5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2014
The first book in what is known as The Black Jewels trilogy and now to be released on Kindle internationally. This is a classic piece of fantasy writing by this established author and it's an absolute joy to read such unique world building. This is unashamedly a journey into a world of imagination unlike any other that you will take . So be prepared to feel both challenged and revolted by all the machinations you are about to encounter here.
An ancient prophecy foretells of a Witch who will appear and unite the three realms and free them all from tyranny. It's a land that's ruled by blood and magic and controlled by Queens who expect undying servitude. The Witch will be the ultimate embodiment of magic.
Saetan is guardian over the Hell realm but has learned of a young girl Jaenelle who although still a child has the ability to traverse all the realms. He's determined to teach her but she's slippery and refuses to share her secrets with him. Jaenelle is from Terreille and suffers greatly at the hands of her family as they believe she is of unsound mind and emotionally scarred. At times Jaenelle struggles to even trust herself and almost believes that what she sees is just her imagination. Institutionalised she is at the mercy of those who would do her harm and she sees no way to escape her fate.
Saetan has two estranged sons Lucivar and Daemon but time and the taint that's spreading throughout the lands has caused them all unmitigated pain. Both Daemon and Lucivar are enslaved by evil power hungry Queens but when Daemon feels the pull of Jaenelles blood magic it's clear that finally Witch has arrived! Jaenelles considerable powers are not yet fully honed and she will need protecting from those who seek to control power. Jaenelle is still a child but she will face danger and depravity before her destiny will be realised . This is a very different type of book for me as it's pure fantasy rather than the urban fantasy world that Ms Bishop has recently ventured into. This is not a pretty read and aspects of it are truly vile! Males are violated and even castrated and although not erotic there is quite a strong sexual aspect to this story. There is a lot to remember as the author introduces quite a few characters and it's an original idea to connect magical powers with gem stones . It's a richly drawn world and just pulls the reader in. At times it's hard to see how the heroine Jaenelle can ever overcome her circumstances and take her rightful place but that's where the three main male characters step up. I loved the almost paternal feelings displayed by Saetan and the honourable actions of Lucivar but the area that some readers might struggle with is the attraction shown by Daemon for what is essentially a child! I thought that the author portrayed Jaenelle as an old soul and this reader could believe that time would bring the couple together. Many societies see nothing wrong with young females finding themselves in relationships and it's important to remember this is a story set in a brutal and deadly world.
This book charts the beginning of these characters journey and it's a very complex storyline that Ms Bishop weaves. This is probably the darkest fantasy that I have encountered and is populated by those who only seek power and will do anything to achieve it. Political intrigue is rife within these pages but more disturbingly so too is brutality. A book I didn't want to put down and yet curiously at times I didn't want to read it. The fact that I had to finish it is telling I think. An amazing piece of work and thought provoking too.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I reviewed the three books in the Black Jewels series as a trilogy when I first read it over three years ago; and since rereading it for the fifth time or so I'll try a little harder to explain why this book (and its two sequels) is so wonderful.
"Daughter of the Blood" begins with a prophecy that "Witch" will come to the realms, a prophecy that keeps alive the dreams and survival instincts of three strong males for over seven hundred years before she makes her appearances to each. To Saetan, the High Lord of Hell she will be the beloved daughter of his soul, to his son Lucivar she will become a cherished sister and to his other (living) son Daemon Sadi, she will become the lover he has dreamed he was born for.
AB has created a world of three realms; Terreille (the land of the living), Kaeleer (the isolated Shadow Realm now believed to be nothing more than myth) and Hell (the Dark Realm in which the demon dead dwell). In each of these lands different species reside; normal humans (Ladens), several long lived races such as the winged Eyrians and various ranks of the Blood, which include humans and long lived races able to wield the powers of a jewel; the darker the jewel the greater their power. The Blood are the caretakers of the Realms, created to protect the land and people by using the powers available to them through a coloured jewel which denotes their psychic strength. At the top of the hierarchy is the Queen, to whom all serve; normally a witch who wears a dark jewel; however only two males have ever worn the most powerful jewel of all; the black (Saetan and Daemon). Yet the delicate laws of the Blood, those protocols which allow strong Warlords to lovingly serve a Queen, and the Queen to accept and use the strength of her volatile Warlords rather than fear what they are capable of has become warped. This taint to the Blood is spreading throughout Terreille and soon enters both the Shadow and Dark Realms as two evil women (Heketah and Dorothea) seek power throughout all the territories. Now young witches (any female able to wear a jewel) are abused on their virgin nights (severing them from their power) and in turn frightened females control powerful Blood males with the "ring of obedience" placed on a certain part of a male's anatomy which channels pain to control. Lucivar and Saetan have spent the majority of their long lives ringed; abused mentally and physically and exploited sexually in the various courts they have served in; however their spirits have not been broken. Yet beaten and in pain Lucivar cries to the night, begging for a friend and a Queen he can willingly serve and is finally answered by his long awaited prophesised Queen; not just a witch with dark jewels, but Witch; the physical embodiment of dreams made flesh. He just never expected her to be only seven years old.
