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AB has done herself proud with "Twilight's Dawn" and remains an impressive writer in the world of dark fantasy. This book contains 4 novellas set in the Realms of the Blood and as always, it is beautifully written and heartbreakingly poignant in places. Expect smiles and giggles, but also have plenty of tissues close to hand as some of these stories are emotionally battering.

Winsol Gifts
Set after the events in "Tangled Webs" Surreal and Rainier are still healing physically from their ordeals but seem in no way to be healing emotionally. The whole family feature as Daemon is caught in the chaos of Jaenelle preparing for their first proper Winsol together yet Saetan begins his withdrawal from their lives. For a powerful, intelligent man he wrongly assumes Daemon, Jaenelle and Lucivar will let him slip quietly away.

This is a mix of whimsy and heartbreak as the more emotional moments are balanced by the antics of Daemonar and his growing excitement over Winsol. Even Daemon has a hard time handling his young nephew.

Shades of Honor
Set just before "The Shadow Queen" Surreal rises to the Killing Edge as she finds it difficult to deal with the deaths that haunt her and ex-lover Falonar acting like an idiot. As Falonar's mask slips and his true personality emerges, he strives to eliminate his greatest rival; Lucivar Yaslana.

Well for those readers that always wondered what happened to Falonar the truth is finally revealed. Lucivar may show some mercy on occasion, but his brother Daemon will leave no debt unpaid.

This short story is a real tear jerker as a likeable and familiar Queen is murdered and her sons go missing. Whilst Saetan deals with this new demon-dead Queen, Lucivar, Daemon, Jaenelle and Surreal trace the missing youngsters and hunt the rogue warlord responsible for the death of a dear friend.

This Queen's death is shocking, violent and will leave fans of this series with their jaws hanging down to their knees. I could almost hate AB for killing off this character but in her dark world just because you're dead doesn't mean your life has to end ;)

The High Lord's Daughter
"spoiler alert"
Sorry to mention this but it such an important part of this tale (and it is revealed in the dust-jacket) but the last story is set initially one year after Jaenelle's death. I always thought that AB would write something wonderful to eliminate the vastly different life expectancies of Jaenelle and Daemon but she does not; instead he has just 7 wonderful decades with the woman he loves.

The rest of the story spans another 3 decades or so, and if you find "Family" upsetting, then prepare to have your heart ripped out of your chest in "The High Lord's Daughter". Just thinking about this short tale makes me well up as an all time favourite character of mine becomes a whisper in the Darkness. Yet countering this loss is a bunch of new arrivals, including a special daughter born to some extraordinary parents.

This last story offers a lot of closure, and whilst I would love this series to continue, I don't think it could survive the loss of such important characters. That said a new generation of "Blood" books would be very entertaining judging by the personalities added to the SaDiablo family.
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on 5 March 2011
This is an interesting collection of four separate novellas set within the Black Jewels universe. It's definitely a book aimed at existing fans of the series - anyone new to this universe should not start with this book.

The first story, "Winsol Gifts", is a lovely story based around the SaDiablo family. It's mostly just about their normal lives rather than any particular major event - interesting to those of us that love the characters, but perhaps a curious way to start the book (though I suppose it's at the beginning only because it's chronologically the first story, set after the novel "Tangled Webs").

The second novella is "Shades of Honor", which also deals with some of the legacy of "Tangled Webs", as well as the story of what happens to Falonar. It's a fairly typical Black Jewels story, with breakdowns, prejudice and revenge.

"Family" comes third, and features an attack on Sylvia and her sons, ten years after the previous story. Her relationship with Saetan is bittersweet and the story did make me tear up once or twice.

Finally there is "The High Lord's Daughter", which is likely to provoke the greatest reaction from readers. It is set a fairly long time in the future, after the deaths of two major characters (including, sadly, my favourite). While it is tearjerking, the reader mourns and moves on with the surviving characters as a new romance springs up and new children are born, including one very special daughter. Because it is set so far in the future there is still a lot of potential for Bishop to write novels set while the two deceased characters were still alive, but I also find myself hoping that she writes more set in this future time.

