon and Jaenelle had. It’s a much more platonic, a kind of on-the-level love. His love for Jaenelle fixed a really deep hole and wound inside him. His love for Surreal made him human.
And frankly, who better than Surreal to be his second wife? Everyone would be pitching a huge fit if Bishop didn’t answer the question “What happens when Jaenelle died?” Would fans assume he remained celibate for another four thousand-odd years, not even considering the time he’ll probably spends as the High Lord? That’s ridiculous. Of course he’d find love again. Perhaps 4 years is too short a time when you’re as long-lived as they are, but I’ve known widowers who moved on in less. And narration brings up an excellent point: someone who loves Daemon needs to know, and love, the Sadist as well. Surreal is the only one immediately capable of that in his life. Had it been any other woman, everyone would be up in arms screaming “Mary Sue!” even louder than they often do at Jaenelle.
Having met men who have remarried after losing the love of their life, I think this was a very realistic, well-done portrayal of that. The best? Maybe not. But I think people are kidding themselves if they say there's no chance in hell Surreal didn't carry a flame for Daemon. They had many hundreds of years to become very good friends, something that I think is very obvious throughout the trilogy. For Surreal, that friendship-love clearly became a romantic-love, likely the most when she was trying to help Daemon through the grief of losing Jaenelle. So, no, I don't think this breaks the books. I thought this was a really lovely way to wrap everything up, and in some ways come full circle. Out of all the stories, this was definitely my favorite.
Now I shall step off my soapbox and go eat a cookie.
Thank you! I agree with everything you’ve said. Despite the review and the majority of the comments, I was already looking forward to Twilight’s Dawn. Your perspective added in makes me want to make it a “I can’t come to work, Anne Bishop’s book came out today” day. Well said!
I read the book. I don’t know if the bookstore released it early or if it was released earlier than expected in general, but I read it. I cried through the whole thing and am really pissed at how it ended. More pissed that she ended it already, without wrapping up alot of things, when it seemed there was alot left to be said. If this is truly the end, LAME. Anne Bishop has always been my favorite author, and these books have always really touched my soul, and nothing else can be said but that this was a total letdown, expected or not.
@Big fan: Never say never. She might come back to it. She might just need a break. It happens all the time.
That’s fine, I guess I just feel like, ok, take a break first. It just seemed rushed.
@Reg: Thank you so much for being one of the few sane voices of reason here. I’m actually upset that a reviewer would actually urge people NOT to read a book for whatever reason, rather than just giving the facts and allowing readers to decide whether or not it’s for them.
This is one big reason hard-core fantasy fans hate the incursion of romance into their genre. There are many fantasy novels in which the HEA may not necessarily exist, and most readers are good with that. Characters may not be traditionally ‘heroic’ or they may die. But fantasy readers are grown-ups and can accept that if it’s part of the story arc or has been foreshadowed in some way–and if one really READS the Black Jewels series–a lot of what happens in Twilight’s Dawn was indeed foreshadowed.
As far as Saetan dying, come on! The man is over 50,000 years old, I think he deserves a little peace after everything he’s done to help preserve the Realms. I’ll miss him terribly, but that just means Bishop has a lot of room to go back and rewrite his history (which I hope she’ll do). And it’s no surprise that Daemon and Surreal end up together. If any woman can dance with The Sadist and feel up to the task, it’s a former courtesan/assassin.
I’m glad I switched to romance from Fantasy for books just like this. I think I will be waiting to see if she expands this series anymore before I read this book. I love the original series so much I don’t want to see it torn apart.
Dear author, thank you for that spoiler. I will read the book any way. I am a sci-fi reader and a fantasy reader. I aggree with kassie and Wed- She gave the reader too little on Witch. She sets you up for romance , that is why people are so pissed off. Bishop givs you the idea of romance and family ties. If you want some good science fiction try Michael Crichton, God bless his soul, or Ra Salvatore, jennifer roberson, Kim harrison, Patrcia briggs,Karen Chance, I read Pale Demon- So awsome. etc…. So long black jewels it was nice knowing you. I haven’t tried Kenyon yet but I will thanks kassie for the list of other authors. Have you tried Octavia Butler?
Thanks Cosmo. I can’t wait to read the book -despite the Dameon and Surreal love affair. I read Pale Demon as well- Kim Harrison is the bomb. This is her 9th book into the series and it is still powerful. Anne Bishop needs a break. I love her Black Jewels series. I will be donating them to the local library so others can read them as well.
Well, I love the Black Jewels series. (Ive never been much of a fan of her other work.) Loved is too nice a word, obsessed would be better. (See the similar name thing here?) I started reading “Twilight’s Dawn” earlier today, and I’m a little bit of the way into the second novella in the book. I’m sitting here at work (in a library) absolutely fuming. Not at the review, I’m actually thanking you so much for that! However, because Bishop did that to this series. That is not an ending. Its a monstrosity. I’m so ticked off! I’m sitting here actually refusing to read that novella. I won’t do it. And to think, I ordered it. It’s sitting on my porch right now, delivered by Amazon today. (I have the library copy right now, it was handier.) I don’t even know what to say, I’m so mad! Thank you for posting about this. I definitely did not want to get hit with something like that while reading!
I read this DA review when it was first posted and decided at that time to just reserve judgment until I'd actually read the book for myself. Now that I have, I have to say…. Overall, I liked it. :-) Stories 1-3 were simple-but-good, really-good, and too-brief-to-be-anything-but-ho-hum (respectively). The 4th story – the one that has so many people up in arms – worked just fine for me. I liked the overall story, but I thought it suffered from brevity and a lack of development. Honestly, I'd have preferred for Bishop to take the page-count devoted to â€œFamilyâ€ and instead apply it to â€œThe High Lord's Daughter.â€
I feel compelled to give Anne Bishop mad props for her courage here. I think she channelled her inner-Lucivar. I have no problems with the Daemon/Surreal pairing. (Anyone who has read the books knows that Surreal has a thing for Daemon and has had it for CENTURIES, even if that â€œthingâ€ was subsumed by her familial and platonic feelings for Daemon and Jaenelle. But also, they have a strong foundation of mutual trust, respect, and affection, and each knows that they don't have to pretend or conceal any part of themselves with the other. Why SHOULDN'T that be a good basis for a romantic relationship?)
I was a little perturbed by the daughter. Not by the EXISTENCE of the daughter, but just by her characterization. This is the area that I wished Bishop had developed. The girl has many Witch/Jaenelle-like characteristics, but she is NOT Witch. And there were a couple off-hand comments in the story – the Arachnian Queen musing that the final threads of the tangled web first begun by Witch before she became a song in the Darkness would be added by ANOTHER Arachnian Queen – that suggests that the story COULD possibly serve as a prologue to another series off-shoot in the future. So I do wonder if part of the lack of development is due perhaps to Bishop's not wanting to commit too much to canon at this point.
The common thread in the 4 stories is the theme of change. Every story is about change: change for the family in how they celebrate Winsol; change for the Eyrians who must choose between embracing the new and untried or being slaves to the old and familiar; change for those confronted by the line between the living and the dead; and change for those for whom time simply marches on. Change is not good or bad; it simply is. And as one of the characters – probably Saetan – points out: creation comes from destruction.
Readers are hard to please, and we complain constantly about every little thing. Had Bishop not taken this dramatic step and instead continued to write Black-Jewels-related stories like Tangle Webs and the Shalador duology, readers would have have complained that the series was fizzling out and Bishop should just stop writing the books. (Readers HAVE made those comments/complaints. I've been seeing them in cyberspace for a few years now.) Instead, Bishop writes a dramatic chapter that reads like an Epilogue, and readers are complaining because she had the temerity to â€œgo there.â€ *shakes head* She's damned if she does, damned if she doesn't.
