Ancient prophecies have foretold the coming of a powerful witch, one who would in reality be not a mere human female but "dreams made flesh," nothing short of Witch herself. She comes in the form of a tremendously brave little girl, whom we first meet at the age of twelve or so when she comes to Hayll seeking instruction in the Craft from none other than Saetan himself. Human beings don't just come over into the land of the demon-dead, and Saetan quickly recognizes who this young girl truly is and will become. Jaenelle is terrible at the simple magic of the Craft, yet the true strength of her powers is almost infinite. She refuses to speak about her home life, for reasons that gradually become quite clear. Treated as an outcast by her family, she is subject to occasional stays in Briarwood. Briarwood is not what it seems; this "hospital" is in fact a place of unspeakable evil. Briarwood is in essence a poison, and there is no cure for Briarwood. Happenstance lands Daemon Sadi in the home of Jaenelle's grandmother as a consort, but even his undying love and recognition of whom and what Jaenelle really is cannot save her from a most brutal and unforgivable of fates. Daemon, like his estranged father Saetan, does wear the black jewels, however, and he uses all of his magical powers to save the physical life of Jaenelle, falling into the pits of the Twisted Kingdom of insanity in the process.
Saetan claims the girl as his own, and under his care she does gradually recover, but her innocence is gone. As the story progresses, she grows into her role as Witch, gathering among her inner circle the young Black Widow queens of adjacent lands as well as the Kindred, animals who wear the Blood jewels but are not recognized by the "enlightened" rulers of the realm of Terreille - high priestess Hekatah and the dark queen Dorothea, two of the most nefarious and thoroughly corrupt souls ever created by the hand of man or woman. The fate of Daemon, one of the most unique and fascinating characters I've ever encountered, is left hanging in the balance over the course of the entire second book of the trilogy, and his eventual return rekindles a needed spirit of innocent romance to a story defined by darkness and evil. Once Jaenelle makes the Dark Offering and ascends the throne of Ebon Askavi, establishing a Dark Court consisting of the most powerful men and women in the realms, the final conflict of good and evil draws nigh. While the question of victory is, one supposes, never much in doubt, Bishop creates a magical sense of suspense and hesitation on the part of the reader as he/she embarks on the final steps of this wondrous journey. The most beloved of characters suffer much, and the fate of Jaenelle herself is very much left in doubt.
I can't really even begin to describe the wonder and magic this trilogy possesses. It is quite unlike anything I have ever read before, featuring wholly unique and fascinating characters in droves. There is no strict demarcation between good and evil here, as Bishop stands tradition on its head, giving even minor characters more life than I can find in most of my fellow human beings. Some may refer to the romance elements of this story in a condescending manner, and some might look askance at the love Daemon Sadi feels for a twelve-year-old Jaenelle, but this is no prurient tale of lust. The love these remarkable characters feel for one another is of remarkable, noble depth in all manner of different forms, and the ultimate romance of Daemon and the adult Jaenelle is one of almost heart-wrenching innocence.
If you are searching for something different, something that will completely captivate you in the form of a world unlike any you have yet encountered in your literary journeys, The Black Jewels Trilogy stands ready to redefine your very conception of the literature of dark fantasy. This is fantasy that should appeal to women as well as men, for this is not just another work of fantasy built around warlike dwarves, ethereal elves, and heroic battles fought by stereotypical male characters. The Black Jewels Trilogy is literature of the highest order, more than earning author Anne Bishop the title I now personally bestow upon her: the Queen of Dark Fantasy.
The trilogy as a whole is one of the most enigmatic trilogies ever written, it remains number two in my all time favourites but only because I read my favourite book first. If id found this one first then it is likely that this would have been my all time favourite. The trilogy is set in the realms of the blood, the blood are a race that govern the lindens (normal people), the power they can wield magically is represented and channelled through the jewels they wear, Black is the highest, white the lowest.
The realms of the blood are the dark realm (hell), the shadow realm (kaeleer) and the light realm (terrielle. Not sure if spelt right). They are parallel realms all connected, each contains the same places and at the middle is Ebon Askavi (the black mountain) the home of WITCH.
