For years the Shalador people suffered the cruelties of the corrupt Queens who ruled them, forbidding their traditions, punishing those who dared show defiance, and forcing many more into hiding. Now that their land has been cleansed of tainted Blood, the Rose-Jeweled Queen, Lady Cassidy, makes it her duty to restore it and prove her ability to rule.
But even if Lady Cassidy succeeds, other dangers await. For the Black Widows see visions within their tangled webs that something is coming that will change the land-and Lady Cassidy-forever…[Summary from B&N]
I’ve said many times before that I love Anne Bishop’s books and the world and characters she has created in her Black Jewels series. I’ve said it, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to inject the *love* I feel into the statement. Because it’s an unreasonable love, in a the-heart-wants-what-the-heart-wants kind of way; Bishop can do no wrong by me because my heart very much wants her books. So I’m going to take a moment and risk being repetitive and say: Reading a Black Jewels book is like coming home for me. For such a vicious world, I always feel calm, content, happy even when I’m there. And I miss it terribly when I turn the last page, knowing that I’m going to have to wait a year, maybe more, to catch up with the characters again. And the day Ms. Bishop decides their stories are done? Please, no one come near me. I’ll be inconsolable.
Now that I’ve nicely set-up my complete and utter bias, the review. I’ll try to be objective, really, I will, but don’t hold it against me if I fail. Alright?
So, Shaldador’s Lady takes up where The Shadow Queen left off. Theran is as convinced as ever that Cassidy is not right for Dena Nehele, despite the fact that her entire court, his servants, and the majority of the landen in the province adore her. He acts blindly, he’s arrogant and hurtful, and remarkably I felt bad for him in this novel. (Just a little bit, and only towards the end, but even so.) Cassidy’s court hasn’t softened towards him whatsoever; the crux of the conflict stems from how to deal with his obstinacy and Cassidy’s fears while maintaining a very tenuous peace with Blood and landen alike.
What I Loved: Gray’s growing friendship with Lucivar, Daemon and Saetan, and the fact that he draws a very definite line in the sand with Theran; Khollie and the rest of the scelties; a certain scene between Lucivar and Daemon (which cannot be named for its spoiler potential); Ranon and his “my heart is too full for words” moment; and I could keep going. But…
Now for the objective part. Was Shalador’s Lady the best Black Jewels book? No. It lost a great deal of the original trilogy’s threat. I was expecting things to get a bit violent, or at the very least physical, and was surprised by the path the resolution took. Not that it was bad, per se, but an enraged Lucivar is a sight to behold. (And Daemon, too. And Saetan. And I kind of wanted to see Gray rise to that challenge. Or even Ranon. And, okay, maybe I wanted to see Cassidy deck someone.) I also felt that this story went light on the world-building that makes the Black Jewels books so phenomenal. But that’s only because I really want to dig in deep, to wrap it around myself as I’m reading. (Like I said, the heart wants…)
Do you all have books or series that when someone speaks negatively about them you feel a pang of hurt? Or your stomach kind of dips? I have a few of them, and the Black Jewels books – all of them – make the list. I want to shout from a rooftop “Read these books!” but I’m too afraid to put them out there because I want everyone to love them as much as I do. And that’s just not reasonable. All I can say is, I can’t help it. Yes, my love is definitely beyond reason.