Author Spotlight – Anne Bishop
The Black Jewels Trilogy
I first came across Anne Bishop a couple years ago while browsing the for a big thick book to take on vacation. Fantasy fiction is my first love, and in that section I found The Black Jewels Trilogy. This 1204 page book is actually a compilation of the first three award winning books in the Black Jewels Series – Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, and Queen of the Darkness.
In this series, Ms. Bishop takes us to a mesmerizing world where long ago a group of people known as “the Blood” were given the power and responsibility to be guardians of their realms. As with any situation involving power, some use it wisely while others become corrupt. Unfortunately, this corruption is sweeping through the realms causing a taint that has the potential to bring an end to their way of life. For more than 50,000 years, this epic battle of good versus evil has been fought on the battlefields of Earth, Hell, and everywhere in between. The only hope for the Blood is a prophecy that states that one day Witch will be born. She will be a queen powerful enough to cleanse the taint and heal the wounds of the realms. The most powerful forces in history are lined up for the culmination of this battle. Will Witch arrive in time to save the World, or will she be destroyed before she is able to come into her power.
These stories are an example of high fantasy at its best. Ms. Bishop is able to transport the reader into a highly developed, complex world with ease. Her characters are 3-dimensional, filled with strengths, weaknesses, honor, and irreverence. She weaves a tale that draws you in and makes you eager to turn the page. I am very glad that I read these stories as part of this omnibus edition because it would have been torture to have to wait for the next book to come out to complete the story. I highly recommend this book, and I would encourage people to read this trilogy before moving on to any of the stand-alone books in the Realms of the Blood Series.
Dreams Made Flesh
The next instalment in the Black Jewels Series, Dreams Made Flesh, is actually a compilation of two novellas – “The Prince of Ebon Rih” and “Kaeleer’s Heart” and two short stories – “Weaver of Dreams” and “Zuulaman”.
Normally, a reader would have to turn to fan fiction to get the vignettes and background stories that are to short to be fleshed out into a novel in there own right, but in this book, Ms. Bishop artfully gives fans the extra tidbits they crave about the characters they’ve come to love from The Black Jewels Trilogy. She manages to combine fantasy, adventure, mystery, and sensual romance together in a way that touches all of your emotions. I found this book to be incredibly satisfying, and a wonderful book to just pick up and read when you don’t have enough time to get involved with a longer novel. This book should NOT be read before The Black Jewels Trilogy as it contains spoilers that could ruin some of the wonderful surprises in the earlier book.
The Invisible Ring
In The Invisible Ring, Jared, a Warlord who has been turned into a pleasure slave, is sold to a mysterious queen known as “the Grey Lady,” and finds himself thrust into the middle of a struggle between some of the most powerful forces in the Realms. Nothing is as it seems, and Jared must discover the truth in order to be able to save himself, the people he cares about, and his very world from being destroyed by evil.
Although The Invisible Ring was released after The Black Jewels Trilogy, this stand-alone novel is truly a prequel to the other stories. It gives insight into the complex world of the Realms of the Blood and supplies background about some of the pivotal characters and the reasons behind the war that threatens to tear the Realms apart. It is not quite up to the level of the original trilogy, but it is very enjoyable. It could be read at any point without spoiling any of the surprises in the rest of the series.
As the latest installment in the Black Jewels Series, Tangled Webs brings us back to the Realms of the Blood and continues the story while shifting the focus onto Surreal SaDiablo, a supporting character from the earlier books. It also includes a bonus short story, “By the Time the Witchblood Blooms”.
While thoroughly enjoyable, this book is not written as smoothly as any of Ms. Bishops earlier works in the Black Jewels Series. The premise of this book is shallower and less intricate than I expected given how high the bar was set by The Black Jewels Trilogy. That said, I was pulled in by this book and read it in a single day.
I would recommend this book to any fan of the Black Jewels Series, although it should NOT be read before The Black Jewels Trilogy or Dreams Made Flesh as it contains spoilers for pivotal plot elements in the earlier books.
The Landscapes of Ephemera
A man’s journey to find his humanity.
A woman’s journey to find her courage.
An ever-changing world that can be saved or destroyed by the human heart.
I think this publisher’s blurb from the jacket of the books sums up the feeling of these books very well. Sebastian follows an incubus who is struggling to find his way in a world that can literally be changed by a persons thought and intentions, while Belladonna tells the tale of a woman who must overcome the labels that have been placed on her, in order to do what must be done to save her world. Both of these books are beautifully written fantasies, filled with magic and sensual romance. These are fun, easy reads that leave you very satisfied.
Tir Alainn Trilogy
I have not yet read this World of the Fae series, but because of my experience with the other worlds that Ms. Bishop has created, they are definitely near the top of my To-Be-Read list. The reviews that I’ve read leave me to believe that once again, Ms. Bishop has woven tails of fantasy, adventure, and sensual romance taking place in a rich, well developed world.
If anyone has read these books and wants to give their review, please post a comment. I would love to hear other peoples’ opinions about the works of this impressive author!
While I was writing this, I was inspired by Kathleen’s Fun Writing Challenge. Check out my blog for a snippet of page 123 in Tangled Web – a Writitng Exercise.