Sunday, March 14, 2010

Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop

Shalador's Lady
by Anne Bishop

March 2010

Finally! I read and FINISHED a book! I wasn't sure if it was ever going to happen. I hadn't finished a book in almost two months :(. But leave it to Anne Bishop to pull me right out of my melancholic mood. I think my reading groove is back (and maybe even blogging).

Shalador's Lady is an outstanding conclusion to the fate of Dena Nehele and its people. And these two books, The Shadow Queen and Shalador's Lady are awesome follow-ups to The Invisible Ring, as it concludes the fate of the Shaladoran's after their fight and struggle that the influence of Dorothea, from the original trilogy, caused.

I have to admit that the first book in this duology, The Shadow Queen, had its weak moments for me, in that there was a lot of focus on older characters, taking away from the new ones, and I wondered if that weakness would continue. It did not! So many things I loved about this book. The characters, the Scelties, the way the old characters blended so perfectly into the plot with Cassidy and her court as she restores the Old Ways in Dena Nehele. And of course the relationship between Cassidy and Grey!

Cassidy and her first circle are front and center and they shine. Cassidy's fears of rejection still torment her as her rival, Kermilla, the self-centered vile Queen who stole her first court right out from under her, travels to Dena Nehele to ask Cassidy a favor. But what transpires due to Kermilla's presence drove this story and gave it depth. It allowed Cassidy to look within herself and at the men who have sworn to defend and protect her as her first circle is suppose to do, and realize that she is worth the loyalty they give her. And as they stand and fight for her, she must stand and fight for them.

One thing I do miss in the books since the original trilogy is that dark grittiness, those sometimes disturbingly gruesome scenes. I have not encountered that intensity in the last three novels, but that's not to say that I did not enjoy them. I did. Very much so. I love being given the opportunity to explore the Blood and the Magic that makes up the Black Jewels world, learning about different aspects of the people who live within the Realms.

This was definitely a remarkably amazing addition to my Black Jewels collection! If you're hesitant to read this one...DON'T BE!!

Shalador's Lady and it's predecessor, The Shadow Queen, is not the Black Jewels trilogy, but it is still a fascinating journey into the Realms of the Blood. I realized when I finished reading this one that my hang-up with the books since the original trilogy really are not warranted. I always find myself wanting to compare, but there is no comparison, and it's not fair to compare. And I think for me while I compared Tangled Webs and The Shadow Queen to the trilogy, I was missing out, not fully enjoying these new installments in the Realms. The trilogy will always stand apart and above. And I'm glad for that, because it continues to keep those three books on a level of wonderment for me. I don't compare other books by other authors to the trilogy so why should I with other books in this series?

Hell's Fire, Mother Night, and May the Darkness Be Merciful!

I do have some news that I gleaned from Anne Bishop at her signing. News about her next book. It's going to be another collection of short stories as with Dreams Made Flesh. The last story in the book is how Daemon copes without Jaenelle. Yes, that's right, without Jaenelle. It's something I had wondered about from time to time. You see, Jaenelle is not one of the long lived races, yet Daemon is. And even though Jaenelle is Witch, she is still mortal. So the last story in that collection is sure to rip my heart out :(. I asked Anne how it affected her to write that, if it made her cry, and all she said was that she was still in mourning. Sigh...Daemon without his Jaenelle! I just can't even imagine it :(. But like she did add, some things have to come to an end. It brings closure for her, as well as the reader. You can only go so far for so long with the same characters before you have to move on. It'll be interesting to read, without a doubt.

Until next time...


Anna said...

Great review Amy! I think I'll be quite eager to read the short story. Very sad! Glad to see you got your groove back. :)

Donna [F.D. Ramblings] said...

Hi Amy!

I agree with you on the comparison and I did the same thing, that's why I'm a couple books behind. But I think enough time has passed and with some new perspectives, I'm ready to read the last couple of books.

On Daemon and Janelle, I've always wondered how that was going to be handled. A part of me doesn't even want to go there and not read about it. Seriously, I'm getting a bit choked about it just typing this. ::laughs weakly at self::

Glad your getting your reading mojo back! :D

Amy C said...

Hey Anna! Yeah, it felt really good to read AND finish Shalador's Lady! Very sad indeed to read about Daemon without Jaenelle :(.

Oh, Donna...(and there it is, that song playing in my head! :P) I thought I was going to get all weepy there at the signing too. It was quite a shock. I told her she was breaking my romance lovin heart! But I understand why she did it :).
And I hope when you do read these two books, you love them also!

Kerry said...

I finished "Shalador's Lady" last night and just loved it. I agree that it is stronger than Tangled Webs and The Shadow Queen and I think it works beautifully.

I loved Cassidy and Gray together - watching him put himself back together was great. I also really liked Ranon, and especially his interaction with Khollie. Theran, I just wanted to smack upside the head.

I loved and was heart-broken by the way Surreal came to Daemon and told him she was going to help him so he could focus more of his time on Jaenelle while he had her. The idea of a story of him without her is awful and amazing both at the same time - but I trust Anne Bishop to do it just right.

I wouldn't be surprised if she doesn't ever again write anything quite as sublime as the orignal trilogy. So her other books have to be taken on their own merit and loved for what they offer, not compared.

