Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop

This is a Black Jewels novel. I hesitate to try and assign a number as they aren't precisely serial like that. Suffice it to say that this book should be read after the trilogy. Reading the previous novel (the title escapes me at present) concerning Surreal is a good idea but not wholly necessary.

Dena Nehele is in Terreille and has suffered greatly under Dorothea SaDiablo. When the Witch storm swept through the realm it took most of the Blood and the landens revolted. Theran Grayhaven is the last descendant of the Grey Lady and seeks a Queen to help his people. Calling in a favor, he asks Daemon Sadi for help. Daemon and Jaenelle ask Cassidy to take on the job to teach the Blood of Dena Nehele the Old Ways. Of course this will not be easy, Cassidy is not the sort of Queen Theran and his people were expecting. Cassie, Theran, Gray (Theran's cousin), and the First Circle must all learn to bend and work together to keep Dena Nehele from being lost. Meanwhile, in Kaleer, Daemon and Saetan must learn to accept the darker parts of themselves that have been provoked by memories of Terreille.

Reading this book was like coming home. Anne Bishop's books have this hold on me that words fail to accurately describe. This book was no exception. I hadn't expected Daemon and Jaenelle to figure so prominently in this story and was very pleased to find them there. Cassie is likable, as she is meant to be and Theran is just annoying enough that a reader familiar with the Black Jewels novels pretty much knows what is in store for him. I loved the scenery and the relationships that formed. What irked me was the ending. I was loving the book right up until it abruptly stopped. It felt like the first available happy ending had been seized upon. There are so many things that were not wrapped up. What of the First Circle? The Shaldor Queens? Saetan's walk in the Twisted Kingdom? The injuries of the landen girl? Cassie's year contract? Too many questions were left unanswered - and not in a way that predicts a sequel. I found it very frustrating and disappointing - especially because I enjoyed the rest of the book so much.

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