It was as ever a gripping read - I began it yesterday evening and finished early this afternoon, putting it down only to go to bed! I hope that Bishop writes more novellas in the future because both this and her previous anthology, "Dreams Made Flesh", have allowed her to write excellent stories that really enhance upon her superbly crafted universe.
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on 1 March 2011
New readers to Bishop should not start with this book as the novellas deserve to be read within the context and knowledge of the series chronology so you can truly appreciate the gentle but tart humour and dark events that the characters wrestle with.

"Winsol Gifts" takes place after the events in "Tangled Webs". "Shades of Honor" takes place before the events in "The Shadow Queen". "Family" occurs ten years later and "The High Lord's Daughter" occurs after a main character's death. The interplay of protocol, power, status and human emotions (as always) help shape these novellas so that they explain events that previously been glossed over by references made during conversations between the characters in the books of the Dark Jewels series and show the development of the characters during the interim periods between novels and main story arcs.

I both love and hate this book as it's a brave author who will acknowledge within their worlds the reflective of nature's cycle by letting their characters age or die. While I love knowing what happens to each of the characters over the years, it is interesting Bishop decided to explore themes of loss and grief of popular main character(s) before readers have stopped demanding more books about them (I am not naming name(s) here as that would be a major spoiler)... It tugged on my heart strings and I STILL want more. Write more Ms Bishop, I haven't nearly had enough yet!

I am annoyed, however, by the previous reviewer who stated that it wasn't clear it was 4 short stories... That is what a novella is; a story longer than a short story but shorter than a novel and it states in the description this book contains novellas... To give the book three stars because they didn't know what a novella is and BEFORE they'd even READ the book is just ignorant as well as rude. Why bring its rating down based on this? Besides, if they'd bothered to look at Bishop's website, it's quite clear this is another collection of short stories and it even contains the extracts from some of the novellas...
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on 20 September 2011
I don't often write reviews but in this case I felt I had to respond to the negativity surrounding the fourth novella of this book, 'The High Lord's Daughter'. I will try to be spoiler free but I can't promise anything. Firstly I adored the bittersweet story as I felt it had a sense of realism which was endearing as unfortunately as much as we would like it otherwise, nature has rules and I think it was very brave and courageous of Anne Bishop to have written what was probably a difficult piece to write as well as read. I loved the story and I really felt the emotion of it (there were a few teary moments!). The Black Jewels trilogy is the first fantasy series I ever read, many years ago and it has stayed in my top 3 favourites despite some serious competition. I commend Anne Bishop on this story and for me, has provided the closure I hadn't realised I needed. Having said that, if any more Black Jewels novels are in the pipeline I will be more than ecstatic to read them!
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on 20 August 2012
"Twilight's Dawn" is Anne Bishop's second novella collection of stories set in the Black Jewels universe, the first one being "Dreams Made Flesh". I always await each new Bishop book with eagerness so when I finally got my hands on the paperback version I simply enjoyed. It was only on the second reading through, after I'd read the original trilogy yet again, that a few niggles were noticed.

In "Dreams Made Flesh" we were treated to the stories of how the spiders became the Weavers of Dreams after Dracca and Lorn passed their power on, how Lucivar met and married Marian, why the name of Zuulaman is no more than a myth and how Daemon and Janelle reconnected and renewed their love of each after the terrible unleashing of her power to cleanse the Realms. They're stories that fill in the background of the Black Jewels universe and those people we've come to love and "Twilight's Dawn" attempts to do the same. However, for me "Winsol Gifts" didn't really work in that context as I didn't feel it added much to the background of the main novels. "Family", the third of the stories was good, but I wanted to know a little more about the mysterious No Face and felt that would have made the story more satisfying.

I'm afraid on second reading I had a major problem with "Shades of Honor", the story of Surreal and Prince Falonar and, by extension with parts of "Queen of the Darkness". Much is made at the beginning of the latter mentioned novel that Janelle has the final say on who will be allowed to stay in Kaeleer and who won't, she can see the heart and soul of a person and judge accordingly. Yet in "Shades of Honor" it seems that Falonar has fooled Janelle and everyone else and only shows his true side when he's been living in Kaeleer for two years. Would Janelle have been taken in? For me the answer is no. So this story shouldn't be, nor should those parts of "Queen of the Darkness" that deal with Falonar.

