Queen of the Darkness by Anne Bishop

Rating: 3 stars

Series: The Black Jewels #3

A lot of the issues I had with this were the same ones I had with Heir to the Shadows. Hekatah and Dorothea’s plans to overthrow Janelle were not well thought out. They were depicted as depraved, vile women, but it wasn’t shown well with their actions. Their plans and schemes did not indicate their ruthlessness to the extent that I would have expected.

Too much time was spent on social niceties. Everyone was learning how to properly interact with the other members of the court. It made the characters seem immature especially when taking into account their age. None of the characters could figure out how to deal with others on their own; they always had to go to others for advice.

On the upside, Daemon was back! He had some issues to sort out after being in the Twisted Kingdom. He was the darkest character in the whole series. What made him great was that he could do bad things but still held to his own code of ethics, so he never hurt people that didn’t deserve it. Ultimately he did the right things but didn’t use the best methods to do it. He strongly reminded me of Damon on The Vampire Diaries in the sense that he was good but misunderstood and often perceived as bad. Except for Janelle, all of the other characters treated him poorly or didn’t trust him when there wasn’t a valid reason for it.

Queen of the Darkness was an improvement over Heir to the Shadows, but still paled in comparison to Daughter of the Blood. All of the major plotlines had a satisfactory conclusion, but the book ended rather abruptly. It seemed like there should have been another chapter or an epilogue to explain a few things.

Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop

Rating: 2 1/2 stars

Series: The Black Jewels #2

Very little happened to move the plot forward. Anne Bishop’s books aren’t action packed, and I don’t expect them to be. I do expect something interesting to happen. Most of this book rehashed the same problems from Daughter of the Blood. This covered Jaenelle’s teenage years, which were relatively uneventful. She recovered from the traumatic events in the prior book, hung out with her friends, and learned how to hone her craft. *yawn*

Hekatah hatched a few desperate attempts evil plans to destroy Jaenelle’s chances of coming into power as a queen. Hekatah was spoken about as if she was some extremely deceptive, manipulative person. Her actions indicated that she attempted to be those things but failed. Her plans were weak and desperate nor did they involve much intelligence or plotting. She doesn’t stand a chance. Frankly I wish she’d been killed off because I don’t want to waste my time reading about her since she is insignificant.

Lucivar’s role in the first book was small. His role in this was much bigger, but he went from being interesting and intelligent to a fool. He followed Jaenelle around like a lost puppy, and I desperately wish she would have told him to get lost. Also he is one or two thousand years old but he acted like a teenager.

The majority of this was told from Saetan’s perspective since Jaenelle was with him most of the time. He is the lamest character ever! Seriously grow some fucking balls Saetan! He is long lived and the High Lord of Hell, so stop acting like some driveling idiot! Saetan should be a bad ass, but instead he is the kindest, fairest ruler of them all. He is so intent on following the rules that he sacrificed his two sons to horrible fates all because of protocol.

Instead of being a BAMF all Saetan did was think about Jaenelle to the degree that he is blind to anything else going on in his realm including threats to Jaenelle. He is a horrible leader. He would be a loyal friend but is way too weak to be an effective leader. He’s also a shitty father to Jaenelle. He took great care of her but didn’t give her any direction. When she wanted something to be a certain way, she got her way.

Daemon was barely in this, and he is the most interesting character in the series by far. His absence deeply impacted the book and not in a good way. There was a point to it, but so many other inconsequential things didn’t need to be focused on in his abscence. He sacrificed almost everything for Jaenelle in Daughter of the Blood, but did anybody give a shit about what he sacrificed for her? Nooooooo. He’s expendable, but apparently Jaenelle is not. She was the only one that cared about him at all, but she failed to show the outrage I wanted to see from her.

I’m still going to read the next one, but my expectations aren’t as high as they were when I started this book.

Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Series: The Black Jewels #1

I enjoyed this immensely. It’s a very dark world. For the most part women who are witches rule this world. Queens are in charge. The men are powerful but have to be loyal to their queen. When the men don’t choose to be loyal, the queens use a special torture device called the ring of obedience to coerce the men into doing their bidding. The queens that have been in charge for hundreds of years are bad. Their only concerns are their own self serving purposes. There is a prophecy that a good queen will come along and replace the bad ones.

The world building was okay. Enough info was given that I understood what was going on. Sometimes things would be mentioned but I would be left wanting to know more. It was briefly mentioned that witches were supposed to be connected with the Earth but hadn’t been for a long time. There was no explanation about why that was a bad thing. How did that really affect the Earth and the witches? That type of thing happened a few times. It would have bothered me more if the world building had been incomplete to the degree that nothing in the story made sense.

This is told from multiple points of view. Some were more interesting than others. My favorite character was Daemon. He had a side which he didn’t show often where he could be sweet and caring. Other times he was an incredible bad ass. He could be extremely cruel, but he was only being cruel to people who treated others poorly.

Although this book had its faults, I would highly recommend it. It’s not an action packed book. Much of it is just conversations between various characters. Also anyone who reads this has to be okay with reading about sexual abuse. There are not a lot of sex scenes but a lot of abusive sex and sometimes incest is alluded to.