Jaenelle is pretty much ignored by her family and left emotionally battered by their disbelief when she talks of the people she has met in mythical lands. So adamant are they that this is just her imagination at work, a result of her inability to wear a jewel, Jaenelle too begins to doubt her own mind. Sent to Briarwood, an institute catering to those aristocratic young women who are highly strung and deemed emotionally unstable; almost all of Jaenelle's family remain unaware of the "treatments" available at Briarwood; a place where a man could glut himself on young virgin flesh with no repercussion.
Connected by their love for a young child and her potential to heal the Blood, Saetan, Daemon, Lucivar and other unique friends of Jaenelle strive to protect their burgeoning Queen, a girl already powerful enough to pose a significant threat to Heketah and Dorothea. With their deadly reputations Saetan and Daemon view each other as the possible greatest threats against Jaenelle; amid the political battles and acts of treachery taking place to either secure the powers of a black jewelled Queen or else destroy them by the simplest method available; brutal rape. As Jaenelle battles for the lives of those trapped in Briarwood; Saetan and Daemon find themselves fighting for the life of their Queen.
Richly drawn characters; the deadly and magical feats these individuals are capable of and the subtle humour found as Jaenelle remains oblivious to the chaos she has brought into the lives of the three most powerful men alive run heavily throughout "Daughter of the Blood" and create a beautiful reading experience despite the brutality of the end. I can only hope my review has done some justice to the darkly complex storyline and urge you to throw yourself into AB's twisted world; continuing with "Heir to the Shadows" and "Queen of the Darkness"
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I found 'Daughter of the Blood' both revolting and strangely compelling. Compelling enough to warrant ordering the other books! I actually had no idea this book was as perverse as it was, there were abundant references to incest, paedophilia and rape. The book was not excusing any of these things but I was pretty shocked nonetheless. And I did start to feel sick when one of the main characters (a character I'm assuming we're supposed to like) starts having feelings for a 12 year old girl. I did trudge on however and I'm glad I did because I thought the ending half of the book was excellent.
The main plot of the book is that Witch the embodiment of magic and dreams itself is about to come into the worlds as a human. She will thus lead the inhabitance of the corrupt worlds into a better age -- however, many others who live in these worlds are already planning how to manipulate and maneuver Witch for their own nefarious ends. It's rather King Arthur... only different! There is a lot of assumed knowledge. I was confused many times as to who certain characters were and how they were related to other characters in the book. Once you get used to who everyone is and how the worlds work, it's a lot easier to enjoy the plot. The story was slow going and I was bored in places but I found the whole thing bizarrely fascinating nonetheless.
'Daughter of the Blood' focuses on Daemon, Jaenelle and Saetan as main characters. Jaenelle in particular felt distant and I found her a little annoying actually... mainly because everyone in the book was cooing over her and I didn't feel as if she was that interesting. She was quite Mary Sue-ish in fact. Saetan also bored me but he got better towards the end, and Daemon was mildly curious but I did have huge problems with some of his actions. Again, however by the end of the book he was more likeable to me.
I thought the way the book was written was quite exquisite. I also found the weaving of storylines between the various and numerous inhabitance of these strange worlds to be superbly done. The back story Bishop provided the reader with for most characters made for some of the most intriguing parts of the book.
on 8 September 2014
Alright, peeps, I've been recommended this series often enough to get curious especially after reading Anne Bishop's excellent UF series. I also noticed that many of you complained that this blog doesn't review that much fantasy.
So, starting Black Jewels served a few purposes, plus I was listening to this on audio which allowed me to work through my chores while going through book after book in this series.
Concerning audiobook there is only one issue. Please skip the next sentence if you are going to read this book and not listen to it.
