I don’t think I’ll normally be doing reviews, but I kinda felt like one tonight. Procrastination maybe – writing seems to be rather difficult today, but I think that’s a combination of stress and exhaustion, so I’ll keep plugging away as I can.
Anyway – review time. The Shadow Queen is Anne Bishop’s latest foray in the world of the Black Jewels, and as much as I really love that universe,I’m afraid this story fell a little short for me. I know there’s going to be a sequel to it, as well as another volume of short stories released in a bit, but I just felt like everything here was wrapped up too quickly and yet, it left me hanging. There will probably be spoilers here, btw, so bear with me.
The main plot centers around Cassidy – a Rose jeweled Queen – I actually liked her. She was kind of chubby, had freckles, wasn’t “pretty” by regular definitions and definitely had her share of flaws. It was refreshing – she’s sort of an “anti-Jaenelle” – sweet, without being TSTL. And indeed, the inside flap goes on and on about Cassidy, and the warlord prince Theran (who kind of acts like a dick, but again, he has his reasons). I think if AB had fleshed him out a bit more he would have been more sympathetic. And then there is Gray – a 27 year old Warlord Prince with the broken mind of a 15 year old boy. He’s the love interest. Or at least, the make-out interest. Which is ok, and I’m *so* glad they didn’t end up sleeping together, because he bounced back and forth between the two aspects enough that I would have been seriously squicked out if he and Cassidy had actually attempted something. Overall, that part of the story was ok, and it was interesting to see how things developed, especially given that Theran and Gray are descendants of characters from The Invisible Ring. The three of them work together, more or less, and attempt to find the treasure left behind by the Gray Lady and bring prosperity back to their Realm.
…and then we get to the other part. Jaenelle. Sadi. Saetan. Lucivar. I love them all. I do. But I wish they had merely been cameos in this book – just a light sprinkle to flavor the story with the characters we’ve come to know and love from the previous stories. But instead, we get to investigate Jaenelle and Sadi’s sex life. Which is cool, or it could have been. It was just so…random and interspersed through the rest of the book and that made it very distracting. As soon as I got interested in what was going on with Cassidy, *poof*, let’s see the Sadist dance with Witch. And oops! He’s losing control because she’s in his room. His sanctum. And Mother Night, she’s wearing his shirt. Um. Ok. I dunno. I would have thought they would have come across this problem *before* they got married. Overall, it feels like the whole subplot would have been better as a short story or novella, similar to the ones in Dreams Made Flesh. Especially once Saetan gets involved and ends up in the Twisted Realms. I mean, dude is 50,000 years old. And demon-dead. And given everything else he’s done over all that time, I would have thought he *might* have worked out his issues. *shrugs*.
And then everything wraps up quickly and neatly. The end.
Blah. I suppose. I’ll keep buying her books, because I really do enjoy this universe, but if they keep up in this vein, I may just wait until they get released into paperback.