After I read “Written in Red” by Anne Bishop, I was inspired to reread the Black Jewels Trilogy by her (Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, Queen of the Darkness). I found them all in one volume several years ago and bought it. And yes, I reread all three books since last week’s post. That’s how much I love them. There are a few more Black Jewels books after these three, but these are the ones I like to reread the most. In fact, occasionally I will flip to the section in Heir to the Shadows where Jaenelle sets up the Dark Court because it gives me goosebumps and makes me teary.
I love how all of her characters are flawed. The bad guys are really bad, and the good guys are damaged in some ways, simply flawed in others. If I had to complain about something, I would say that it would be nice to see the bad guys with at least one good trait. It’s way too easy to hate them. A few glimmers of goodness in these vile people would have made hating them a little more interesting. It’s also interesting to see how she treats the Matriarchal Society she sets up for the books because she shows how it can work and how it can go horribly wrong.
Bishop does a good job explaining the rules of the Realms before you get into the books. She lists all of the jewel colors in descending order, explains how far one can move from the Birthright jewel to their mature jewel, and outlines the castes and how they relate to each other. Everything else she explains as the story progresses. She jumps ahead in time fairly often, sometimes by several years, and it can be a little confusing to keep those jumps straight, but it’s not impossible and it’s not a huge deal. Most of the time it’s a pretty smooth jump.
She also tells the stories through several different perspectives, both human and Kindred. She handles those really well and I like being able to get inside of several different characters to see how they’re experiencing things. Since these are stories about the Blood, she doesn’t really get into the Landens at all. Landens are the non-magical people who live in the realms with the Blood. It would be interesting in a future book to get one from the Landen perspective.
So far, I haven’t read a series by Bishop that I haven’t enjoyed.