Hemning Sternberg (moonshadow) wrote,
Hemning Sternberg

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop

Title: The Shadow Queen
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: Black Jewels #7
Genre: Dark fantasy
Pages: 448
Copyright Date: 2009
Cover: A pretty woman holding a key looks at the viewer from the corner of her eyes. She wears a green dress. Behind her stands a wrought-iron gate.
First line: "Reaching the broken-down stone wall and the double gate that was half-torn from its hinges, Theran Greyhaven planted his feet in the exact spot where he'd stood two years before."
Best part: Originality of plot! Bishop went in some new directions in this one.
Worst part: Will I sound shallow if I say the cover? It looks like Janelle, and the main character of this one is NOT supposed to be pretty. It's a big deal in the plot. Is it so hard to depict an unattractive woman?
Grade: B
Recommended for: Fans of the series, especially those who liked The Invisible Ring.
Related Reads: Daughter of the Blood by the same author (first in the series), Companion to Wolves by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette.

Theran Greyhaven has problems like other people have family members. His land, Greyhaven, was ripped nearly to pieces by the storm that cleansed the land of tainted Blood. The landen are in rebellion. He is the last living heir of the Greyhaven line. Greyhaven has no Queen, and the Warrior Princes it does have find it hard to trust each other, let alone to work together.
He has just one chance - following up on a family legend that says that the Sadist owes his line a favor. Can he use that chance to win everything he needs for himself and his people?

I had low expectations for this book after last year's Tangled Webs, I'll admit it freely. That book didn't work for me at all - there was just not enough plot or new characters to make me happy. This one is very, very different. By focusing on new characters and introducing complex interpersonal dynamics (a Queen that isn't pretty, for instance! an Escort who isn't madly in love with his charge!) Bishop really brings things back to a higher level. If you loved the first few books of this series but felt more recent ones have been lacking, you should give it a try. You do not have to read everything that came before it but I strongly recommend reading The Invisible Ring and Queen of the Darkness prior to diving in.

Grade of B, which is high for a late-series book. Keep it up, Bishop!

I had low expectations for this book after reading last year's Tangled Webs. TW didn't work for me - there was too much involvement from the main characters, too little new plot. Boy, was this book ever different. It was really, really good.
Tags: books 2009, fiction
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