Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Shadow Queen - Anne Bishop

The Shadow Queen
Anne Bishop
New American Library
Copyright: 2008
9780451462541

From the chapters/indigo website:

From the national bestselling authora the new novel set in the adarkly fascinating worlda("SF Site") of the Black Jewels.
Dena Nehele is a land decimated by its past. Once it was ruled by corrupt Queens who were wiped out when the land was cleansed of tainted Blood. Now, only one hundred Warlord Princes standawithout a leader and without hope.
Theran Grayhaven is the last of his line, desperate to find the key that reveals a treasure great enough to restore Dena Nehele. But first he needs to find a Queen who remembers the Bloodas code of honor and lives by the Old Ways. The woman chosen to rule Dena Nehele, Lady Cassidy, is not beautiful and believes she is not strong. But she may be the only one able to convince bitter men to serve once again.


Set after Tangled Webs and the Black Jewels Trilogy, The Shadow Queen connects the events and time of the stand-alone book The Invisible Ring with the later books. All I can say is WOW! This book kept me up two nights running. Frankly, I preferred it to Bishop's last book, Tangled Webs. It had the scope the previous book didn't. On the other hand, unlike the other books set in this world, there was no villain to contend with. Instead, it was a book of rebuilding, learning to trust and going on with life.

We learn a bit more aboute Jared and Lia and their fates, and many old favorite characters reappear: Luciavar, Daemon and Jaenelle, although they aren't the focus of the new book. This time the man character plotline is the rebuilding of Dena Nehele, the land that stood against Dorothea in The Invisible Ring. As a result, several of the viewpoint characters are descendants of Thera and Blaed, not to mention Jared and Lia.

It's rather nice for a change that not all of the characters are of the darker Jewels that are so prevalent in the original books, and we learn a bit more about the Landens and the roles of the various members of the court.

As with the other books by Anne Bishop, the sentences are often short and to the point, but sometimes that just adds to the effect of the story. At other times, it's a bit irritating. Still, it doesn't generally get in the way.

One thing about the entire series is that it tends to the explicit at times, and so, it's not appropriate for all readers. Overall, though it's a series I've enjoyed reading several times, and this latest book meets the standard set by the original books. Actually, I'd almost have to say that it doesn't just meet it, but it exceeds it. I'm already thinking of re-reading it soon.

Other reviews:
Rhinoa's Ramblings: The Shadow Queen
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