The first book in The Black Jewels trilogy and now to be released on Kindle internationally. This is a classic piece of fantasy writing by Anne Bishop and it's an absolute joy to read such unique world building. This is unashamedly a journey into a world of imagination unlike any other that you will take. So be prepared to feel both challenged and revolted by all the machinations you are about to encounter.
An ancient prophecy foretells of a Witch who will appear and unite the three realms and free them all from tyranny. It's a land that's ruled by blood and magic and controlled by Queens who expect undying servitude. The Witch will be the ultimate embodiment of magic.
Saetan is guardian over the Hell realm and has learned of a young girl, Jaenelle. She's still a child, but has the ability to traverse all the realms. He's determined to teach her but she's slippery and refuses to share her secrets with him. Jaenelle is from Terreille and suffers greatly at the hands of her family. They believe she is of unsound mind and emotionally scarred. At times Jaenelle struggles to even trust herself and almost believes what she sees is just her imagination. Institutionalized, she is at the mercy of those who would do her harm and she sees no way to escape her fate.
Saetan has two estranged sons, Lucivar and Daemon, but time and the taint that's spreading throughout the lands has caused them all unmitigated pain. Both Daemon and Lucivar are enslaved by evil power hungry Queens. When Daemon feels the pull of Jaenelle's blood magic, it's finally clear Witch has arrived! Jaenelle's considerable powers are not yet fully honed and she will need protecting from those who seek to control her power. Jaenelle is still a child, but she will face danger and depravity before her destiny is realised.
This is a very different type of book for me as it's pure fantasy rather than the urban fantasy world that Ms Bishop has recently ventured into. This is not a pretty read and aspects of it are truly vile! Males are violated and even castrated. Although not erotic, there are strong sexual aspects to this story.
There is a lot to remember as the author introduces quite a few characters. It's an original idea to connect magical powers with gem stones. It's a richly drawn world that just pulls the reader in. At times it's hard to see how the heroine, Jaenelle, can ever overcome her circumstances and take her rightful place, but that's where the three main male characters step up.
I loved the almost paternal feelings displayed by Saetan and the honorable actions of Lucivar. The area some readers might struggle with is the attraction shown by Daemon for what is essentially, a child! I thought the author portrayed Jaenelle as an old soul and I could believe time would bring the couple together. Many societies see nothing wrong with young females finding themselves in relationships. It's important to remember, this is a story set in a brutal and deadly world.
Daughter of the Blood charts the beginning of the character's journey and it's a very complex storyline Ms Bishop weaves. This is probably the darkest fantasy I have encountered. It's populated by those who only seek power and will do anything to achieve it. Political intrigue is rife within the pages but more disturbingly so, is the brutality.
A book I didn't want to put down and yet curiously at times I didn't want to read it. The fact that I had to finish it is telling, I think. An amazing piece of work and thought provoking too!
The pricing at Amazon is $5.99 for the Kindle version and $7.19 for the paperback. At Barnes and Noble, the Nook and paperback editions are both $7.99