First of all, the narrator is a very unfortunate choice for this type of book. John Sharian's voice is creepy and doesn't differentiate between characters much. All women sound bitchy, all men creep the hell out of me, especially when we are talking about a lot of men submitting to power hungry, twisted witches and in turn taking it out on little girls. There is a huge issue of paedophilia in this book. It's my warning to anyone who considers this topic as their personal trigger.
Daughter of The Blood is choke full of captivating characters whether they are good or bad guys. I actually noticed the same thing with Bishop in Written in Red. She writes such revolting villains, you want to turn back time and strangle them in their cradles. And her good characters and deliciously scary. They are not below revenge, and their revenge is usually savagely gruesome.
Saetan is wonderful in his grumpiness, and both his sons are lethal and hate the witches they have to serve as slaves. Lucivar is more straightforward in his hatred, but Daemon is much more dangerous.
We are talking about very long lived species, so these men tend to be creative when they pay back for the torture they receive from the witches who held them captive.
Jaenelle who is the centrepiece of the whole book is a very young witch prophesied to be born centuries ago. Prophesied as Saetan's daughter of his soul and Daemon's future Queen, I add - so you can imagine the men's confusion and bewilderment when first they met Jaenelle who is seven, and by the end of the book, she is just twelve. They really don't know what to do. Add to it abuse Jaenelle is suffering without telling her friends what's going on, and she is a troubled and very fragile soul with immense power at her disposal.
Without coordinating their actions they are all trying to look after Jaenelle, but she lives in the area which is closed magically to Saetan, so he can only look after her when she comes to visit. Lucivar doesn't know who Jaenelle is and where she is from, and only Daemon by sheer luck gets sent to a household where Jaenelle lives, so he ends up closest to her.
At last, there are only two good female characters - Titian and her daughter Surreal, and it's Surreal who has been connected to Daemon for centuries, and ends up playing a huge role in saving Jaenelle.
I think I connected with Surreal the most. She is a whore and an assassin. In fact, her first profession is just a convenient way to work on her targets as an assassin, and her attitude, her background and her way of dealing with things made me cheer for her all the time.
There are multiple plots and a lot of horrible things happen (especially in the end), and while it's disturbing and very hard to stomach, it's worth your effort in the end because it's an excellent dark fantasy which reminded me of Jacqueline Carey's writing. If you like Carey, you'd most likely enjoy it.
Surprisingly, despite a lot of plot revolving around sex, there are no graphic sex scenes, and thanks God for that! Daughter of the Blood is creepy enough without it. Anyway, recommended. I'm on the third book now, and it's only getting better.
Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.
The Darkness has had a Prince for a long, long time. Now the Queen is coming.
For years the realm of Terreille has been falling into corruption, as the powerful Queens who rule it have turned to cruelty.
But there is hope – a prophetic vision has revealed the coming of a Queen more powerful than any other. And once the foundations of her power – father, brother, lover – are in place, she will emerge from the darkness, bringing freedom.
For she is the living myth, dreams made flesh; not just any witch, but Witch.
It took me a while to sink into this one – I found the Jewel system quite complicated and there seemed to be a lot of rushing around in the first little bit – but once it kicked in I very much enjoyed it. The world the author has created here has a lot of depth and beauty – but also a lot of very dark places to visit and I would warn that there is some strong erotic content as well as some sexual violence – all in keeping with the story being told however.
High Jewelled women rule the roost here – decadent and cruel, power is their key. However one has been born who is not like the rest – she is Janelle, her coming was predicted, she is not just any witch but WITCH. Over the course of the novel we watch many people seek to find her, control her and she herself is immature and does not understand the depth of her power. Into this mix comes a terrific cast of characters all of which I would prefer you met for yourself…I’m with Saetan though!
The further I got drawn into the world the more compelling I found it – as I headed towards the end I was reading it practically non stop. This is a highly imaginative tale of myth and magic, often horrific, always intriguing and dark fantasy indeed. It feels like there is a lot more development, both of the characters and the world they inhabit, and I am looking forward greatly to book 2.
All in all terrific fantasy, as a series I am extremely keen to see where the author takes it.
Happy Reading Folks!
on 8 March 2014
<i>An ARC was provided by NetGallery for an honest review</i>
I loved this unique fantasy book but I couldn't explain it even if I wanted to. Half the time I was scratching my head, the only thing that made sense to me was the relationships and even then I was sometimes confused.
