Friday, March 13, 2009

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop

Dena Nehele is a land decimated by its past. Once it was ruled by corrupt Queens who were wiped out when the land was cleansed of tainted Blood. Now, only one hundred Warlord Princes stand—without a leader and without hope.

Theran Grayhaven is the last of his line, desperate to find the key that reveals a treasure great enough to restore Dena Nehele. But first he needs to find a Queen who remembers the Blood’s code of honor and lives by the Old Ways. The woman chosen to rule Dena Nehele, Lady Cassidy, is not beautiful and believes she is not strong. But she may be the only one able to convince bitter men to serve once again.

Every once in a while it is my pleasure to be reintroduced to a world of my childhood. To a time and people and a land filled with mystery and fantasy and the most ideal mixture of darkness and light. Anne Bishop is one of the few authors able to really bring me into this place. Her Dark Jewel Trilogy is one of THE most fantastic fantasy epics every written. The emotion that she writes with is unbelievable, and not something that I think a lot of authors are able to pull off. I do admit that this trilogy is her crowning jewel - most of her others books are decent, but just not up to the same standard. I can't imagine how hard it is to live up those three books. But the Shadow Queen is an admirable new addition to this family. Continuing on the tale of Janelle and the rest of the court of Ebon Askavi, we are introduced to a newer generation of Blood and Kindred, centering on Cassidy, Theran, and Gray. Cassidy is a hurt woman, betrayed by her first court, who finds her future in a land that she's never set foot in before. The complicated relationship that she has with Theran, a man dedicated to Dena Nehele but not to her, and Gray, Theran's cousin, who's pain filled past has stunted both his mental and emotional growth, is a wonderful thing to behold. Again Anne Bishop writes a moving tale of three people finding themselves after their world has gone mad, with the added benefit that she's connected it to the feelings she original stirred up in her first Dark Jewel books. Highly recommended.