Saturday, September 23, 2006
Review: The Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop
I really hesitated whether to post this review on my blog or on Twisted Kingdom or both... but in the end, I decided both, mainly because I still can't "edit" posts that were made by others and since we've decided to lump all our reviews of the same book together, well I couldn't do it. Anyway, I know, you guys are not interested with my problems :) what you want is the trilogy's review... well here it is:
Daughter of the Blood: 4/5
Heir to the Shadows: 4.5/5
Queen of the Darkness: 4.5/5
Dreams made Flesh: 4.5/5
Overall series grade: 4.5/5
So where to start... Very brief synopsis of what's happening. In this world where there are witches and warlords, women rule and men serve them. The amount of powers depend on which jewel you are born with and with jewel you possessed after you've made your Offering to Darkness. Your Offering to Darkness will also determine what position you hold: whether you're a Queen (there's many kind), a Priestress or something else. In the land of Terreille however, no Territory Queen (highest Queen position possible) rules. Instead, it is a Priestess, Dorothea, who holds the highest position; however, the males do not rush to serve her as a Queen as she expected... Therefore, her viscious game starts in order to corrupt all the Blood (ppl with jewels I think) and other territories. As she grows powerful, other Queens are fearful and therefore adopt Dorothea's way and become tainted. Then, one day, Tersa, a high-rank witch who should have reigned over Treveille instead of Dorothea if she'd made through her Virgin Night, announces that SHE is coming. The Witch, most powerful being, that will restore peace in every realm and will restore the Blood.
It will take 700 years before the Witch makes her first apparition... as a 7 y.o. girl named Jaenelle Alexandra. Her life will affect many, many ppl, but especially three men: Saetan SaDiabolo (50,000 y.o.), her adopted father, mentor and the High Lord of Hell. Daemon SaDiabolo (1,700 y.o.)who is Saetan and Tersa's son and had been used as a pleasure slave by Dorothea... in a few words, Dorothea has lent him to many Queens to be serviced... he is to be Jaenelle's Consort/mate. Finally, Lucivar Yaslava, also Saetan's son with a Healer, who will be Jaenelle's brother and protector. Lucivar's fate is not very different from Daemon; however, because he's Eyrien (a race of human beings with wings and very hot temper who usually become warrior), he has a hot temper that've hurt many Queens in bed. In the beginning of the trilogy, Daemon and Lucivar know that they are brothers, but do not know who is their father. It turns out that they are Saetan's sons out of wedlock and Saetan's been threatened with their lives and so, Saetan cannot become involved with them.
So slowly, we follow's Jaenelle's growth. She is an exceptional magical being. A normal person will usually be born with a jewel and get another after his/her Offering. There is a selection of jewels, the darker the jewel's color, the more powerful you are. When you do your Offering, you can gain a maximum of 3 jewels power. However, Jaenelle is obviously different. She possesses ALL the jewels + 13 Black Jewels (Black being the most powerful)... With all this power, she is able to psychically travels in different realms, different territories very easily and she befriends many, many ppl: humans, but also beings that were thought to be legend only. Although she yields lots of power, she cannot accomplish the basic Craft such as fetch her own shoes and so her family believes that she has no talent, she is nobody. In addition to that, when Jaenelle talks about her adventures, they think she makes it up to gain attention and that she has too much imagination; basically, that she is mentally unstable. Because she couldn't learn basic Craft at home, Jaenelle goes to Saetan... Saetan welcomes her with open arms as he was predicted that one day, his daughter of the soul would come. So Jaenelle will often slip from her house/home to come to Saetan or visit her friends.... Meanwhile, back at home in Chaillot, her grandmother is the Queen of Chaillot, she is sent to Briarwood... an institution for mentally unbalanced kids... However, the horror that you witness in this institution are unbelievable.
When Jaenelle is 12 y.o., Daemon is sent to Chaillot to service the Queen and her court. This is where Daemon and Jaenelle meet for the first time... Daemon is shocked to learn that the Witch he's been waiting is only 12 y.o.... but he nonetheless falls in love with her. During this span of time, Daemon also discovers that Saetan is his father as well as the reason why Jaenelle still remains in Chaillot instead of going to live with Saetan. Jaenelle has an older sister whom she wants to help give her Offering so her sister will be able to protect herself, before leaving Chaillot forever. However, things do not go according to plan. During her 5 years with Saetan, Jaenelle has attracted Saetan's ex-wife, Hekatah's unwanted attention. All her life, Hekatah has wanted more and more power and she is the influential force behing Dorothea. Thus, Jaenelle presents as a threat to Hekatah that she wants eliminated... As a result, she plans to break Jaenelle's spirit by having her rape in Briarwood. The rape occurs, but it does not destroy Jaenelle because Saetan and Daemon rescue her soul and body in time... However, there is a price and Daemon slowly falls into the Twisted Kingdom where ppl become insane.