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

Rating: 4 stars

Series: Lightbringer #3

 

 

I have mixed feelings about this one. Once I got about 40% in I couldn’t put it down because I was dying to know what happened next. The tone of this was much more somber. All of the characters were grappling with issues. No matter how young or old all of them were going through phases of self discovery. In their own separate ways everyone was trying to figure out who they believed in and who to serve.

Parts of this were depressing. Everyone was broken in their own way. Karris was still grappling with giving up her child. Gavin lost his magic and frankly wasn’t very special without it. Teia hadn’t overcome her past as a slave. Kip was on his own a lot and dealing with fitting in.

Team work wasn’t a big part of this. Most of the characters had to deal with their issues on their own. It was necessary for their growth, but it was lacking something without the strong connections between them.

I fucking hate Andross Guile! Is there any way to beat that guy? He knows almost everything, so there is no escaping him.

Part of me was glad that Gavin went through his loss of magic. He had done bad things, but at the heart of it he is good. He needed to be humbled. He thought too highly of himself and relied on his magic too much. But what happened to him physically and where he ended up was more punishment than he deserved.

Kip WTF!? My admiration for him grew greatly over the course of this book until the last 15%. He had plenty of time to back out of his choice but didn’t. I don’t understand why he went through with it. I hope it will be undone since he didn’t do everything required for the, ah, bargain to be sealed if YKWIM. I do admire one of the choices he made at the end though, but if he was going to do that why go through with the other thing? Sooooo frustrating!

The women were the heroes of this story. Teia, Karris, and Liv all had similar problems. None of them knew where they fit in or who they should be loyal to. In their own ways they were backed into corners which limited their options. In the end they made much better decisions than the men.

Some parts of this were boring. There wasn’t anywhere near as much action as in the other two books. The parts focused on Gavin and Karris were dull. They rehashed a lot of issues from the previous books without gaining a lot from it. Their portions of the book could have been shorter. The parts from Liv’s POV were brief, but I still don’t know what to think about her. She’s not bad enough to hate, but OTOH isn’t likable enough to care for. This was my least favorite so far.

 

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Series: Lightbringer #2

Gavin Guile is losing his powers. This is happening at a particularly bad time in his life. He is trying to prevent the seven satrapies from going to war. The Color Prince continually causes him problems. The old gods are reemerging, and they’re not easy to stop. On top of all of that, he has various family and relationship issues to deal with. Lastly, he is keeping a few big secrets from a lot of people.

This was much better than The Black Prism. The writing was more cohesive. The storyline had a better flow. It was action packed but that wasn’t what sucked me into the story. It was the character development that made me want to keep reading more. The Black Prism only touched the surface about who these characters are and what they are capable of.

Gavin is a complex character. I love some things about him and hate others. He truly has good intentions behind everything he does, but sometimes the way he handles things has devastating effects, not just to himself but others as well. It’s admirable that he does what he thinks is right even when others don’t agree with him. He deserves praise for the good that he does, but he lets it go to his head sometimes. He’s got a bit of a ego.

The Color Prince is despicable yet I can’t hate him. There is logic to his madness that I can’t argue with. I think he could prove his point in a better way. He is a psychopath, so the greater good doesn’t factor into his plans. I understand what he is trying to do, and if he does it the world would be drastically changed. But would it really be better or simply chaotic in a new way?

Kip is hands down my favorite character in the series. He stumbles through life while trying to figure out what he’s doing along the way. He’s special but not all at the same time. He’s still the fat kid with low self esteem, but he is brave and does what is right when he needs to. That fact that he’s humble about his great accomplishments is appealing. Kip is easily the most relatable character. I love it that he doesn’t have any great aspirations. It’s not that he intends to be a failure because he doesn’t, but he doesn’t expect to be the next prism or a satrapy or to be admired by all. All he really wants is to be loved, which seems to be the one thing he doesn’t have.

The moral of this story is don’t trust anyone. This includes family. There was a lot of backstabbing and lies. Barely any of the characters really trustworthy and won’t change their allegiance or stance when the situation changes. The cliffhanger at the end will definitely change things. I can’t wait to get started on the next one!

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

Rating: 4 stars

Series: Lightbringer #1

Normally straight up fantasies are not my thing, but this turned out to be really good. The beginning was slow moving. A considerable amount of time was spent focusing on the world building. The magic was unique and complex, so a lengthy explanation was necessary. After a while it felt like Weeks was beating the dead horse with all of the explanations. Part of the reason the beginning was slow was because all of the characters were being introduced, and it took a little while before attachments were made to them.

Around 45% I was hooked. There was a lot of action. The characters histories were being revealed, and it made them easier to relate to. Particularly with Karris her past made her likable. Before that was known, she was cold without any apparent good reason for it. At first Kip was somewhat annoying because he was such a bumbling idiot. He began to find his inner strength and sense of self preservation, which made him more appealing. A few people were keeping secrets. The impact of those secrets won’t be known for a while.

The premise of this story is based on a huge secret of Gavin’s. It is intriguing, and I’m really curious to see what will happen because of all of his lies. It is hard to believe that more people haven’t figured out his secret. To do what he has done and do it well is extremely difficult and complicated. It’s impossible to pull off flawlessly. I’m willing to let the implausibility of Gavin’s actions go just because it has created a great story.