Monday, May 08, 2006

The Black Jewels Trilogy; A. Bishop

In this series, the good guys are very very good & the bad guys are very very bad. I have to say though, that I felt the 'good guys' were more rounded, complex characters- fuller human beings. The bad guys, I saw as similar to historical people like Hitler & Stalin. Totally out of touch with their own humanity, morality, compassion. Completely warped out of recognition by the pursuit of power & wealth. People who enjoy the subjugation & suffering of others.

I only managed to read 'the bad guys'parts through the first book. After that I found them too ..evil, over the top, something like that. They made me too uncomfortable. Besides, I was too much in a hurry to see what everyone else was up to. Where they were going & how they wanted to get there.

The major themes arcing across these books, as I see them, are: proper use of governing power; relationships between men & women, humans & animals, magically gifted & 'regular' people, parent & child; the whys wherefores & how tos of maintaining faith in a person or idea during a time of struggle. Last, but not least~ we get to watch a man & a woman develop the friendship & trust & openness necessary to a strong relationship. Subsequently you alternately laugh & cry with them & for them as they & their relationship are pushed to the ultimate limit.

The plot is this- a variation of humans gifted with differing levels of magic rule over a small group of countries in a medieval type setting. In one particular country, the ruling women subjugate the men in their court via pain & torture & degredation. A pair of brothers is held separately, in different courts, in this manner. It turns out they are awaiting a prophesied all powerful queen who, according to legend, will restore the power balance & morality of the magical race.

She finds each brother while a small child & visits them in their cells. We then watch her grow & suffer until she accepts her tutor's offer to live with him in his court. The brothers manage to make their way either to her at her family estate or to their father's court where she ends up as both his adopted ward & his pupil. Once she has fully come into her power, she is obligated to cleanse her people of the evil taint. How she does this, the price she must pay & the price her loved ones must pay totally absorbed my attention & captured my heart.

I strongly recommend this series. I ran around like a crazy woman last week hunting for Anne Bishop's books & it has been well worth my time, effort & and money.


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