Although Saetan and Daemon were able to save Jaenelle, it will take time for her soul to heal and come to her body. Meanwhile, Saetan took care of her body and become her legal guardianship. Daemon tried to save Lucivar who at that time was a slave, but Lucivar thought that Daemon was the one who raped and killed Jaenelle and so gave the last push necessary for Daemon to drown in Twisted Kingdom. Jaenelle finally makes it back to her body, but she does not remember anything of the trauma and has forgotten Daemon. Slowly, she becomes once again who she was and reconnect with all her friends from different realms and territories. Dorothea and Hekatah will later figure out that she's still alive and scheme for her downfall once again. Few years later, Jaenelle saves Lucivar and he comes back to SaDiabolo Hall and becomes her protector. Jaenelle is living a peaceful life till the day when the Queens and Dark Council in Terreille start invading lands that they say are "unclaimed" by humans. However, these lands are habitated by kindred animals which are animals born with Jewels and who can contact humans, if they will and if humans are listening, psychically. The Dark Council, which is under the influence of Hekatah, announces that if the lands are really claimed by kindred, then they need a human representative and under her current status, Jaenelle cannot be the representative. Although Jaenelle has power, she never wanted to rule, but she has no choice... She becomes Queen and set her court which is composed of many, many Queens and Warlord Princes who all yield their lands and territories to Jaenelle.
Before becoming the Queen, Jaenelle, through Tersa, remembers Daemon and tries to save him by guiding Daemon back to the real world. Although she is successful, she still needs to wait for him to come back to her one day... This occurs about 5 years after she officially becomes the Queen. Jaenelle might be the Queen of Darkness, Daemon finally returns as her Consort, Saetan is her Stewart, Lucivar is her first Escort and her court is powerful... however, Hekatah and Dorothea are still alive. They might only rule Terreille, but it is still enough to stir trouble. In her dreams, Jaenelle sees that the Blood is going to war against Terreille.... she also sees the consequences: very few of her friends will survive. However, she is pushed to engage in the war as Lucivar and his family, as well as Saetan are kidnapped by Hekatah. Jaenelle needs a way to be able to make the difference between the Bloods and the Bloods who've been tainted by Hekatah and Dorothea... she finally finds a way, but needs time. As a result, Daemon is sent as a decoy to Dorothea's court where he creates illusions that he betrayed Jaenelle, with the promise that when he comes back, when they've won the war, Jaenelle and him will marry. Because of Daemon's past, his stay in Twisted Kingdom and his behavior, Jaenelle's court does not trust him and the distrust becomes worst when Jaenelle gives them the interdiction to engage into war, because this goes against their nature. Finally, Jaenelle goes to war on her own with an army of dead-demons, so all the living Blood is spared. The plan is successful, everyone is freed, but Jaenelle is gravely injured...
In the end, Jaenelle will heal, but her condition is very fragile. She's also lost all her jewels and instead, have a new one, Twilight Dawn. Both Jaenelle and Daemon dance around each other for awhile, but finally, they will get married... and they will leave happily ever after.
Reviewer's opinion: that was a short synopsis right? well that's the shortest I could make and I left a lot out. The story is very good, although sometimes, I think it might exceed some boundaries. Not that I mind, but it can become very violent, brutal or crude. I like the fact that we follow Jaenelle' s growth from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. It is a very intriguing story and you want to know what happens. I really liked Jaenelle's childhood (except Briarwood), but what I really luv in this book was the relationships and personalities. I think that my fav. character is Saetan :) I've always been a sucker for those almighty characters with so much power, but face with someone they care for, they become grumpy old bear :) So the story was almost perfect, but sometimes, I got confused and that's why the 4.5 instead of 5. And I understand that Jaenelle and Daemon were meant to be together; however, you do wonder when did Jaenelle start loving Daemon... and by the way, what's their lifespan? cos Daemon is 1,700 y.o. and Jaenelle is not even 30 y.o. In addition to that, the world in which it happens is bit hard to understand, cos it's really Moyen-Age-ish, but they have nail polish, mud mask? Also, my advice is that if you are going to buy the trilogy, don't forget to include Dreams Made Flesh, because it contains the conclusion of the trilogy. It also have three other short stories worth reading :D