The story centre on Janelle who is extremely powerful, this world features a hierarchy of powerful jewels and Janelle had been blessed/cursed with more power than any has ever seen. She is a normal 12 year old in many respects but her naivety and childlike innocence put her in danger from other queens who will kill her to avoid competition and herself, because she has a curiosity which could potential put her in harms way.
There are stacks of secondary characters which all will have some input on her future. Saetan is a father like figure who is teaching her magic, Daeman is a whore who has waited his whole life for a worthy Queen to serve and Surreal is a baddass chick with a score to settle.
This story is packed with lots of information and again a lot of it is hard to understand, such as the webs, I still don't know what that means. I think a re read would help me with that.
It is very intense and some scene are hard to read, there are some horribly themes in this book and the end was heartbreaking.
I wish I could rave more because I really did enjoy it. The writing was excellent and I can't wait to move onto the next one, however it doesn't end with a cliffy so you can read at your own pace.
Daughter of the Blood is a really difficult book to review and I think that's partly due to how uncomfortable it made me feel when I was reading it. This is a DARK fantasy story, if you're looking for an easy read then that's not what you're going to get here. However, if you're looking for a story that is as compelling as it is disturbing then this may be just what you're after. If I'd known the kind of things this story included (everything from child molestation, rape, incest, abuse, torture and much much more) then I would have been wary about picking it up but no matter how squeamish reading it made me feel there was never a point where I wanted to put the book down and walk away. I was so engrossed in this world and the characters that I just had to know what was going to happen next!
Anne Bishop has created a fascinating but brutal world, one where power has completely corrupted the people in charge. Society is ruled by those of the Blood, men and women with magic whose abilities are defined by the colour of jewel they receive at birth. It is a matriarchal society where territories are ruled by the Queens who have the strongest magic and they are served by their male counterparts the Warlords. There was peace and happiness for centuries until they fell under the power of a dark and twisted High Queen, Dorothea, a woman who thinks nothing of terrorising the people under her command. In fact she has encouraged the other Queens to treat men as worse than nothing, they are often little more than sex slaves who are under complete control of Dorothea and the other Queens that she allows to rule over smaller territories. The world is split into three different realms - Terreille, Kaeleer and Hell - but most of this story takes place in Terreille and Hell (I have to admit I'm a little confused about how Kaeleer fits into the picture but I'm assuming that will become more clear as the series continues). The realms have been divided and under Dorothea's reign Terreille has become a dark and terrifying place. There is only one hope for the realms to be reunited and prophecy has long since told of Witch, the most powerful Queen to be born in centuries, one who will either heal or destroy the world.
For centuries Saetan, the overlord of Hell, has awaited the birth of Witch and finally she is here. Jaenelle is just seven years old when she finds her way to Hell and befriends him and he instantly recognises her for who and what she is. It will take years of training before she is ready to fulfil the prophecy but that is only if he manages to keep her safe from those that seek to harm her. Jaenelle is already capable of incredible and terrifying things but she doesn't have proper control of her magic and desperately needs the lessons he can give her. Saetan is a father figure to Jaenelle and he would do anything to help her but that isn't easy when she is so determined to follow her own path, she is a wanderer who has friends throughout all three realms and in her own way she is just as determined to protect those she cares about. She refuses to stay safe in Hell when her friends need her help and she keeps secrets about things that happen because she tries to spare Saetan the pain of knowing the kind of trouble she is in.
Jaenelle also befriends Saetan's two sons Daemon and and Lucivar although her relationship with them is very different to the one she has with Saetan. Daemon and Lucivar are both slaves who are under control of Dorothea, they have spent centuries being abused and tortured biding their time until Witch comes into her power and can free them. We don't see a great deal of Lucivar here but whenever we do get his point of view he is either suffering the worst kind of torture or watching it happen to someone else. I'm actually glad we don't see more of him because his scenes were incredibly difficult to read about, I just wish I could say they were the worst in the book and unfortunately they weren't! Daemon is a pleasure slave who has spent centuries forced to do the bidding of Dorothea, but in spite of that he actually has a kind of innocence to him, one that Jaenelle brings to the surface through their friendship. Daemon would do anything to keep Jaenelle safe, he would go through any kind of pain or suffering himself if it meant she didn't have to but even he isn't powerful enough to protect her the entire time. Scenes towards the end of the book absolutely broke my heart and I have no idea how Jaenelle is going to come back from what happened to her. Thankfully the abuse she suffers is one of the few scenes that isn't detailed graphically in the story but the aftermath is more than enough to show just how badly she suffered and it makes for difficult reading.