WITCH is a legend, a dream of millions of people and not all the dreams are human and what happens when dreams become flesh.
Daughter of the Blood: the first book. Like any good book it begins with an interesting prologue. A woman prophesied the coming of the strongest Queen ever known. Only two brothers believe her and they wait seven hundred years for her, one to serve and one to be her lover. She is WITCH. Three males revolve around her; they love her and wish her to rule. They are the two brothers Lucivar and Daemon, and their Father, Saetan the High Lord of Hell. But WITCH is only a child her name is Jaenelle.
Heir to the Shadows: the second book. Continues the lives of the four main characters after the brutal events of the first book. Jaenelle is hurt and no one knows if she will return to them. Daemon is missing, his mind splintered, he’s delicate and the knowledge he learns will push him over the edge. Lucivar is still a slave, his body is broken and he escapes to die. Saetan watches over Jaenelle, he is now her legal guardians. He thought Janelle was difficult but then he meets her friend.
Queen of the Darkness: is the final book, every character has to face their problems. Jaenelle must confront the family that abused her. Saetan must refrain from killing them. Daemon must capture Janelle’s heart. And Lucivar must come to terms with the atrocities committed on his wife and child by the one man he thought he could trust.
The entire trilogy is mind-blowing; I haven’t given a very good synopsis, just the main points. The second book was my favourite, it’s amazing how a twelve year old girl can make the High Lord of Hell suffer so, her friends are priceless and when she brings home the puppy and the kitten. Never laughed so much in my life. The whole trilogy is hilarious but it can also be disturbing, lot of angst and a part near the end of the third book is horrible. But believe me the variety of emotions it makes you feel is what makes it great, that and a plot to die for. Buy it you won’t regret it. Trust
This trilogy centres around 3 strong men of whom 2 are ringed. SAETAN, the legendary highlord of HELL has dreamt of meeting the daughter of his soul for thousands of years and refuses to give up hope. LUCIVAR a winged (and ringed) Eyrian warlord prince refuses to be broken in his servitude, after all he knows one day she will come, a QUEEN he will want to serve. Lastly there is SADI, a beautiful ringed pleasure slave who can satisfy any need. He believes he was born to be WITCHES lover and has also waited hundreds of years for the one that he was foretold would come in his lifetime. And spectacular entrances she makes - JAENELLE is only 7 years old when she enters HELL to meet the father of her soul. She requests craft training - how can someone be so useless at basic craft when she carries 13 uncut black gems, a gift from the legendary LORN - the dragon of ancient myth who created the BLOOD. LUCIVAR is trapped in a cage and mentally crying for justice when she answers, and SADI is overwhelmed with her psychic scent when he is given to her Grandmother as a gift. The 3 strongest males in the realms are drawn to JAENELLE, each desperate to protect her from the political intrigues and plots to secure a QUEEN of such power, yet each man deeply suspicious of the others motives. They believe that none but they understand what JAENELLE truly is, dreams made flesh, not just a witch but WITCH .... that is until they start meeting JAENELLE'S friends, characters from closed territories thought to be only legend .... after all not all the dreamers who created WITCH are human!
This is definitely not a fairy tale for children. There are darkly erotic encounters in this book and chilling but incredibly moving scenes that brought me close to tears. JAENELLE'S many friends play significant roles, yet it is the triangle of 3 strong men to whom we are drawn to. We also see a shy confused 7 year old grow stronger from her personal tragedies until we encounter a beautiful and powerful QUEEN, a determined woman of awesome and limitless power prepared to destroy if necessary to save the land and those not tainted by current society.
Addtitional works by MS BISHOP'S include the TIR ALAINN trilogy. Though this too is an excellent series surrounding the annhilation of witches and their relationship with humans and the Fae, these books do not have the dark depths found in the BLACK JEWELS trilogy. This series is a truly awesome read and so imaginative and compelling that it should be made compulsory reading!!
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