Well anyway…. I liked the book, and it ruined nothing for me about this series. If anything, I feel a little hum of hopeful anticipation, because I like this author’s writing and the construct of the Realms, and I really would like to see what new stories she could tell us.
I wish I had found your site and warning before reading horrible destructive ending! I just finished this book and it really hurt reading it.
Bishop probably felt no death scene could do Jaenelle justice so she cowardly skipped it altogether. What a total coward for skipping Saetan’s, too. We readers deserved the emotional gut-wrenching scenes, we EARNED them by investing for years in these beloved characters.
Worse, Bishop destroyed Daemon’s character in her ham-fisted attempt to bring the story full circle, this time with a Witch born of the long-lived races… probably to escape the trap she set for herself by penning Jaenelle as too human in the first place.
Cowardly and destructive it how I sum up this novella.
I always suspected Surreal was in love with Daemon and Jaenelle knew this, too, so I was not surprised that in death Jaenelle would be ruthless and manipulative in hopes of anchoring Daemon to life to prevent him from sinking into the abyss without her. I was also not surprised Daemon and Jaenelle never had children as her body was so badly broken in the purge that it was in character he’d protect her from childbirth, always her well-being came first to him. Jaenelle knew the only way to heal her body enough for childbirth was to reach for the Ebony/Witch power once more… yet that would destroy her body so badly she would not survive childbirth She’d risk her life to give him a child but she would know he’d resent that child forever if she died birthing it. So Bishop writes Jaenelle weaving a web where Surreal gives birth to her and Daemon’s dreams made flesh. Again, Bishop proves a coward by hinting Surreal is some type of surrogate here.
Bishop’s destruction comes in rushing and minimizing Daemon’s immense love for Jaenelle by dishonoring centuries of fidelity. To Daemon Sadi, giving of himself sexually was sacred and reserved for Witch only. He does not do casual sex! Further he resisted women for 1,700 years yet couldn’t last more than a few years without it and while mired in deepest grief?!! The phrase this does not compute rang so loudly in those pages of Daemon the manho.
Secondly, the author asks me to believe that after waiting 1,700 years for Jaenelle, after descending to the Twist Kingdoms when he lost her, that Daemon would get over losing her so quickly. A year??? 20?? Really?? If Bishop had waited centuries before Daemon awoke from his grief, the story would have honored his character and the epic love story.
In her absurd rush to bring the story full circle by introducing the rebirth of a new Jaenelle, Bishop spit on her own brilliant epic love story and worse took away the needed time for characters AND READERS alike to mourn the great loss of Jaenelle.
We needed a full book for this story shift to be told. Daemon struggling to carry on, struggling to fulfill his Queens last wish but unable. Surreal grieving too and drawn to try and save Daemon. We would grieve with them and slowly come to accept centuries later these two would turn to each other sexually one lonely night. And then a miracle occurs and Jaenelle is reborn in their daughter. Jaenelle’s weaving after 100+ years finally coming to fruition and offering these two lonely characters a new lease on life. Daemon finding some joy centuries later as he follows his father’s footsteps in living solely for his daughter… his living miracle. Surreal reveling in raising a child free from the rapish nightmares… a little girl who beamed with trust in the world.
I would have respected a well-written sage of two deeply scarred individuals centuries later creating a miracle that shocked them back into life. Alas, I got rushed, shabby novella by an author who just couldn’t wait to jump start to the next hot character’s story.
Ms. Bishop, no doubt worried at the last minute Daemon and Jaenelle fans would quit the series, tossed in a sop with hope for Misty Place reunions in future books! I hurled the book across the room!
When i read this book I was like WTF all the way through. lol my husband threaten to lock me in another room if i did not stop with the ranting. I found the first story to be cute, the second to be boring, the third to be dissapointing and the last… I wont rant, I promise readers that but… wow.. just wow. when I read the original little tid bit on this story I knew what was gonna happen to the characters… but! when continued to happen was just.. no! just no! i was hoping for perhaps a new character or some kind of kindred bond or something… but not that… after i read the story i would have much prefered if maybe the kid had come from a random character over Surreal. like “baby left on the door steps from a one night stand” or something.
true fans.. dont read this. or if you do, dont apply it to the current stories. im personally pretending that this book has nothing to do with any of the others..
Being an avid Anne Bishop fan, I’ll definitely pick this up, despite my strong suspicion that I’ll cry over Saetan’s death. Still, others posting on this thread have made a good point: he’s lived for, what, 50,000+ years now? That’s a LONG time, even for one of the long-lived races. The moment that I realised the entirety of Hell (minus Saetan himself) was going to be sacrificed to help Jaenelle cleanse the realms, I sort of had this little feeling in the back of my mind that he was “living on borrowed time”, so to speak. Everyone he’s come to rely on for thousands upon thousands of years (particularly Andulvar) is now gone, and he has… what? Jaenelle, the daughter of his soul? Yes, but as strong as their connection might have been, I always had the feeling that Saetan was entering a kind of gentle decline after Queen of the Darkness. Since he was so involved in helping Jaenelle grow into the Queen she would be, there was nothing left for him to do once she’d cleansed the realms. His story, in a way, was over – the rest was gravy. Still, it is interesting that Bishop (apparently) didn’t flesh out his actual death scene. I guess I imagined him giving Daemon some parting words of wisdom, maybe, or just giving one last world-weary sigh before he passed into the Darkness, surrounded by his family.
One thing I AM excited to read about, however, is the short story concerning Lucivar. I love this man to bits. He has been consistently well-written by Bishop; even in some of the soft, mushy scenes with Marian in his short story in Dreams Made Flesh, he was still the Lucivar we’ve come to know and love.
Anyways, back to my point. I plan on buying the book, but I’ve just GOT to know – what the heck happens to Falonar? I always wanted to know what happened to him after he and Surreal broke up.
“Anyways, back to my point. I plan on buying the book, but I've just GOT to know – what the heck happens to Falonar?”
Viridian, that question is answered in Lucivar’s story in this collection. (Which was the best of the lot, in my opinion. Like you, I just love him to bits.) The story is called “Shades of Honor.”
Regarding Saetan dispensing words of wisdom…. It doesn’t happen necessarily in one fell swoop, but I’d say the words are there.
I can’t find who said it, but I read someone say that there wasn’t a death scene for Saetan, when there indeed was one. Daemon plays a part in his death, that is symbolic of him stepping in to his fathers shoes.
Spoiler- What made a difference to me is that she didn’t completely disappear, she wasn’t just zap gone, she is almost a guardian angel now. Jeanelle insists over and over that she wants Daemon to have his whole heart back because they both knew he would have a limited time to love her as his wife, and now he can only love her as his Queen. It was closer to 30 years before he admits (and he doesn’t really admit) that he loves someone other then Jeanelle.
I felt like the story deserved to be much longer. But in its simplicity, there were somethings that made a significant difference. Though I am very glad that I had a couple months to resolve things in my mind as to Anne Bishop’s conclusion. Surprisingly, as much as I love Jeanelle, I read between the lines of what is said and understood things that couldn’t be repeated by anyone other then Anne Bishop herself, so was not in the review. She has a way of balancing between the obvious and hinting at information but leaving it unsaid.
@scamperdo: Saetan had a death scene. And his death was a drawn out thing that ended with Daemon doing something that made him no longer the heir but the Lord of Hell. He said that he never wanted to live past the lifetime of the daughter of his soul. (spoiler)
I wish The High Lords Daughter was longer. I miss Jeanelle, and I thought I would hate the story after reading the review. But I feel like with its simplicity Anne Bishop said covert things, where you have to read between the lines to understand why this resolution came to be. There are some things that made a difference for me, but yes I definitely cried several times.