Daughter of the Blood is a fascinating but brutal story, it is graphic and unflinching when it comes to showing the darkest that the world has to offer. This is a compelling book that hits you where it hurts and makes it hard to keep breathing but one that you can't look away from. As much as I'm kind of terrified to see where Anne Bishop will take us next I'm in it for the long haul and there is no way I can stop reading this series. The world building is absolutely fascinating and I am so invested in these characters that I want to see them get the happy ending that they deserve. Apart from Dorothea and a few others who are evil to the core - them I want to see suffer in the most brutal ways imaginable!
on 2 March 2014
For some, it’s the moment you walk out of customs in a foreign airport. For others, it’s the studio signature music that heralds the start of a film. For me, it’s the slow turn of the page, the march of black marks on white paper that become a new world of experience and thrills.
I was looking forward to Daughter of the Blood, the first of a dark fantasy trilogy. It’s been a while since I enjoyed a new world, new characters, and I expected to like this book.
I admit that within just a few pages, I was tempted to turn my back and leave. Anne Bishop has built a world filled with magic, power and beauty, but so many of the early scenes portrayed the cruelty of power, and the privilege of perfection, that I felt repelled. There was, additionally, a lot to take in. Three worlds, between which some travel is possible, by some people. Two classes, the landen and the Blood. Many levels of magical ability – measured and displayed by the colours of the jewels worn by the Blood. Four levels of existence – the living, the Demon Dead, the Guardians, and the ghosts. The mad and the sane. Above all, two sexes of the Blood, engaged in a power battle that stands in the way of love, and poisons sex.
I left the book on the table, and decided to get back to it the next day.
Overnight, something happened. The characters had their hooks in my brain, and I found myself eager to get to grips with the story. By the mid point of the book, I was in the state that a reader loves – I resented every moment that wasn’t spent in the company of the Demon Dead, Witches, and Princes of the richly woven, connected worlds of Terreille, Hell and Kaeleer.
The characters are, in the main, stereotypical, but this is a work of dark fantasy, and in a strange world, of strange powers, it’s a relief to have familiar figures to guide us through the story. It’s a fast moving book set in a complicated world, and it took me a few chapters to get to grips with the workings of magic and power, and the relationships between the main players. I’m glad I made the effort, and trusted the author, because this is a good story, well told.
This is a book about magic, hope, strength, patience and love. It is also a book about blood, torture, murder, child abuse and rape. Because of that, it isn’t an easy book, but for me, it became a compelling read, and I look forward to the sequel, ‘Heir to the Shadows’.
Originally published in the US in 1998, and now published in the UK. ‘Daughter of the Blood’ is the first book in the Black Jewels trilogy. Available now as ebook from Jo Fletcher Books, the paperback edition is released on 6th March 2014.
on 7 December 2014
This series is something else, I have since gone on to read just about all of the related spin offs. It is very dark for what I took to be a young adult series, none of the lead characters have easy lives, living under the vicious and sadistic regime of magic users who have perverted the intended use for their gifts. Really you have to read these books yourself, I would put them on a level with Anne Bishop's Written in Red for world building, character building and the way they just pull you in. These books feel real and even when you're horrified by what's happening you're desperate to read more. In this book Jaenelle who is Witch, Dreams made Flesh, and who it is prophesied will bring about a regime change and restore the rightful order when (and if) she comes into power is only a girl. In spite of the part of her that is WItch and ancient, she has incredible powers but little understanding of them, she is the hope of many people and many races in all the realms but the book focuses particularly on three men who have been waiting her prophesied arrival and the regime change she will bring about with a desperate hope. They will do anything to keep her alive until she can mature into her powers, but one man in particular is afraid that the greatest danger to her may be himself.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 1999
If you can get through the first 50 pages -- you'll fall in love with this book. I know *I* did!
I am not one who usually reads Fantasy novels -- I basically picked this book up because I judged the book by the cover. I'm SO glad that I did!
The characters have strenghs and faults... but you can understand who they are. Saetan seems more like a grandfatherly type than the High Lord of Hell. Daemon Sadi (the Sadist) was a true heartbreaker. Jaenelle was a sweet girl who brought love into the hearts of those who long forgot what love was.
I loved this book so much. I can not express the words to praise this book enough!
I could NOT put the book down once I started! I have reread the book 7 times already. I cry each time I read it!
I can not WAIT until the second book in this series, Heir to the Shadows comes out!!!!!