I have mixed emotions regarding the last of the four novellas in "Twilight's Dawn." "The High Lord's Daughter" is both the right story and the wrong story for me. The rightness is the fact that Daemon does come to find happiness and love again after Janelle has passed away. The scene of Saetan's passing brings tears to my eyes yet is so right in the context of this universe. The wrongess is I feel this would have been better as a separate expanded novel in its own right. It's subtitled "A story that spans decades" and I think it would have been better with more buildup in Surreal and Daemon's relationship and more on little Janelle Saetien's early years. The withdrawal of all the Kindred also seemed out of character, given the 40-50 years of Kindred/human relationships that would have developed before Janelle passed away, even if they did return later in the story. For me this is a novel that should have been written in a few years' time with more depth.

Those are my views. They won't stop me from reading this collection a few more times.
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on 21 July 2013
I just adore Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series. They are very interesting and the characters grip you. The original 3 books dealt with some very dark crimes, but the characters just hold you until the end. This book is no exception.
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The last book in The Black Jewels series was to my surprise a collection of four stories. They weren't short and left me bittersweet and teary eyed.

Winsol Gifts acts as a warm up reacquainting us with Daemon, Jaenelle, Lucivar, Surreal and The High Lord as they noisily and happily celebrate Winsol together and apart. There is a bit of sadness in this story but mostly it's very positive.

Shades of Honor (is perhaps my favourite story) takes us back to Lucivar and Falonar's confrontation. And boy was I ever so glad to return to Lucivar's bloodthirsty brilliance! This story was magnificent, and I especially enjoyed its ending... Let's just say that pitiful bastard Falonar with his racial prejudice and horrible superiority got what he deserved in the end.

In Family the tone of the book turns even darker. Queen Sylvia and her sons are attacked, and she is gravely injured by a serial killer hunting Blood children in Little Terreille. It's up to Daemon and strangely enough his mother, Tersa, to catch the killer and exact a very brutal justice. All I can say is, no one messes with Tersa! Also, Saetan gets his happy ending after a fashion.

At last, by The High Lord's Daughter I was almost bawling my eyes out. *wails* Everyone dies! (well, not everyone, but enough characters I love do) It's a story of Daemon year after Jaenelle's death and him finding unexpected happiness. It's the longest story in the book because it describes quite a few years of Daemon's life. I was crying, and even thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. A bittersweet ending, but was it necessary? I'm not sure. I would have been happier without reading it. Probably.

I can't believe how invested I became in The Black Jewels and how much I wanted to stay in this world, peeps. Overall, an excellent instalment of the series. Highly recommended!
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on 8 May 2011
Having loved all the other books in this series i was eagerly awaiting this one, and was very excited to start reading it, however quite early on i felt that it just wasn't up to the same standard as any other Anne Bishop book (i've read everything she has writen) and by the end i was quite disapointed.
The relationships between the characters were too different to those in the previous books, and their personalities seemed to have changed, i felt that some of the interactions between them were just not believeable, it seemed a little strange to have got to know the characters so well over all the other books in the series, and then suddenly have them change into different people within the space of one book. It almost felt as if it had been writen by a different author, although i know it wasn't. So i wouldn't recommend this book, however if you have all the others it'd be a shame not to complete the series, but try not to be too disapointed by the stories.
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on 12 May 2011
I am an avid reader and somehow this feels like an ending this book is a collection of stories that we get hints of throuought the later black jewels novels if you know the realms well have tissues at the ready

hopefully this will not be annes last visit to the hall, i hold a secret hope the next generation will come to walk the realms with us but as a finale to the trilogy this was an emotional ride
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on 30 January 2012
Not the best Anne Bishop book I've read, but hope it won't be the last in the 'Black Jewels' series. I was warned about the ending and was gutted at the thought, but after reading I know that I'd still like more. The one thing that really disappointed me was the price of the kindle download. Almost double the intended paperback price!!! Now that's what I consider exploitation of loyal readers and I won't be downloading any more Anne Bishop books until Amazon and the publishers get it sorted out.
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