Sabrina, by no death scene I meant no final goodbyes with all his loved ones. That finale with Daemon felt empty and once again very rushed.
@Nifty: Thanks! I can’t wait to find out – it’s been bugging me ever since it was let drop that “something bad” happened to Falonar, but not exactly what!
@scamperdo – I was wondering how to explain how I felt after reading this book and you’ve summed it up for me.
I feel betrayed (am I allowed to be?) by the last novella in particular. I knew from the title the gist of what was to happen, but the execution? What was that? It annoyed me that we weren’t given Jaenelle’s death scene – and Saetan’s was not a death scene, no matter what anyone says. Not one worthy of him anyway. I just ended up feeling empty afterwards. It was so rushed that I actually took pauses inbetween the chapters myself to imagine what could have happened! I might even have done it a little justice.
I also agree if she had put in a more time building up Daemon & Surreal’s connection (though in my eyes, they had become like family and I wanted to keep it that way) then we as the reader would have responded to it better! The little leaps in years towards the end was confusing to me as I tried to piece together how old everyone was or where they were since loads was left out. Where are the Queens and boyos? Are they dead too? And seriously, tell me how old Daemonar is! Just a rough idea in relation to the other kids and their race. It bothered me.
Also what was the point of the 3rd novella ‘Family’? It was extremely short and rushed once again. I think there’s no other description for this book other than rushed.
Since I realize I’m already in rant mode just a few other issues to get off my chest:
-Rainier. I loved his character. We got told more about him, were allowed to connect with him, but did he get his happy ending? Dead in the last novella without explanation.
-All the kids – I felt once they had been mentioned we didn’t get enough of a feel of the kind of person they were. Beron, Mikal, Titian, Yuli (who they mentioned once), even Jaenelle seemed 2D. The family just seem to take people in and drop them when another character comes along.
-I’m sure at some point in the original trilogy Daemonar marked Endar and Dorian’s daughter as his? I was hoping to see something come out of that. This felt like the last book, so unless Bishop chooses to make a new ones with the children as the main characters, did that mean nothing?
Surprisingly, my favourite novella out of the four was Shades of Honor. I just found the fact Falonar thought he could win as deliciously delusional as Theran in the previous book. It was actually funny how stupid he was.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Anne Bishop’s books (otherwise why would I be frantically looking for other responses to the latest release?) but after finishing this I just felt disappointed. I spent the final chapters trying to justify situations instead of getting lost in them like I usually do. And after pre-ordering this book 4 months ago! Bummer.
@Zia: I absolutely think you’re allowed to feel betrayed. Readers should be allowed to feel disappointed, elated, satisfied, displeased or any other number of reactions to a book. We all bring expectations to a book whether we intend to or not. Sometimes they’re met. Sometimes they’re not. Reader reaction is always genuine.
@Zia: Zia, as someone pointed out on another site if you go back and re-read the books now, they feel tainted in some way. Some now see Surreal as manipulative and pouncing at her first opportunity. She’s not Lucivar who came to love JA not b/c Daemon did.
Speaking of character reactions, how about the lack of reaction from Lucivar for losing his beloved queen. I wanted to read about her entire court mourning her death vs a few quick tepid reactions of Daemon will never love anyone as much ever again. Where was Lucivar knocking sense into Sadi? I wanted to see Lucivar drag him over to hold his new baby girl.
Frankly, Jaenelle’s death should have been its own book, a cathartic book where readers mourned with the characters and one by one we lost characters and the world began to shift.
That’s very true, I just felt a little bad sitting here criticizing when I had no part in creating it :/
On another note what do people mean when they say ‘Mary Sue’? I’ve seen that in a lot of comments. I had no idea Jaenelle would be disliked by some! Although altogether ‘good’ I thought that was what was needed for the triangle who had been subjected to so much foulness. And even then she still had character, was witty and strong…I don’t get it.
@Zia: Speaking only for myself I never saw Jaenelle as any true Mary Sue who was so perfectly wonderful. Jaenelle was flawed herself, as she selfishly chose her own dreams over the dreams of thousands. She wanted an ordinary life and made that ruthless decision to disregard that perhaps the world still needed her great powers for good. Bishop dropped the ball in not exploring how the feral Witch part felt alien to JA and she pushed it away. Daemon was destined to be Witch’s lover but he loved JA equally, to him they were two halves of her whole but JA never quite felt that way, IMO. Bishop clearly preferred exploring the 3 tortured males leads and leaving JA more up to subtext.
@Zia: Mary Sue is a fanfiction term that’s crossed over into usage when referencing original published fiction. I’ll just quote the Wikipedia entry because it’s easy:
Jaenelle is one of those cases where the line is fuzzy and depends on each reader’s boundaries. For me, she did have flaws but they weren’t real flaws. They were the equivalent of answering the interview question, “What do you consider your biggest weakness?” with “I work too hard.” Is being a workaholic a flaw? Sure, it can be. But it’s not detrimental in the same way that being, say, disorganized and unable to keep track of time would be.
I definitely agree with scamperdo that Bishop preferred leaving Jaenelle up to subtext. That’s probably for the best because I think if we’d seen any of these novels from her point of view, more people would find her Mary Sueish.
@Jia: JMO, Bishop showed a marked preference for exploring her tortured males Daemon, Saeten and Lucivar vs her complex females such as JA, Surreal, Karla, and Marian. Cassidy’s book always struck me as the one time I felt Bishop truly delved deep enough into the female psyche.
I read Twilight’s Dawn in one day and I am re-reading it because I loved it! I had no problem with Jaenelle’s death nor the fact that Daemon moved on at the REQUEST OF his QUEEN (page 353 if you missed that part). Surreal was not related by blood to Daemon. Like Jaenelle she was adopted. That’s the irony about all of this ‘bad ol’ Anne Bishop nonsense’–since Jaenelle was adopted by Saetan, by all rights and means, that would have made her Daemon’s sister, and yet no one had a problem with this because she was Witch and he was destined to serve her. So why is everyone suddenly freaking out about Surreal, who’s in the same boat. Not related by blood, but a SaDiablo nonetheless. I’m sorry, but all this ado about nothing just makes me face-palm. It’s your choice not to like it, and it does say a lot about Bishop’s talent for creating these wonderful characters to the point where folks are deeply divided by this novel. As for me, I’m a fantasy fan. I’m used to favorite characters dying. Anne McCaffrey did that to Masterharper Robinton, and Misty Lackey gave Vanyel a hero’s death. Both instances made me sad, but it was also cathartic too. I’m just hoping she’ll go back and write Heketah’s story. I’m itching to know just how she came to power.
I bought this book yesterday and just finished it today since I am currently on bed rest for my pregnancy. I started reading the BJ saga when i was 17 (I am 26 now) and couldn’t put Daughter of the Blood down. It was the same for the rest of the trilogy.
But after a while and after reading them over and over and over again, i can’t read them anymore. I think i got so caught up in how happy they seemed (despite the small problems here and there) that i just couldn’t go back to the pain and ordeals they dealt with in the first three novels.
But this collection of novellas really throw me off. They seemed extremely rushed, like she either didn’t have enough ideas to flesh it out, or she had too much and had to hurry through them to get it all across. While it was nice to read the first one as a “well let’s see how day to day living is for them” I found it a bit redundant. You see that happen in the recent novels.
Now Shades of Honor, I did enjoy immensely, it brought back the feel of the first three books without it being so catastrophic. I am not sure about anyone else but I always had a feeling that Falonar was going to be a jack ass like that and try to do something ridiculously stupid.
