Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Reread Challenge: Daughter of the Blood; Anne Bishop

For this month's Reread Challenge over at Nath's blog (link also on sidebar), I reread Anne Bishop's first book in the Black Jewels Trilogy. The copy I have is one of the original mass market versions published by Roc in 1998, this is the cover on the left. The cover on the right is the new one. There are now several versions (mm, qp, ebook, etc.) available, many listed on the author's website listed in the link embedded in the title above. DotB is dark fantasy. To see a list of this month's Reread Challenge participants click here. To read my original comments on this series, click here.

Ms. Bishop created a formidably complex world in this book, one that completely fascinated me. Parts of Daughter of the Blood were dark enough, torturous enough that I don't read them. I stopped reading certain characters' vignettes halfway through the first time I picked this book up. That hasn't changed. I reread this series every year and every year I just can't do it.

In this world, the Blood are a people gifted with magic. Individuals have gifts of varying degrees which are symbolized by colored jewels given during certain childhood rituals. The Blood are spread among several small connected countries and often live among nonmagical humans, called landens. Generally, the Blood believe that women are the symbolic vessel of power, thus Blood societies are of a matriarchal feudal type. Men serve in various capacities, some of which are usually thought of as typically female: contraception within committed relationships, protecting the woman from overextending herself (sometimes via magic) and similar.

Ok. So there are two young men, named Lucivar and Daemon, who are hugely gifted with power, who have been enslaved by morally corrupt ruling queens who are murdering their female rivals. They keep powerful males weak and submissive via pain and torture and outright murder since ordinarily a powerful male would kill off a ruling queen who is corrupt. These women are in a quest to dominate all of the countries around them. These two young men are friends of a sort, a bond forged in pain and suffering. A seven year old little girl visits each of them, under bizarre circumstances, in secret.

The little girl intrigues everyone she meets. It's rapidly apparent that she was gifted with more power than anyone ever. This, unfortunately, sets her apart- makes her an outlier to use Malcolm Gladwell's phrase. Jaenelle Angelline, even at her young age, has secrets- dark secrets that make the ones who love her most fearful for her very survival. Will Jaenelle survive to fulfill her destiny, whatever that might be?

Daughter of the Blood is the story of Jaenelle, Daemon, Lucivar and Saetan. It is an age old story in some ways: depravity, immorality to the point of being a sociopath, greed for power and influence. Corruption. Suffering. Finding one's purpose in life. Compassion. The story hops between various viewpoints, always furthering the plot one step at a time. However, it continues into book two, Heir to the Shadows. There is no resolution at the end of this book. I absolutely love this series & recommend it often. Ms. Bishop's newest release, The Shadow Queen, came out in March and is set in this world and is linked to The Invisible Ring.

Images found on Tower and Mobipocket.


Marg said...

I struggled a bit when I first read this book. As someone who didn't read a lot of fantasy, in particular dark fantasy, I found it a bit hard to get my head around some aspects of the story. By the end of the book though, I was totally hooked and I now have read just about everything from this author!

Kailana said...

I really need to finish this series! I still have to read book 3

Taja said...

Oh, I read this series years ago and loved it! I didn't skip scenes but I know that there was one thing that left me rather uncomfortable.

Btw, I thought about reading this novel for Nath's challenge, too! To refresh my memory on what it was exactly that bothered me *g* and to see if I still think this series as good as I did then.

Bookwormom said...

Marg~ There are things about this series that made/make me cringe- and yet, they are intergral to my "buy in."

Kailana~ I think it would be completely worth finishing, if only to wrap up the story. This series isn't for everyone, but I think I'm a reader who needs to know the ending of a trilogy (unless I really struggled with the first two).

Taja~ What was it that you found uncomfortable? I'm curious. I too found much to be uncomofortable about but the rest of it was so compelling..I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Zeek said...

LOVE this series ... but I have no interest in reading the others she's putting out connected to it. For me as well it was complete with third.

Taja said...

Bookwormom, I'm not really sure what it was. LOL. I think it had to do with a scene between Jaenelle and Deamon but my memory is more than hazy, so I'm afraid I can't say more.

I guess I really should read this novel again. I know I was really impressed by this trilogy when I read it.

Bookwormom said...

Zeek~ I've read her other series & enjoyed them, but I'm uninterested in keeping up with the other worlds she created. I'm always fascinated learning about which series readers fall in love with & which ones we pass over.

Taja~ Maybe you'll reread it later in the year and write it up!

Jace said...

I've never read most of the books you mentioned here. :) I'm curious about Anne Bishop though, as I've seen her books being mentioned quite frequently. :)