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Recommended for Fans of the Black Jewels Series
on 11 May 2008
I love the Black Jewels series, I love the world and the mythology. I'm familiar with the trilogy, and the anthology, and I've read the previous standalone novel. I don't think I could recommend this book to anyone unless they had at least read the trilogy. You need the background, I think, to get the most out of the story. (If you haven't read the trilogy and like dark fantasy I heartily recommend it. :)
I think the Dear Reader at the beginning of the book is important, it says what this story is, a tale set after the epic battle has been fought. It's a what happened next. It's a catching up with old friends, who now deal with family problems instead of major catastrophes. This is very much a character driven story rather than plot centred.
Tangled Webs follows the Sa Diablo family in the aftermath of the events of the trilogy and takes place after the short story in the Dreams Made Flesh anthology. The story is told from multiple points of view. We catch up with Lucivar and Marian, Daemon and Jaenelle, Saetan, Surreal and Rainier. Jaenelle has decided she's going to 'build' a spooky house to scare the Landen families as they don't understand what being Blood really means. At the same time an author is looking for a new story to tell, and in Jaenelle's spooky house he sees a way to manipulate events to spark his own creative drive.
The beginning of the story is more a series of vignettes about the various family members. How they're coping (or not coping) with normal family life. For me this took a little getting into and the spooky house doesn't really come into play until you're well into the book.
The second half of the book follows Surreal and Rainier as they and several landen children try to escape from the Spooky house trap that has been set for them. As Surreal says :-
"Someone has cast us as the lead characters in a mystery about a house that's trying to kill us. Does that about sum it up?"
Yep, that's about it.
At the same time we see what Daemon, Lucivar and Jaenelle are doing to rescue them. Anne Bishop doesn't pull her punches. This is still a world where terrible things can and do happen.
I think, if you aren't a fan of the books you're going to come away thinking nothing much happened. But I guess it depends on why you're reading. There's something about the Black Jewels books that always leaves me wanting more. Just something about that world that fascinates and I look forward to the books to come.