I hated the novella with Sylvia. I am sorry, and in a way it was nice for Saetan and Sylvia to have that closure and love that both deserved. But, seriously? it was wayyyy too short if that was Bishop’s intention. Again this story is just incredibly rushed, and the ending was so damn lackluster (though the mental image of Tersa ripping the man’s skeleton out was fun). What happened to the usual pizzazz that she is able to portray in her stories?
Lastly, The High Lord’s Daughter. We all knew Jaenelle was going to die, and I’m sure most of you knew that Daemon would eventually become the High Lord of Hell. I did cry when you read of Saetan’s death though, but it was hard for me to feel really sad that Jaenelle was gone (though she wasn’t my FAVORITE character of the series I still loved her). Perhaps it’s because she is already gone before the story begins, I don’t know. To me it seemed much more heartbreaking that Saetan passed. But while I can say Ok, I can believe this story line again, it was just way too rushed and haphazardly put together. I wish i could have read more about them in order to love this novella.
I emailed anne bishop to tell her how much I loved the series, until now. I agree that what bugged me more than anything was how rushed this ending was, but I had many problems with it. She wrote back and simply pointed me to an essay on her publishers site talking about why she did what she did. It just further annoyed me over all,since she didn’t say anything about the rush job, but I thought I’d mention it in case you guys wanted to read it.
For those wondering about the essay Big fan is referring to, it’s here: http://us.penguingroup.com/static/pages/specialinterests/scifi/2011/bishop-twilightsdawn-essay.html
its interesting after reading that, it’s almost as if she KNEW the kind of backlash she was going to receive by writing this story. For some reason, this makes me feel a little bit better about the book.
She has always said that she writes the story the way the characters want it to be written. As a family member of a writer I can understand why she would say that.
@Jia: Thanks for the link!
“Everything has a price.” That’s a truism she hits us over and over head throughout the series. But let’s be clear Bishop as the author chose the “everything” and the “price” paid.
everything = JS
price = JA’s life and JA/Daemon love story.
I didn’t always agree with her past choices but I understood them from a character stand-point. Or I should say she took the care and time to explain to the readers why a sacrifice was made.
In this case, I object to her her choices one 3 counts:
1) I find this a very cynical plot as she’s traded in a human limited life-span “Witch” for a new long-lived WITCH, and it’s a choice mainly to escape the trap she set for herself in the first place. She wanted to stay true to her word that Jaenelle would have short decades of life with Daemon yet IMO obviously wants jump start the series. See I don’t buy the claims this is the last BJ book, if so the finale would have been a real finale not left so open-ended.
2) In making this choice, the price was too high as she sacrificed Daemon’s core character. She was so caught up in her Saetan/Daemon mirrors/parallels she forgot Daemon Sadi’s most powerful dream was to be witch’s lover. He held fast to that dream in his darkest hours. JA was his everything, his sole reason for living and whenever he lost his everything, he cracked emotionally. To keep the character’s core and soul intact, losing JA after 70 short years, and to lose her without a final goodbye, should have driven Daemon to his knees. He should have chosen to die with her and lived as guardians in the Misty Place.
At shut down emotionally for at least centuries. JIA suggested 5,000 years or heck make it symbolic 1700 and that would have respected the character’s utter devotion to JA and also represented the truly heavy price to pay. Instead, Daemon came off as any other normal grieving widower, who could love his brother and nieces/nephews, function responsibly and basically go about his life just feeling a tad empty inside…. and that’s a mockery of his character and JA/Daemon love story.
There’s just no question for me Bishop botched this series with her rush to introduce JS.
3) While I was always fine with Surreal secretly being in love with Daemon, the way she pounced on him so shortly after JA’s death leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
@scamperdo: To be fair, I would be happy with 200 years of grieving at this point. I guess I just feel like 20 years is a drop in the bucket for a member of a long-lived race. That’s not even taking into account the love Daemon had for Jaenelle version 1.0.
Emotionally speaking anyway. I don’t consider Daemon sleeping with other women after Jaenelle’s death to be a complete insult to her memory but I have different opinions on sex, love, and grieving than many of the other commenters, I think.
Regardless, I do think many people will agree that the story contained in the last novella would have been better served with a longer word count.
See, what I think the reality here is that Bishop no longer wants to write the series but has to leave open threads because her publisher will probably ask for more. Black Jewels is by far her best-performing series and in these economic times, publishers are going for tried and true. She’s writing 2 Ephemera books next but I would not be surprised to see her return to Black Jewels and Jaenelle version 2.0 afterwards.
@Jia: JIA, if Marian died and Lucivar went onto having some meaningless sex, I wouldn’t have screamed out of character. Bishop had written him quite able to perform before, and even take Karla’s virginity in a rather fun sex scene.
Lucivar could be aroused by other women and was always the touchey feeley type. But Daemon was not.
Daemon was a totally unique male. He was a physical virgin for 1700 years during which only managed an erection with ONE woman, JA. Now if Bishop wrote the Sadist taking his suffering out on bitchy women again ala his old days, I’d have bought into the premise the Sadist was swallowing his dark soul again. But Daemon engaging in “physical,” meaningless sex solely for some SEXUAL RELIEF? Heck NO, that spits in the face of 8 books of writing. If anything, Daemon never found any relief/solace in touching any woman but JA.
Having intercourse with Surreal makes some sense b/c Daemon could never willingly go there, give of his body sexually, to a woman he didn’t fully trust. So my complaint there was Bishop’s rush for him to screw Surreal. And then his non-challant reaction to their ONS was WTF. He should have felt rocked to feel arousal for another woman and realized right there, there was some deeper feelings going on with Surreal.
Daemon just did not do “casual sex” EVER and that was a core to his character, and his uniqueness. Bishop reduced him to another manho, another grieving widower seeking sexual solace and I hate that. Someone suggested JA over 70 years sexually healed Daemon of his old hangups but Bishop never explored that angle and if anything spent books cementing JA was the sole woman who could ever excite him.
Also, JA, who always showed such sensitivity for Daemon’s sexual hangups, would never DEMAND he screw other women. She knew to her core how very difficult it was for Daemon to physically give of himself.
“See, what I think the reality here is that Bishop no longer wants to write the series but has to leave open threads because her publisher will probably ask for more.”
JIA, this I 100% agree. And that’s why I maintain it was a very cynical choice. She could have provided one heck of a grand finale ala J K Rowlings or even leave us with hints for a spin off series ala Viehl’s Darkyn series.
I have to say I’m very glad I stumbled upon this review before I launch myself into it. Once I manage to get my hands on a copy of it over here in the UK I’ll be able to say for sure whether or not I liked the final novella. But at least I know what I’m getting into first.
I think the High Lord’s Daughter felt more like the original trilogy than any of the other follow-on novellas. As a lover of dark fantasy, I am glad of the ending. JA served her purpose, and life must go on for everybody involved or else if Daemon prepares to mope around after her death, he is doing a disservice to his people. Ultimately this is a fantasy not a romance
I live in Australia and TD won’t come out for another month and I have next to no patience. So I’m glad I found this review, spoilers and all.
I still plan on buying the book and I’ll try to enjoy it. But the ending already seems very rushed to me, like AB wasn’t even trying. And I believe I could reread all the black jewels book 100 times over and not find any mention of Surreal being in love with Daemon. Even that part in Tangled Webs doesn’t scream love for me.
I think my main problem will be the name of Daemon’s and Surreal’s daughter. It’s right up there with Reneesme and Albus Serverus.