This was a much gentler book than the first ones, but it worked that way and was just lovely. I thought the way she resolved the conflict was brilliant (trying not to spoil readers who haven't read it yet) as she didn't take the common and more violent route, but found another way that fitted the story beautifully.

Can you tell I really loved reading this one? So far I've only read the Black Jewels books twice and the follow-ups once, but I think I'll be adding the series to my "regular rereads" just to enjoy my time in the world all over again.

Tori [Book Faery] said...

Oh yay you're back! Good to see you're doing well, and I'm glad Bishop was able to suck you back into the reading-loop :)

I haven't read Shalador's Lady yet. I've decided that I want to prolong reading that until things calm down. I feel like I'm almost in this power-reading mindset right now because of my college classes. I need to savor the BJT universe.... especially if the next book's going to be a sad one. I'm anticipating/dreading that book you mentioned! I don't want to see a sad Daemon. My eyes started watering when I read that LOL!

Once again, it's good to hear from you!

Leontine said...

No No No NO, Daemon without jaenelle, that is so wrong on so many levels *hear my heart breaking* Leave it up to Bishop to make me weep on and off throughout an entire story. I don't want to think of Daemon without his Jaenelle *I say in a teary voice* Now I've lost my buzz from receiving Shalador's Lady *cries*

Glad you had such an awesome time Amy. BTW Erotic Horizon wants to start reading the BJ books and likes to know who she can talk to about the books. Who can say I LOL

Erotic Horizon said...

I am not reading this...

I am challenging myself to read this series - so expect me tobe chatting you and Leontine and Donna and Kris and a few other up...

I love the cover on this one...

I am going to add that Elizabeth Vaughan to my list - I love that blurb ad cover...


Amy C said...

There is probably **SPOILERS** here...

Hi Kerry!

Yes, I can tell you really loved Shalador's Lady! And I am so happy to read your comment. So many good things you mentioned.

Grey and Cassidy...they did not have as much of a role together as they did in the Shadow Queen, but I think it was just enough and the Dance! OHHH, I loved that in the Invisible Ring and I was so psyched to see that she added that into this one and what a perfect thing for Grey! I love Ranon too.

And Theran. Poor, poor Theran. But the one thing I appreciated about his character was that it showed us just how strong a bond to a Queen can be. Once you feel that pull toward her for a Warlord Prince, well, there's not much that's going to break that bond. But I felt he was sufficiently redeemed at the end.

Gentler indeed, but you know what, it fits Cassidy :). Cassidy is a gentler person so for her and her first circle to come up with a non-violent resolution they way they did, I agree with you one hundred percent, it fit the story perfectly!

I'm so glad to know you loved this one too! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Amy C said...

Hi Tori!

Yes, savior it! No power-reading :). You're really going to love this one. There are some really great moments in it. One regarding men and pissing in the toilet and their aim...or the lack thereof! I had to read the scene to both my husband and my son! I thought it was funny since I'm always harping on them...mostly my son...about that very thing!

It actually feels good to post. Thanks for coming by, Tori :) Let me know when you do read this one!

Amy C said...

Haha! It's okay if you wanted to read it, EH, I actually gave very little description about the plot of this book! But I am soooo happy to read that you are going to challenge yourself to read this series...Of course in my opinion it's not much of a challenge! LOL It's such a wonderful place to visit. So please, chat with me if you like. I would love to have a discussion with you ladies about this series...anytime!

Oh, Elizabeth Vaughan, I love her Warlands Trilogy! That's another that I'd love to reread one day.

Amy C said...


Hey Leontine, so glad you got the book already! You're going to love it! I would love to talk about these books with you and EH and Donna. That would just be awesome! I can't wait to read your thoughts about Shalador's Lady!

Ladybug said...

I didn't dare to read your entire review, since I haven't read the previous book. I'm so glad that you've found your passion for reading again =D

Christine said...

Amy, I'm so glad to hear that you thoroughly enjoyed this book. I know how much you were anticipating its release and seeing Anne Bishop again at another book signing. I'm looking forward to continuing reading this 'series' beyond the BJT.

In the meantime, I have to admit that I got that near tears tingling in my eyes and nose just reading about the upcoming stories about Daemon living without Jaenelle. :(

Blodeuedd said...

Yay I am glad it got you out of your reading funk!!

Sounds good, I still have to red that trilogy though,

Amy C said...

Hi Ladybug,
It did feel good to finish that book! I hope you read these too soon. Not dark like the original trilogy, but I suppose it can't be since the world is no longer a dark and disturbing place since Jaenelle released her witch storm!

Hi Christine! So good to see you :). Oh, yes, you still have to read Dreams Made Flesh, don't you? That one has a really great story with Lucivar and Marian in it. Very romantic, in a kind of violent sort of way...what do you expect though when a eyrien Warlord Prince is in rut?? LOL :P

YES, Blodeuedd, you must read the trilogy and soon! It's so good :).

Dottie (My Blog 2.0-Tink's Place) said...

Hi Amy!

I still haven't found the time to read this series, but I have several sitting in my TBR stack, hopefully I'll make the time soon. I picked them up on your recommendations, sounds so good. If I had a couple more hours everyday, that would be great too.

Great review sweetie!! Makes me anxious to read! (even if you had a few doubts lol!)

Glad to see you back!


Dottie :)