The Black Jewels Trilogy established Anne Bishop as an author whose “sublime skill…blend[s] the darkly macabre with spine-tingling emotional intensity”(SF Site). Now, the saga continues in this collection that includes four more adventures of Jaenelle and her kindred…
Jaenelle is the most powerful Witch ever known, centuries of hopes and dreams made flesh at last. She has forged ties with three of the realm’s mightiest Blood warriors: Saetan, the High Lord of Hell, who trains Jaenelle in magic and adopts her as his daughter; Lucivar, the winged Eyrien warlord who becomes her protector; and the near-immortal Daemon, born to be Witch’s lover. Jaenelle has assumed her rightful place as Queen of the Darkness and restored order and peace to the realms, but at a terrible cost.
Collected here are the beguiling stories about the origin of the mystical Jewels, the forbidden passion between Lucivar and a simple hearth witch, the clash between Saetan and a Priestess, and the choice Jaenelle must make, between her magic and happiness with Daemon…
“She was young, healthy, stronger than she’d ever been. And she was in love with him. She’d fallen in love with a man who challenged the world to take him on, sometimes with laughing, boyish enthusiasm and other times as a warrior born and trained to kill. She could do this for him. Would do this for him.”
Weaver of Dreams
This was weird. I was very confused at first. Hell, I’m still confused! Set in the very, very distant past, long before even Saetan was born. It was very, very short. Despite all that, I actually liked it. It doesn’t add much to the world, but it was super interesting to see. It was weird.
The Prince of Ebon Rih
This was an amazingly cute novella. I loved it. It is during a downtime in the story, where nothing is important. Everyone is just figuring out their lives, or at least what their lives are going to be like now that Jaenelle is Queen. We get to see sides of Lucivar and Jaenelle that we never really got to see before because everything was so serious. And we got to see Marian at all since she wasn’t really much of a character in the trilogy.
I always like in novellas for author to focus on the daily life of the characters. I can probably count the number of novellas on one hand that actually do this. They tend to try and make a mini novel with the same format as a real one. This is the daily life of the characters novella, and I love Bishop dearly for writing it. I always love to just sit down and relax with the characters I know and love.
The spiritual successor to The Prince of Ebon Rih, but technically takes place way, way before that novella. The events in this novella are brought up in The Prince of Ebon Rih but weren’t detailed. Well, okay we already know it all goes wrong. We know how much of a Hekatah is. It was still horrifying to see all over again. What a bitch.
I enjoyed this novella, but it felt a bit light. Overall, it was worth the read though. I really enjoyed Saetan playing the politics game. I also really enjoyed seeing him before time has worn him down and all he wants is to be able to serve his Queen. Good novella.
I really liked this novella. Just like The Prince of Ebon Rih, it is more slice-of-life than anything big that is happening. I love slice-of-life novellas so much, like I said before. Like Heir to the Shadows, this is a story of healing. Jaenelle is healing from her injuries and from her own flagging self confidence. Daemon is healing from almost losing his reason for living. The rest of her family is healing from nearly losing Jaenelle.
I dislike that Bishop added the jealous other woman trying to but in between them, but I suppose I understand it. I figure she thought most people wouldn’t want to read the story without that part because it wouldn’t have been interesting? However, I find the opposite to be the case, the jealous woman parts were boring and unnecessary and I wish they hadn’t been included. I really just loved the slice-of-life parts.
The best part of this novella was Bishop’s playing on the “Dreams Made Flesh” aspect of the story. From the trilogy, we know Jaenelle is the culmination of millions of dreams made into flesh. Bishop plays on this idea in this novella and I.Fucking.Love.It. Holy shit.
(If you’re looking for more after this, The Price, contained in Powers of Detection: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy, follows shortly after the events in Kaeleer’s Heart and follows the character Surreal.)
To read more reviews for this series, check out the The Black Jewels series page!