P.S I’ll miss Saetan so much. He was epic. And I don’t think Saetan being over 50 000 years old means shit since Geoffrey is well over that as well as being the last of his race.
OK this is turning to be a longer post than I intended but I keep circling back to how ridiculous this sounds.
1. In QotD Draca told Daemon his dream had been to be th consort of the Queen of Ebon Askavi who Daemon thought had to be Witch. But given the choice between Witch and Jaenelle he would have chosen Jaenelle. So I think that answers the question of whp he loved more.
2. Yes in real life people fall in love again and remarry. But this isn’t real life, it’s fiction and fantasy at that. In real life no one waits 1,700 years for their true love. So for Daemon to wait one year, whore around, get Surreal knocked up and marry her since it’s so convinient is just cruel for everyone involved. A couple of hundred years I could buy. But not 20.
3. In Kaeleer’s Heart people got pissy just cos of a rumour about Daemon. What will they do now? I’m thinking castrate him.
OK, so I succumbed and paid the stupid hardcover ebook price. And having read it, I hold by the view I had when I read the spoilers – narratively, it does make sense. I agree with Jia that the execution doesn’t feel quite right, and I’m a trifle unhappy with Surreal’s characterization in the final novella (too passive). However, as a full circle it works very well.
I agree with the theory that the stylistic change of tone for the final novella was deliberate, and I’d concur that it was meant to reflect the different way that the time passes for the longer lived. I would also say that I thought the final novella should have been longer and that the Sylvia novella felt a bit pointless.
*Spoilers ahead* (Not that this entire entry isn’t one giant spoiler, ah well.)
As I read the time line, (all time spans taken from the text directly) at some point during Jaenelle’s lifetime, Surreal realises she loves Daemon, but suppresses it because she loves Jaenelle and Daemon both. She doesn’t realise Jaenelle (as Witch possibly?) is aware of this. Jaenelle, sets up a new tangled web with the Arachnian Queens, reflecting her dreams for Daemon and Surreal, and their own dreams in potentia, to deliver new dreams made flesh, when/if their dreams ever solidify. In her last years, Jaenelle starts prepping Surreal for what she expects to happen after she’s dead. Jaenelle dies, and Daemon spends the next year in an alcoholic binge of grief.
Obedient to her command, he slowly resumes a near normal semblance of life, which eventually (again on her orders not to go down the route of suppressing his sexuality again) includes the occasional short fling with women he considers suitable, although he is unable to commit to any of them. Seventeen years on, Lucivar & Marian’s daughter is born and Saetan is fading due to a form of self inflicted starvation. Three years after that, Saetan finally succumbs and Daemon, in his new role as Lord of Hell, helps him on his way.
In grief, Surreal and Daemon turn to each other, pregnancy resulting. 10 months of gestation plus fifteen years before the birthright ceremony, equals sixteen years of marriage before Witch slaps Daemon around his metaphoric head and points out that over the last 36 years he’s come to love Surreal. It’s a reasonable timeline for love again IMO, even if you are likely to live millennia.
I have to admire Bishop’s skills even if I have quibbles. Due to the way the novella and to an extent the whole series is set up, we often get motivations / explanations as subtext or other character’s speculations rather that textually stated, which means there’s a lot of room for each reader to create their own emotional explanation round the events.
I actually thought Lucivar’s convo with Marian re Daemon’s fertility makes a convincing explanation as to both why Jaenelle never got pregnant, and why Surreal did. The way I see it, Daemon was so frightened of the perceived risk of pregnancy (whether that risk was rational or not) that subconsciously, he kept himself infertile after Jaenelle’s injury. Although prior to the injury he was taking the brew (in the text of previous books)it’s intimated in the conversation that he wasn’t taking the contraceptive brew in later years – his relief every month when Jaenelle was definitively not pregnant suggests they weren’t really taking steps to prevent it and yet it never happened. Surreal however, was ‘safe’ physically; as an assassin she can take care of herself and no-one knows better about that than him, and yet was no threat, due to being of a slightly lighter Jewel; mentally – she’s a trusted companion, and emotionally – he didn’t love her, didn’t have to be quite as terrified that harm might come to her as a result of pregnancy. Thus there were no barriers to what he subconsciously wanted; a child to tie him to life, to fulfil one of the dreams left over. He even thinks in the text that it’s time for him to be patriarch of the family. Similar motivations for Surreal; unrequited love, genuine caring, grief, desire for a child (that’s in the text) trust, all combined to allow her to let herself be fertile even though she’d spent a lifetime avoiding it. It made sense also that neither of them were taking measures; they both spent the last three years celibate. It worked for me as an emotionally logical explanation although it comes over as being very selfish in a way on Daemon’s part, but then it’s textual that he can be very cold and focused and selfish.
I also have no issues with him having casual sex; textually he is of a highly sexed nature and I would suggest that seventy years with Jaenelle had healed him enough that he was able to tolerate sex without love as a form of pleasure/companionship (which it is arguably generally accepted as in the Black Jewels verse). I also interpreted those years before Jaenelle differently to some commenter above; he didn’t stay celibate because he was a moralistic woobie who couldn’t get it up for / want any one other than his one true love – his deliberate impotence, is very explicitly a form of revenge/insult towards the coercive rapey Queens that he was surrounded with. Lucivar chose violence as his form of revenge (be careful what you ask for) and Daemon chose seductiveness (look at what you can’t have) and both of them chose in their different ways to be infertile (you aren’t getting anything I don’t chose to give you).
Thinking back over the whole story arc, I actually appreciate that it’s worked out this way; Jaenelle due to being Witch always was more myth than reality even in her own lifetime, so it makes sense for her not to carry on being a living legend. It feels properly epic and mundane.
Overall, I was happy, although I found the bits about the kid to be a) twee (although par for the Black Jewels course) and b) a bit series bait-y. I’m hoping not, I’m actually happy for Daemon / Surreal / Jaenelle (JA or JS) not to appear any more as direct main protagonists, unless of course she decided to write more back story.
Having typed all this, I’m still not sure why I felt a little dissatisfied with the story, will have to go away and reflect a little more.
What is twee?
@FD: Was it 15 years though? I got the impression it was longer because it takes longer for long-lived races to age. I got the impression it was decades even though Jaenelle Saetien had some of the Dea al Mon in her. I kind of wished the previous books had given us a comparison for how long it takes long-lived races to age versus short-lived.
I also agree with you 100% about Daemon’s sexuality.
@Isabella: Twee means overly cute, quaint, or precious.
@Jia: Nope, that was my impression as well, but I re-read the key timeline bits before I wrote my comment, and at the Birthright Ceremony Daemon and Lucivar are having a conversation about Daemon’s anxiety re rights to the kid, and Lucivar says: â€œIf you don't know the answer to that, old son, then you haven't been paying attention to the woman you've lived with these past fifteen years.â€ That seemed pretty definite to me.
Now, previously, I’d always thought that the birthright ceremony was concurrent with adolescence, akin to a rite of passage, which made me blink a bit when I realised the shortness of the time period (I think I had it confused with the Offering to the Darkness which is definitely an adulthood marker) but it’s pretty clear from the conversation about ‘boys stuff’ (omg, could my eyes roll any harder, incidentally) that Titian and Daemonar have already been through their respective birthright ceremonies (their Jewels are mentioned) and that Titian is definitely pre-pubescent, and Daemonar, despite being well over seventy is only on the cusp. So I guess it’s similar to the pagan ritual thing that I vaguely remember (someone better at history help?) where the kid didn’t officially exist until it was through the dangerous baby/childhood stage when mortality was high. Therefore, I guess that all the races hold the birthright fairly early (as soon as the kid is past the danger period) but thereafter the gap between birthright and offering would be much longer in the longer lived races. I’m a bit headscratchy still though, because I could have sworn that Daemonar went from infant to toddler to kid in a relatively normal number of years.
