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Anne Bishop

fantasy author Anne Bishop reviewsAnne Bishop won the William L. Crawford Memorial Fantasy Award for The Black Jewels Trilogy. Anne Bishop lives in upstate New York where she enjoys gardening, music, and writing dark, romantic stories. Read excerpts at Anne Bishop’s website.

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The Black Jewels Trilogy: Joy and pain, rage and celebration

THE BLACK JEWELS TRILOGY by Anne Bishop

Imagine a fairy-tale heroine. You know the type: beautiful, kind, able to charm all the beasties of the forest into eating out of her hand. On the astral plane, she even has a unicorn's horn. Now imagine that she has enough magical power to move mountains. (Literally.)

You might think this is a recipe for the worst Mary Sue in the history of literature, but in Black Jewels, it works. There's a reason Jaenelle is the way she is. One of her titles is "dreams made flesh," which means that Jaenelle is the embodiment of the desperate hopes of all the downtrodden people and animals in the realms of Terreille, Kaeleer, and Hell. She is impossibly powerful because she needs to be, and because she was created to be. It also works because Jaenelle is not the point-of-view character. The story is told through the eyes of the three men w... Read More

Tangled Webs: A glorified Halloween episode

Tangled Webs by Anne Bishop

Warning: This review will contain some spoilers.

The Black Jewels Trilogy was and is one of my very favorite guilty pleasures. Yet I've been avoiding Tangled Webs (what is tagged book six in what is now called The Black Jewels Series — don't even get me started on that) for some time. To explain why, I'll give you a quote from the publisher's blurb:

"The invitation is signed "Jaenelle Angelline," and it summons her family to an entertainment she had specially prepared. Surreal SaDiablo, former courtesan and assassin, arrives first. But when she enters the house, Surreal finds herself trapped in a living nightmare created by the tangled webs of Black Widow witches...and if she uses Craft to defend herself... Read More

The Shadow Queen: Still on my guilty pleasures list

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop

My last encounter with Anne Bishop’s BLACK JEWELS SERIES did not go well. Okay, that might be a bit of an understatement. But I suppose even my inner fangirl is a bit hard-pressed to let go sometimes, so I decided to give the series one last try.

The setup is somewhat different for The Shadow Queen. After suffering centuries of abuse and degradation under corrupt Queens, the territory of Dena Nehele is left without a Queen at all. Theran Greyhaven — the last remaining heir of Jared and Lia from The Invisible Ring — is determined to change that, but doesn’t quite know how. He calls in a favor from a powerful man who once knew his ancestors (sorry, fans, no points for guessing this one, it’s obvious) and manages to bring a Queen to his territory — but Cassidy, plain-faced, Rose Jeweled, ... Read More

Shalador’s Lady: Did Not Finish

Shalador’s Lady by Anne Bishop

Remember how, during my review (above) of The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop I said that if you haven’t read any of the series before now, you should just skip the review? Well, allow me to reiterate that sentiment for Shalador’s Lady. Because trust me, you will have no clue what’s going on here. THE BLACK JEWELS SERIES can usually be summed up much like anime: it’s complicated.

In The Shadow Queen we met Cassidy, a plain-faced Rose-Jeweled Queen who had recently lost her court to a younger, prettier model. We also met Theran Grayhaven, a Warlord Prince of Dena Nehele and descendant of Jared and Lia from The Invisible Ring. Desperate for help in rebuilding his territory, which was left shattered in the wake of the witch storm and the landen rebellio... Read More

The Pillars of the World: Not appealing

The Pillars of the World by Anne Bishop

I loved Anne Bishop's Black Jewels Trilogy so much. But it took me a long time to pick up The Pillars of the World, because it just didn't sound terribly appealing.

And it wasn't appealing in the least. The one character I did like was portrayed as a cold, possessive jerk by the end of the book. The mysterious Lucien is shunted aside for the "sweet" Neall who has about as much depth as a puddle. And Ari, as a heroine, is a joke. There was nothing to like about her at all.

