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WARNING FOR RAPE AND PAEDOPHILIA. Good book but not excellent.
on 23 June 2017
I bought Daughter of the Blood because it is so often recommended in the same breath as Sharon Shinn and Jaqueline Carey, both of whom leave me breathless.
This is a good book, but it is not an excellent book. The world building is interesting and the system of power (based on the “jewel” that a person receives at birth, and then the “jewel” that they later receive at a later date) is fascinating – really this is one of this book’s great strengths.
The premise is solid, if somewhat cliché (but who doesn’t enjoy a bit of cliché in their fantasy? Clichés are often popular for a reason). This is a matriarchal land, in which a system that used to function as a meritocracy has been sabotaged and corrupted by a power-mongering Queen who has systematically eradicated any who might stand against her and continues to purge herself of potential rivals through destroying any young girls born to powerful jewels. The true Queen (or Witch, as she’s called) is prophesised to appear and set things to right.
One of the main problems that stopped me from enjoying this book as much as I might have is that the Witch is not a character that the reader can really empathise with at all. I hesitate to say it, but she is at times reminiscent of a Mary Sue: exceedingly powerful, infinitely wise whilst still a child, and just immediately able to complete feats of great power with little to no instruction.
I would also warn any potential readers that this is a book that has instance upon instance of rape and of paedophilia. In fact, much of the plot is based upon these two things as it is the means by which the evil Queen breaks the “jewels” of potential characters. Please do bear that in mind. It also includes torture of male genitalia.
Overall, it’s the sort of book that pulls you through whilst reading it, but once finished I was undecided as to whether I wanted to buy the sequel.