I hope this doesn’t end the series. I wanted more stories not connected to the sadiablos about the wars and hardships that arose in terrielle. After witches purge. Cassidys stories was a start but that only finished out what happened in one small part and she had sadiablo help. What about the rest of the realm. I also wouldn’t mind a book on saetan explaining things about his past like how he became highlord or why he was trained in the hourglass . If he is the high priest of the hour glass what does that make daemon? There are so many good stories she can write in this world I hope she doesn’t leave it like this .
@FD: from what i got in the original trilogy, Daemon makes a reference to the fact that Terielle SaDiablo Hall was left to decay and the house he used to live in was destroyed when some event happened 1600 years ago – then found out later it was the day of his birthright ceremony. That would mean he was 100 years old for the ceremony. Which would make sense for Daemonar to have done the ceremony but not Titian. I’m guessing for Jaenelle S it was 15 years because she has some short lived blood in her, since Jaenelle A had her jewels by (and maybe before) the age of 7. They made reference also in DMF that the long lived races aged quickly like a short lived but then had very long periods of being at the same development before continuing to grow, Surreal aged like a short lived race then stayed the same development. So i’d say Jaenelle S will be similar to her mother but since she’s 3/4 long lived it’ll still take a bit longer, but not as slow as her cousins. I loved the fact Lucivar and Marian had 3 kids. I enjoyed this book, thought it was actually a good story too, but it deserved to be a book not a novella, it moved way too quickly.
What I was a bit confused about was the fact that Surreal refered to Titian having her birthright stone but then said Daemonars as a normal colour, same as how she was refering to herself and Daemon. That gave me the impression Daemonar had his offering, which can’t be right cause he wasn’t old enough. Anyone else get that same impression?
@Lea: Well, iirc, at the ceremony, Surreal and Marian are talking and refer to Daemonar having birthright green. Green is a darker colour, but it’s still a birthright stone – it’s what Surreal started out with for instance.
wow. I’m completely gob-smacked by this review… although I’m probably going to enjoy the dynamics between the characters, I’m not sure what I’m going to make of the High Lord’s Daughter… that is just… @[email protected]
and in regards to this being the last book…
I always thought she was going to write one with Tersa’s story and I was hoping one with Saetan’s rise to power as well T^T
I am going to agree with the sentiment that Bishop’s writing has deteriorated over the years… hopefully if she ever writes the stories I mentioned above, she’ll go back to the way she used to write.
-thanks for the review Jia!
I think there’s a lot of fuzzy math in the ages for the long-lived races. For example, Daemon’s been 1800 for the entire series. And as for the age of the birthrite ceremony:
Jaenelle Angelline had already had hers when she first met Saetan when she was 7, and had already been through hers. Which allows us to assume that its our equivalent of going into the 1st grade (and not just for the age, but because they have already started learning basic craft which would be similar in turn to our alphabet).
Because it is stated that Daemon and Surreal have been living together for 15 years, we can assume that at least in these first few years the long lived races age at about half the speed as the short lived ones – as we can see with Daemonars progression in the rest of the series. I think it’s after that that the long lived aspect kicks in, with increasingly longer plateaus for each life stage.
I mean, if they aged proportionately to their lifespans, infancy would last a century!
That said, Shades of Honor was by far my favorite of the novellas, because, I think it stayed truest to what the series had been. And while The High Lord’s Daughter was a completely game changer, I actually grew to quite like it. I think presenting it as a novella cut short some of the development they could have done with Surreal and Daemon, and would have been better as it’s own novel (though I don’t know if any fans would have bought it).
[Just a couple nitpicks: Surreal became Daemon’s second in command in Shalador’s Lady, in the same chapter where we learn something happened with Falonar. And at the end of the Queen of Darkness, Draca asked if he would pick Jaenelle or the Queen – she would always be Witch regardless of her jewels.]
Wow, talk about nearly 10 years of emotional investment in Daemon/Jaenelle gone down the drain. Granted neither Daemon or Jaenelle are my favourite characters in the series, I did like them.
I knew both Saeten and Jaenelle were going to die in the novella long before it came out – couldn’t be avoided once I read the book blurb the author posted on her website. I was not expeting a Daemon/Surreal pairing…they gave me the BFF vide not lovers vibe.
I keep wishing that this novella was a bad dream. And everytime I remember its real, I wanna cry. :'(
The good thing is that Bishop confirmed that The Black Jewels series is not finished:
Q. Is this the last Black Jewels book?
A. These stories were intended to answer some of the questions readers have been asking for several years, particularly about what happens to Daemon after Jaenelle is gone. But the story isn’t meant to be the end of the series or the end of the stories about the characters we know. I’ve been immersed in the Black Jewels world for four straight years, so it’s time to take a break and work on other stories for a while. But I will come back to the Realms when the Blood are ready to share more stories, and those stories could take place before the events in “The High Lord’s Daughter,” and Jaenelle and Daemon might be part of them.
Hopefully Bishop can fix this random fanfiction moment…
@FD: they didn’t actually say birthright, they said Titian wears birthright summersky, and Daemonar wears the green. That’s what confused me a bit.
Looks like AB will have to write another book now just to clear up the confusion caused by this one.
I wish I’d read this befor I read Twilight’s Dawn. I find that I fully agree with your assessment of the four stories and I wish I hadn’t read the last as to me it did not feel like something that could happen between those characters.
@Rika Ashton: I quite agree
as an avid fan of the black jewels series, i’d buy any book related to it just to read more about the world and characters i’ve come to love. i didn’t mind jaenelle’s story ending and reading about new queens (lia, cassidy) and knowing new characters, as long as they all lived in that world….meaning, i didn’t like the ephemera series. at all.
i was excited about twilight’s dawn, until i read about the last story in the book. true to what you wrote, we all know jaenelle will die young, but to read it on-page was too factual/inflexible. and to pair daemon and surreal together is just unthinkable! why DIDN’T daemon and jaenelle have a kid?? ok, never mind that. what i’d like to say is, i will probably buy this book, but not read it until another book from this series is published. if this marks the end of the series, then i shall not read it at all. i do hope anne bishop will reconsider expanding this beautiful world instead of returning to ephemera…sorry.
lastly, thanks for the warning. it is much needed.
I’ve always loved the black jewel series. It was one of the best I have ever read. Up till the last short story. The part where I read where Daemon and Surreal had sex, my mind kept shouting wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf.
Sigh. This is quite a bad short story. I agree with you on the part where u say not to read it.
Thank you for this review. I am glad I was warned. I loved the Black Jewels trilogy and even Dreams Made Flesh. It was my first intro to fantasy and has always been dear to my heart. If I read Twilight’s Dawn with no forewarning I would have been crushed, but at least now I can just pretent that the book doesn’t exist and continue loving the other books.
I defnitely won’t be reading Anne Bishop any more though. If true love and devotion can’t outlast death in books then I don’t want to read anymore.
Maybe Jaenelle couldn’t have children because no one had the power to drain her Jewels? Does it work like that? Daemon had to drain Surreal’s jewels…and he can because he wears the black? I don’t know, I don’t recall the pregnant jewel draining in any of the other books.
The ending for me was painful…it did fell very much like a fanfic. Jaenelle S seems ok, hope to see more of her.
@Channing: That theory would make sense if the novella hadn’t implied that Jaenelle was too “weak” to bear children, although I still think that was more an assumption on Daemon’s part than any basis in reality.