The Fae storyline was tragically typical. They're arrogant and uncaring, so now their world is disappearing. Can't we have some Fae that aren't high and mighty? The only thing truly interesting about them was their positions which coincided with gods of ancient Greek and Roman myth, and their ability to... Read More

Sebastian: A romance novel with some fantasy concepts

Sebastian by Anne Bishop

It always saddens me when an author I thought was good turns out to be...well, not so good. I was willing to forget about Anne Bishop's previous trilogy (Tir Alainn) and go into Sebastian with her original Black Jewels Trilogy in mind.
This just was not a good book. It was not a fantasy novel, so much as a romance novel with some fantasy concepts. And they are interesting concepts, as Bishop's often are (although a bit confusing until you get far enough into the book to make the right connections). But she seems to have no idea how to truly utilize them. The balance between fantasy and romance is horribly off kilter, with romance winning out.

It's your typical soulmates-meet-each-other-and-fall-in-love-without-kn... Read More

Written in Red: Dullest protagonist ever

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Meg Corbyn has escaped from the man who’s been using her prophetic abilities for his own profit. Meg has never been in the outside world — she’s been institutionalized since she was a child — and she has no idea how to take care of herself. The only place where she might successfully hide from her owner is in the Courtyard of the Others, a race of dangerous shapeshifters who are much more animal than human. Meg applies for the Others’ job opening as a liaison to the humans. She has no skills, but she’s determined to prove herself worthy.

Though he has very little experience with humans, Meg’s new boss Simon Wolfgard (a wolf who transforms into a human, even though he hates being in that body) realizes there’s something different about Meg. She seems so innocent and naïve. When he and the rest of the Others discover that Meg is being hunted, they reverse their previous policy of not interfering in... Read More

Murder of Crows: Worse than the first book

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Meg Corbyn, a blood prophet, has finally found a place to belong — among the ferocious shapeshifters called the Others. They love and protect Meg from the man who still hunts her. Meg’s prophetic abilities seem to be getting stronger and she is able to foresee violent interactions between the humans and the Others. Meanwhile Monty, a cop, is trying to defuse tensions before war breaks out.

I didn’t much like Written in Red, the first book in Anne Bishop’s THE OTHERS series. As I explained in my review, Meg is one of the dullest people I’ve ever read about. The only thing that makes her interesting is her addiction to cutting herself, but this is so unpleasant that, rather than making me feel sympathetic for Meg, I just feel revolted. I also didn’t believe in Bishop’s world.

However, I picked u... Read More

Vision in Silver: Keeps readers guessing

Editor’s note: We thank Sarah Chorn of Bookworm Blues for contributing this review to our site. Kat did not like the first two books, Written in Red and Murder of Crows, but the series is extremely popular, so we are pleased to have Sarah’s opinion of the third book, Vision in Silver.

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

Each installment of Anne Bishop’s THE OTHERS series seems to only make me a bigger fan.

Before you read Vision in Silver, I should say that it is absolutely necessary for you to read the previous two books, Read More

Wild Country: Did Not Finish

Wild Country by Anne Bishop

Wild Country (2019) is the seventh book in Anne Bishop’s series THE OTHERS and, also, the second book in her THE WORLD OF THE OTHERS series.

In Bishop’s fictional universe, the world is made up of humans — who, near as I can tell, are mostly descended from white Europeans — and the “terra indigene,” also called The Others, monstrous creatures with the outward appearance of human beings and who are, apparently, the indigenous peoples of the American continents, Africa, etc. There are shapeshifters who can shift from, say, an eagle or wolf into a human body, and Sanguinati, a cabal of blood-suckers who specialize in legal and financial matters. (It was at these realizations that I decided this was not the book or series for me, and in checking around onl... Read More

Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears: Excellent anthology despite my twisted gut

Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (eds.)

Ruby Slippers, Golden Tearsis the third in the series of fairy tale anthologies edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. It’s a very good collection; in quality it’s probably equal to its immediate predecessor, Black Thorn, White Rose, though I didn’t personally like it as much for reasons I’ll elaborate below.

My favorite of the stories is Ellen Steiber’s stunning novella “The Fox Wife.” Set in nineteenth-century Japan, it concerns a domineering husband and his young wife who shows signs of becoming a kitsune, a fox shapeshifter.

Other favorites include “The Beast,” by Tanith Lee, and the poem “The White Road,” by Read More