Amazon Blurb:

POWER HAS A PRICE. SO DOES LOVE.

Return to the dark, sensual, and powerful world of the Black Jewels in this long-awaited new story in the New York Times bestselling fantasy saga.

After a youthful mistake, Lord Dillon’s reputation is in tatters, leaving him vulnerable to aristo girls looking for a bit of fun. To restore his reputation and honor, he needs a handfast–a one-year contract of marriage. He sets his sights on Jillian, a young Eyrien witch from Ebon Rih, who he believes has only a flimsy connection to the noble society that spurned him. Unfortunately for Dillon, he is unaware of Jillian’s true connections until he finds himself facing Lucivar Yaslana, the volatile Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih.

Meanwhile, Surreal SaDiablo’s marriage is crumbling. Daemon Sadi, the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, recognizes there is something wrong between him and Surreal, but he doesn’t realize that his attempt to suppress his own nature in order to spare his wife is causing his mind to splinter. To save Daemon, and the Realm of Kaeleer if he breaks, help must be sought from someone who no longer exists in any of the Realms–the only Queen powerful enough to control Daemon Sadi. The Queen known as Witch.

As Jillian rides the winds of first love with Dillon, Daemon and Surreal struggle to survive the wounds of a marriage turned stormy–and Lucivar has to find a way to keep everyone in his family safe…even from each other.

Quote:

The Sadist had looked at him out of pain-glazed eyes, but the headaches could be a sign of something else. There had been no sign of trouble after Witch had repaired the shattered chalice a second time, no sign that something that had been healed might be breaking again.
Until now.

Review:

The Queen’s Bargain was written for one reason and one reason only: to make me sob uncontrollably for 6 hours straight.

I’m not kidding, I started crying at 4% into the book, and I just didn’t stop. I had to set the book down a few times because it felt like my head was going to explode under the pressure of crying without much more water to give for the situation.

Let me explain: The previous book, Twilight’s Dawn, broke me. Specifically the final novella. Completely and utterly broke me. For an entire year after I read it, I would randomly pause whatever I was doing and just sit there, trying not to cry my eyes out. So it was almost a foregone conclusion that The Queen’s Bargain was going to make me cry, despite having read Twilight’s Dawn nearly two entire years ago. I just didn’t expect it to go on the whole book. I wasn’t even certain I was going to read this because I knew how much it would hurt me.

Boy did The Queen’s Bargain not disappoint.

This book opens up maybe about 30 years after the end of Twilight’s Dawn. I’m not exactly certain because long lived races. Which means that it’s probably closer to 3 years if they were human. So a lot has changed but not a lot has changed at the same time.

If I’m being honest, this would be a throwaway book in the series. If this series didn’t have enough of those already. I have had a rocky relationship with The Black Jewels series, with books that add nothing to the story at best, and are holiday specials at worst. However The Queen’s Bargain was good and I recommend reading it if you loved the series.

The Queens Bargain was a setup for more. I definitely expect more out of this series in the years to come, and I’m actually looking forward to it. And I knew the possibility of that before reading this and I didn’t think positively of continuing the series. I didn’t see the point in starting this back up again. Now I do. Now I just want more.

There is a lot of drama in this book, and it doesn’t really become clear what the purpose of it all is until quite later on. Daemon and Surreal are going through marital problems, and Daemon is experiencing some personal problems. Their daughter, Jaenelle, knows she is “special” and is acting spoilt and Daemon has to keep her in check. And other forces are working on Daemon so that he isn’t good, mentally. In fact, most of the book is everyone trying to juggle keeping Daemon together without him knowing about it, and Daemon trying to deal with the problem on his own.

There is also some more. A teenage love that unearths a problem. The darkness is encroaching again, like the one Witch fought previously. And things have to be taken care of. And potentially more is coming in the future.

This is a bit of a rambling review. The jist is that I loved this a lot more than I thought I was, and I’m looking forward to more. Also I sobbed the entire time, but not really for reasons in the book but because of the implications for before and after.

ARC received from Berkley Publishing Group on Netgalley. This did not affect my review.