FYI: If you go on Bishops website, she has a list of her characters from the black jewel books. She lists Daemonar as having “green/gray” jewels. This is in response to questions about Daemonar’s jewels. Also, may it hint to seeing more of Daemonar in furture books? Using the Gray? Fun!
I’d like to address the purpose of her novels. Someone stated that the novels were about Jeanelle Angelline. They weren’t. She was only the common thread that tied them together. I remember reading a comment Anne Bishop wrote about how the Blood came to her when she explored the idea of men being as vulnerable as women.
As far as I’m concerned, anything after the original trilogy is an epilogue an indulgence of the author to herself and to the fans. I’ve enjoyed all of them as well as her other series. Yes, I was shocked at the events of the Highlord’s daughter, but I also felt they were right. There was no man or woman strong enough for either one of them and Jeanelle A always knew. Just like Saetan felt the need to remain in hell I’m sure that by the end of her life Witch was probably ready to make her home in the abyss.
Regardless, this last book did not ruin the series for me. I’ll read further ones and in the end, I think Ms. Bishop did right for her characters, though, I too would have liked to seen the professional side of Surreal more. I think the only time I felt it was expressed truely was for one tiny moment in The Highlord’s Daughter or perhaps in Queen of the Darkness when she scooped up a head into a bucket. I think she earned her happy ending with a man worthy of her.
I find your review to be a bit harsh in the “do not read” grade. I wholeheartedly loved this novel! (And I’ve adored this series for ages!)
While I understand your discomfort at Surreal and Daemon’s relationship progressing after Janelle’s death, he and Surreal did not get together until 17 years after Janelle’s passing, and while they did get married and Daemon wrestled with his feelings over the course of several years, he does come to accept that he can love Surreal as his wife and still love Janelle as his queen, thus balancing out his guilt and helping him move on. The foreshadowing of what was to come did span almost every novel also, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
Anne Bishop also stated that Twilight’s Dawn was not meant to be the final Dark Jewels universe novel, she is currently finishing a novel in the Ephemera universe and will come back to write for the Dark Jewels series again in the future.
I doubt that was the actual issue. Once she wore the Twilight’s Dawn Daemon would have been able to drain them as his jewels were then dominate. (TD Only had a thread of black power)
I previously wrote without having read the book, I’ve read it now and I have to stay I still don’t understand the furor about the book. The two shorter stories were nice, a family thing and I do like that Sylvia and Saetan got married.
Now for the other two.
Shades of Honour was good, people were surprised that Falonar became the bad guy but it was there and obvious throughout the other books that he was jealous of and resented Lucivar to an extreme degree. It was interesting that it came out Falonar was quite elitist and racist but I wasn’t surprised that there was conflict. Because Falonar’s time in courts was vastly different to Lucivar’s, it was expected that Falonar would have different opinions and ideas – didn’t love that it turned out he thought all women should be there for sex only but it was what it was. Plus I think it also gave Lucivar time to shine and have his own ‘nemesis’.
High Lord’s Daughter, the bone of contention with everyone. I loved it, I thought it was poignant and beautifully written – it was by far too short for the content of the story but I had no problem with it. In my original post I also mentioned I had no problem with this pairing. It made sense to me, and Jaenelle also confirmed it in HLD when she said that Daemon needed someone who knew him before. I think the story was the ideal compliment to Daemon and Jaenelle’s relationship, their’s was passionate and full on, his and Surreal’s was much quieter, more content.
I love that for this young daughter, the Kindred reappeared and that Jaenelle Angelline helped guide her, mostly unbenknownst to her parents. It was a good end, and like I said previously, the Black Jewels series was never about Jaenelle, she was an instrument to heal and bring together three embittered and broken men, she was there to teach them to love again and to be whole, to show them there were women worthy of their love, respect and pampering (like Surreal) and to make sure that they could go on happily for the rest of their lives.
Jaenelle Angelline was never meant to be Forever nor was she meant to come back in the guise of some one else, she served her purpose and as much as I loved her as a character, I think it worked because her lifetime was finite and short. She had so much to do in a short time to ensure the happiness of those she loved. Would she have been so moved to do so much if she was from a long lived race? I think not. I also like that Jaenelle Satien got Twilight’s Dawn, people seem to think that there is some affront and that Anne Bishop changed the rules on this jewel, but if memory serves, Lorn said there would never be another Jewel like it, not that some one wouldn’t again wear Jaenelle Angelline’s and I do believe it was implied in HLD by JA being at JS’s Birthright Ceremony that JA was in fact passing her jewel to JS.
Overall I loved Twilight’s Dawn, I think that it was a great book and a great end to the Black Jewels series. If Anne Bishop writes more BJ books I will read them, I don’t feel the anger or disappointment.
I am conflicted. I haven’t read the book and probably wont read this last series. Janaelle dying isn’t so much an issue with me but I’m choking on the Daemon/Surreal pairing. They were like bother and sister to. Having them paired together, borders on incest (IMO). Despite what others have said about this pairing being foreshadowed, apart from that one incident (and Surreal admits that she was drunk), there was nothing sexual or flirty in Surreal’s mannerism towards Daemon. Even when she took care of him while he was in the Twisted Kingdom, there was no hint of ANYTHING, so it seems weird that all of a sudden there is this great romance. I am a bit pissed off that a character like Surreal had to settle, even if it is with Daemon. She will always be second to Jaenelle. It was one of the reasons she left Falonar. I love Daemon but Surreal deserved better. Gracia’s queen (can’t remember her name) would have been a better pairing for Daemon…kiss, kiss
I hate the pairing of Daemon and Surreal. it borders on incest for me. And despite what others have said, aside from that one incident (and Surreal admits she was drunk), there was never any inkling of anything sexual between Surreal and DAemon. NOTHING…even while she took care of him while he was in the Twisted Kingdom. The Glacia Queen, Kasia, would have been a better match. I love Daemon, but Surreal deserve better. She should have had her true love. That was one of the reasons she left Falonar
@lisa: Incest? Hardly, after all if Daemon and Surreal are considered incestuous so too would the First Circle pairings. After all, they all came to the Hall and were ‘family’.
What’s with all the Daemon and Karla shippers? Not to mention that she was from a short lived race like Jaenelle, and therefore had likely passed? Or the fact that she was a lesbian?
And I think the incest label goes a bit too far. Most people, even in RL, through around the word ‘family’ with long-term friends. I would have liked for Surreal to have found a passionate, true love – that was hers alone – but the Daemon/Surreal pairing has definitely grown on me. And it certainly won’t stop me from reading more in the series.
I wish I had read this review before I read the story. I would have read stories 1, 2, and 3 and STOPPED!!! As it is, quite astute that Bishop is likely to lose fans on principle alone with that particular conclusion. I’m still in the ‘coping’ stages, having just finished the story but I’m ready to chuck my copies of ALL the books over this and that has never happened before in a lifetime of reading! I have never been so turned upside-down about a series ending, not just because it’s ending but because I honestly feel BETRAYED by the ending, that sick to your stomach sort of feeling you get when you find out you’ve been cheated on. I want to wash my mind out with bleach and undo reading The High Lord’s Daughter! GAH!
Despite my dislike of High Lord’s Daughter (which i’ve talked of above), I am going to continue reading the other books, and anymore that may or may not come. Also I feel I should add that at th end of the day this is not our story but Anne Bishop’s and is her’s to do wih what she will.
I am. . .rather upset and appalled that I did not march onto this sooner. I despise spoilers. I truly do. But in this case? I would have welcomed it with open arms. Skipping this book would have done me -alot- more good. I don’t think I can even. . D; bother reading after my, ‘WTF’ moment.
Probably the first and last time I will ever throw a Black Jewel book on the ground, glare, and yell at it.
