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Seven Books I Love, part one–The Jewels series by Anne Bishop

There’s a Facebook meme going around where you list seven of your favorite books in seven days. I thought I’d do mine as a series of blog posts. I’m going to cheat and do a few series mixed in with single books. This is not an absolute list–this is my seven of many favorite books. I could do one of these for children’s books, YA, adult, romance, and I’d still never even approach naming all my favorite books.

That said, here is book (series) one…

 

Seven hundred years ago, a Black Widow witch saw an ancient prophecy come to life in her web of dreams and visions.

Now the Dark Kingdom readies itself for the arrival of its Queen, a Witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself. But she is still young, still open to influence—and corruption.

Whoever controls the Queen controls the darkness. Three men—sworn enemies—know this. And they know the power that hides behind the blue eyes of an innocent young girl. And so begins a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal, where the weapons are hate and love—and the prize could be terrible beyond imagining…

The Jewels series by Anne Bishop is such a favorite of mine that I usually reread it annually, with dips into a single book or the audiobook of Heir to the Shadows here and there. Daughter of the Blood does the world building and heavy lifting. I often skip it in my rereads, but I recommend reading it for first timers. Heir to the Shadows is by far my favorite book as it’s the lull between the bad of book one and the big show down of book three, and features some hilarious secondary characters.

I really like this series for the same reasons I like Anne Bishop’s writing in general. I think her world building is creative and expansive. She understands how her worlds work (as Seanan McGuire says–you need to understand and follow your own rules and the reader will follow you) and doesn’t go around changing the rules unnecessarily or rewriting her cannon (I’ll bring this up again with regards to a different series). Her characters come alive and are a mix of clashing and complementary personalities. The dialog is good and the character’s voices are distinct.

Why the Jewels series and not the Others or Ephemera or Gaian? There’s a playfulness to this series, despite the at time extremely dark events going on. One of my all time favorite characters, Karla, is the Queen of Glacia and one of Witch’s childhood playmates. When she appears in book two, she’s the first of Janaelle’s friends to demand to see the friend who’s been gone for years (for reasons explained between the end of book one and start of book two). She has a wicked sense of humor and a tartness tempered by a good heart. She is a literary crush, and yes, I’ve written some fanfic in my head involving her.

Witch is Jaenelle, a child who is so powerful that basic Craft is impossible for her, but she can do things no one else can do. She is destined to be the Queen of Darkness, but has no desire to rule others. However, because she can’t do basic Craft her family thinks she’s a waste of space, and when she talks about the fantastic creatures and people she’s met (like Karla, and unicorns, and so forth) she’s told she’s mentally disturbed and institutionalized. That leaves deep scars on her that remain the rest of the series.

She could go towards Darkness if the High Priestess gets her way, or to the Light if the High Lord of Hell can protect her.

The trilogy is the basis for the rest of the series. I also like the two books of three novellas each she’s released as well as The Shadow Queen and Shalador’s Lady, the latter two of which focus on another main character but feature the characters from the trilogy. I was not a huge fan of Tangled Webs–I think it’s the weakest book in the series, but the framing device of a horror house that can actually kill you, set as a trap for the SaDiablo family didn’t work for me, nor did I think Surreal carried a book on her own well.

If you like fantasy with an edge of dark eroticism, you’ll like this series.

Trigger warning–there is a rape of a child in book one and the repercussions of that rape echo through the rest of the series.

You can buy an omnibus of the trilogy in paperback here  for 20 USD or you can separately buy Daughter of the Blood (2.99 on kindle), Heir to the Shadows (5.99 on kindle), and Queen of Darkness (8.99 on kindle).

One Response

  1. I love the idea of doing this as a blog! I may do the same thing. Thanks for sharing!

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