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3.9 out of 5 stars13
3.9 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
In "Tangled Webs" Jaenelle and Marian are immersed in the creation of a "spooky house", a project intended to educate the local Landens and amuse those of the Blood. Yet someone else is rather aggravated by this idea, and in fact concocts their own haunted house with the plan to snare and kill the powerful SaDiablo family. When Surreal and Prince Rainier find themselves trapped in this house trying to protect a group of children from demon dead attacks and booby traps they are unable to use their Craft, as each time they call upon the power of their jewels they reduce their avenues of escape.

It's pretty clear from the beginning who the bad guy is in this book, and unfortunately raised away from the Blood, he has no idea who he is dealing with. Disappointed only Rainier and Surreal responded to his invitation, he is in total ignorance of the depths of power and ruthlessness Surreal's family and friends will act with to ensure her safety. Whilst Jaenelle weaves her own spells and Sadi begins his own dance of retribution, Lucivar enters the house close to the killing edge. The nasty beasties inside the house don't stand a chance.

AB's "Tangled Webs" is as flawlessly written as her wonderful "Black Jewels" trilogy, and again contains the exquisite savagery, loving fussiness and subtle humour expected in lead characters Jaenelle, Daemon Sadi, Saetan and Lucivar. There are (as always in AB's books) some intensely poignant moments, yet these are never at odds with the almost breathtaking viciousness the protagonists display at times. It's a wonder AB manages to keep these characters likeable considering some of their more brutal methods of ensuring a debt is fully paid.

I'm so pleased this author has written another full length book to feature the Realms of the Blood; showing that although the final battle was won in "Queen of the Darkness", the main characters still face a variety of challenges. Lastly this book also contains an extremely short story "By the Time the Witchblood Blooms". Set during Surreal's time as an assassin; her victim leaves her unaware that his imminent death is certainly fitting for his crime.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 9 March 2009
I stayed up until almost 5am last night finishing this book, but I'm still somewhat undecided quite what I think to it. It's certainly okay, and I did enjoy reading it, but now that it's done with, the impression I'm left with is pretty "meh". Altogether, it's a very forgetable book - enjoyable whilst it lasts, not worth much afterwards, in my opinion.

Tangled Webs felt like a book written simply to indulge the authors idea to play around with the characters once more. The plot itself is very weak and simple, and whilst the characters are as wonderful as ever, there seems to be a frequent usage of sex that I don't recall being so heavy an influence in the other books. The sheer amount of sex bothered me to such a point that at times I found myself thinking "Not again" and hoping the characters would just hurry up and get on with moving the plot forwards.

The nice thing about Tangled Webs is that it's an easy book to read. The pages passed by very quickly, and I was certainly absorbed by the characters, if nothing else. Though the spooky house didn't have the effect on me that I think the author would have liked. What really bothered me was the original premise of this story. Jannelle's idea to create a spooky house was fun for about a chapter at the most, but then I felt the whole story felt a bit immature.

Ah well. Tangled Webs is still a fun read, and it certainly did pass the day pleasantly. I think it's a rather poor contribution to the Black Jewels series though, and I feel a bit letdown by that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 21 March 2008
Personally I enjoyed this very much and was glad I ordered it, although it did only take me a half day to read through as it is rather short. I think its a worthy addition to the black jewels books. There are some interesting tidbits about the family that make it worth reading for, and the house itself is somewhat disturbing, although as I dont read horror books generally I cant judge whether or not this has been well done from that point of view. The villain is suitably loathsome, and the main characters as likeable as ever. All in all, I enjoyed this - although I think I would only give it 4.5 stars due to the length.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 April 2008
Another addictive addition to the Black Jewels 'triology'! Contains all the humour of the previous books, though I was slightly disappointed to find that this book focused more on Surreal, and less on the Daemon-Jaenelle and Lucivar-Marian relationships!

A novice to the ways of The Blood has created a scary house in order to trap most of the SaDiablo family, but only Surreal and Rainer turn up and get trapped in a house with a group of Landen children. The catch is that every time they use Craft to try to escape or fight off beings that have become part of the house, one of the few exits to the house is sealed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2008
I love the Black Jewels Trilogy and Dreams Made Flesh and when I heard there was to be a book with Surreal as more of a main character I couldn't wait! The book is entertaining (although rather short) and is written with Anne's usual humour but it wasn't as good as I expected. I was looking forward to a really good Surreal story but I think her potential was wasted - and if I read the word 'boyos' one more time I was going to scream!!
On saying that though, I did enjoy the story and I love Anne's writing but it could have been far more than what it was.
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on 14 December 2011
this is a really good book and like all Anne Bishops books well written and worth buying Surrel and Rainer get trapped in a dangerous Spooky house which was meant to kill as many of the SaDiablo family as possible but the creator of the spooky house is in for a few extra suprises that he never expected ^_^


but i would suggest getting the black jewels triolgy before getting this book so you can get a feel for the other characters in this books and know a little more about Surrels background

other books in the Black Jewels Trilogy and novels are as follows:-

Daughter of the Blood
Heir of the Shadows
Queen of the Darkness
Dreams Made Flesh
Tangled Webs
Invisible Ring
The Shadow Queen
Shaladors Lady
Twilights Dawn
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on 29 July 2012
I'd ummed and erred over ordering this book, as I am such a big fan of Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series, but there were a number of negative reviews. Eventually I caved and downloaded the thing, but found the premise implausible and disappointing.

It's great to see favourite characters (Lucivar, Surreal, etc) paraded out again, but this work really does not stand up to the quality of the rest of the series, and I would sadly caution against ordering it.

Having said that, the next set of books (Shalador's Lady, Shadow Queen) are great, so I'd recommend diving into those if you haven't already.
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on 22 May 2009
An enjoyable read, if not quite in the same league as the black jewels trilogy. This is a stand alone book that is set after the first 3 books with the same characters. You should read the trilogy first though as alot of it wouldn't make sense.
It was nice to find out what was happening with the characters, but is didn't live up to the others, would still recommend it as a quick, easy and enjoyable read if you liked the Black jewels.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2009
I really really really wanted to like this book. I have read the Black Jewels trilogy more times than I can count and even broke my self imposed ban on short stories to read (and enjoy) "Dreams Made Flesh", so I was very excited to hear there was a new book in this universe. Yeah, I had read the reviews slating "Tangled Webs", but I though - so what? I'm a real fan, I love the dark humour, the subtle cruelty and unthinking magic - this will be a keeper. Cue dashed dreams and heartbreak. This is not in the same league as Anne's other books.

I know that you will read this review and still buy the book hoping that the good will outweigh the bad. And to be honest I don't blame you - I did the same and will do it again because I couldn't NOT read the book. But instead I urge you - look in the library, borrow it from a friend, get it second hand, or at least buy it in paperback rather than a hard cover shipped from the US - do something to soften the blow.

This is a silly book, about a silly spooky house and is completely devoid of the dark magic instilled in the Black Jewels. Go and buy the latest Patricia Briggs or Jim Butcher novel and spare yourself the heartbreak of a good series gone bad.
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