Jaenelle dying, I can understand. It’s sad, and I wouldn’t know how the hell Daemon will get around that one. Because, unlike some people, I -do- like Jaenelle and Daemon being together. But as soon as I stumbled upon Surreal requesting to sleep in the same room, I skimmed the next page, then…that’s pretty much when the book went flying.
Then picked up again. Skim-quickly through pages. . .and then swore that I probably won’t read a whole page after my fit.
D; I just…Surreal was like a sister to Daemon. So seriously, WTF?
They just . . .
And then. .
And Saetan finally fading to the darkness and. .
@cosmo: Octavia Butler’s (RIP) name be mentioned in context of this kind of Romance novel w/ fantasy trappings fluff fiction is mind boggling. The woman was a true artist. Her novels were also generally dark enough to make The Black Jewels books look like Disney. And weighty enough to transcend the genre of science fiction as true literature (though she NEVER was ashamed to call herself a Sci Fi writer).
Personally I think all the people crying about Jaenelle’s death should go back to reading Silhouette Romances and then maybe the writers who cater to them will gtfo of the Fantasy/Sci-Fi aisle and go back to writing Regencies or something. What did you think Jaenelle was going to pull a Goku and go Super Saiyan4 and live forevah? And how cheap and boring would that be if she did? At least Bishop isn’t the hack most of these transgenre writers are (exempli gratia: Laurelle K. w/ her wash, rinse, repeat formula of cut rate pr0n + Super Sailor Moon style “uber” powers that solve everything w/out a single main character fatality) and knows when to bring a close to something before it just turns into a parody of itself.
It’s these kind of writers taking over a genre I have loved since I was like 9 that is the reason I mostly read manga nao.And then when the poor woman tries to expand herself and write something real? people cry. I mean I haven’t read the book yet, and if the problem is poor execution, bad writing, weak plot, that’s one thing. But I don’t except that a novella can’t be just as powerful as a full length (Harlan Ellison) when executed by a professional hand, so lenth is not a valid criticism for me in and of itself. Especially as most of the people who seem to be really upset by this installment keep harping on Jaenelle, Daemon, Surreal, no HEA, no be all end all love. Most fantasy is not based around providing those things for their characters.If characters attain those things: fine, but it is not the foundation upon which all else is built. The driving force that moves the story, or at least not always or typically.
Perhaps Bishop was not rebelling against the Black Jewels per se, so much as against the perception that she is primarily a Romance writer w/ a few goth trappings? Perhaps she wanted to remind her readers that she, at least, considers herself a fantasy writer, first and foremost? At any rate I will reserve my judgment til I have actually read Twilight’s Dawn.
Whoever was talking about an OVA that didn’t follow Rurouni Kenshin manga? Are you talking about Samurai X? Just curious. As it ends very equivocally, or something later?
@Yuki Nagato: *being
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I accidentally read this spoiler on another website and was definately in WTF mode for a good few days. I’m just re reading the trilogy and have read tangle webs and dreams made flesh which i really enjoyed.
However, as far as I’m concerned that’s where the trilogy ends for me. I don’t want to think about Jaenelle dying and Daemon moving on. It’s to much like real life. I don’t like it when it happens here let alone in the worlds I escape into!! Seriously W.T.F!!!!
The thing that annoys me is that Jaenelle always felt like nothing more than a plot device. Therefore, it would have been nothing for AB to make Jaenelle immortal. All she had to do was become a guardian like Cassandra and Saeton and that would have sorted that problem. It’s not like she wrote herself into a corner like so many writers have done!
It pisses me off when writers get like this about a beloved series. Conan Doyle did it with Sherlock Holmes, chucked him off a cliff with Moriarty to kill him off, then had to make it that he faked his death when his fans were in uproar and brought him back. JK Rowling about Harry Potter (suddenly too good a writer to be bothered with writing more of those for her fans) and several others I can’t remember now because I’m so pissed off!! They seem to forget who they owe for their success. If we didnt read the darned things they would be still living in a bedsit with no heat and eating beans on toast!!
You owe us ANNE BISHOP we made you what you are so write another bloody book where Jaenelle steps out of the shower and it turns out that Daemon was just having a bad dream (ie jump the shark!!)
PS. I never really got over the Demon Dead all dying in Queen of Darkness TBH. Another plot horror, where if you die, you become a sort of alive half dead person who can still see their family, but when you REALLY die you become a whisper in the darkness…. what? no heaven? no reincarnation? no “We’ll be together in the next life”?? why the hell does this series have to be so bloody depressing
can you tell I’m upset??
I WILL NOT READ THIS BOOK
thanks for posting the spoiler my love. you have saved my sanity probably :)
“They seem to forget who they owe for their success. If we didnt read the darned things they would be still living in a bedsit with no heat and eating beans on toast!!”
Excuse me, but you are above the age of 13? What method of thinking leads you to believe that Writers OWE us readers anything? Yes, we pay for their books. Yes, we rush to get their new novels, and pass those novels to our friends, and keep track of news about our favorite authors. But despite the money they make for us through their publishers, let me be clear – they do not “owe us” ANYTHING.
Authors pour their hearts, their muses, and their creativity out onto the printed pages that we are then able to read. The world of the Black Jewels books belong to Anne Bishop, and she can choose to do what she wants with it. It is esstentially her world. She owes snoddy readers like you absolutely nothing. :P Just because you didn’t like one book doesn’t mean you can trash the author at your leisure.
I would just like to second this post and add that “The High Lord’s Daughter” is what re-affirmed my faith in Anne Bishop the author. For so long, in the sequels to the trilogy, in her other novels, it seemed that she became more of a fairy tale romance writer than a fantasy, world-building author. I feel by actually going there with both Jaenelle and Saetan’s deaths (though I find Saetan’s death more tragic) she re-gained some of her strength as a writer in my view.
And as said in this post, I too never really bought the great love of Jaenelle and Daemon; I believed the love between Witch and the Black Widow Warlord Prince (because even after she lost some of her power, she was Witch), but I always felt that there was a separation of sorts between Daemon and Jaenelle after the events of the trilogy. They supposedly loved each other, I’m told that, but there IMO was always a formality. I remember early in “Daughter of the Blood” when we see Daemon first thinking about Witch he talks about wanting to weave his live thoroughly with hers so that their individual lives would be indistinguishable from each others; I don’t think that ever really happened, those two always seemed to be two people who happened to be a couple because nobody else could equal them in power. I think Witch and the natural Black Widow Warlord Prince were attracted to each other’s power (not power hungry, but the power was the attraction) and I can understand that Surreal and Daemon would just work because of their history.
lmao I was seriously furious and crying at the same time when I finished that last story, definitely didn’t see that coming (I mean like you said, of course J lives a much shorter life than D but still didn’t want to read it or not like this anyway). Your review is EXACTLY what I thought too. I wanted to torture Daemon. I thought Saetan’s reaction should have been what Daemon should have done sorta. I mean come on Jaenelle was his TRUE love, his other part, etc and this is how he reacted?! Or like you said waited for at least 5000 yrs instead of 20 yrs which would be like 2 days for me. Oh well…. what is done is done, will def reread the first trilogy for the 20th time or something but never again twilight’s dawn…NEVER I say! :P
The Daemon/Surreal thing I suspected was going to happen was the reason I put off reading these novellas until so long after they came out. I get it – but I didn’t like it. It didn’t feel fair to Surreal! I was so disappointed with that ending.
I went into this expecting a Saetan and Jaenelle story. Was all WTF and was mortified for the longest time after reading this.. took me ages to pick up the original story again.
WHAT HAS BEEN READ CAN NEVER BE UNREAD