Amazon Blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to the world of her Black Jewels Trilogy with a prequel that follows a man who is determined to rebel against the course set before him…

Jared is a Red-Jeweled Warlord bound as a pleasure slave by the Ring of Obedience. After suffering nine years of torment as a slave, he murdered his owner and escaped—only to be caught and sold into slavery once again.

Purchased by a notorious queen, Jared fears he will share the mysterious fate of her other slaves—never to be seen again—and so prepares himself for death. But the Gray Lady may not be what she seems and Jared soon faces a difficult decision: his freedom, or his honor…



“You’re a virgin. Hell’s fire, Mother Night, and may the Darkness be merciful, you’re a virgin.”
Still clutching the coat, she eyed him warily. “There’s no reason to get hysterical. It’s not contagious.”


I went into this book knowing this was a prequel novel so I went in prepared. However, I was still incredibly disappointed with this book. Sure, it was because it was a prequel and wasn’t really connected with the series I came to love. But, it ran deeper than that. There just wasn’t a lot that happened during this book.

The book is entirely one really long journey across a few realms where things keep happening both through their faults and because they are being chased. That is it, basically. It was incredibly dull. The action events are only there to break up Jared’s inner monologue of whining, bitching, and mistrust. Without the action bits, it wouldn’t have been much of a book, but they just felt so forced every time anything happened.

To be fair to Jared, it isn’t all whining. Sure, he had a rough life for the last 9 years (though to be fair, he did set himself up for it, though he was basically a kid when he did it, so someone should have taught him better). The mistrust doesn’t go away until the last very little part of the book though. I wouldn’t want a character like him to go from where he was to perfectly alright too fast, but I wouldn’t want it to go on too long either. I think it went on just a little too long since I got very bored with it.

The romance was not quite there either. Coming off the high of Jaenelle and Daemon, I felt like Jared and Lia just fell a bit flat. At least in this book Spoiler: we get to see the first time they had sex in scene, unlike with Jaenelle and Daemon which crushed my heart at the time. Overall, the romance just felt a little too easy, too destined, there wasn’t enough work to make them work as a couple.

I know Anne Bishop likes to include the villain perspective in her books. This one just did not feel like it worked. It wasn’t the villain, it was the villain’s lapdog, someone who is forced to help her but likes to hurt others, too. I just didn’t feel like it added anything into this book. The villain’s lapdog’s scenes were very short, and basically just told you what was going to happen in the next chapter. It didn’t add any suspense or anything, just fell flat.

One last thing, I really didn’t much care for the partial rewrite of history just to include Daemon in this. I know in the trilogy it said he had a friend working with the Grey Queen. He was just include in this book way, way too much for it to be believable for me. It just doesn’t make sense at all.

The world was there, this is the world she made in the trilogy. It was the connection the characters and the plot that fell flat.

To read more reviews for this series, check out the The Black Jewels series page!