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Ha! A book review! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these.

A friend loaned me the Anne Bishop trilogy, The Black Jewels, and I finished the first book recently and right now, I’m going to finish the trilogy but I’m not sure how I feel about the books. BishopOmni

The world is very dark; which isn’t my issue. I love to deal with darkness and shadows and the grey side of things. Always playing in the light can be very boring. You have to be willing to get your hands a little dirty in order for a story to be interesting. Dark is not a problem.

However, the culture has gotten very skewed. It’s supposed to be matriarchal, which I also like very much. My first story involves a matriarchal line. But some of the races are long-lived and the women have now brought the men low and made powerful Warlords into pleasure slaves. It has also skewed to the point where some of the men have taken to destroying the young girls before they come into their power and are a threat.

The culture is destroying itself and even as I understand the reasoning behind it, I don’t like it because of the treatment of the girls. Men who frighten the young girls are breaking them, destroying them completely through torture and rape and murder.

And that is where I find myself pulling back.

I am still on the first book; I will finish the trilogy and depending on how I feel, I might read the rest of the stories connected to the Black Jewels.

But, on with the show.

BishopDaughterDaughter of the Blood opens with a Black Widow witch giving a prophecy about a Queen who is coming, who will be Witch and will cleanse the land and restore order. The next chapter opens 700 years later. Some of these races are very long-lived. In fact, some never die and become demons.

And this is where we see how the males are treated with contempt and how the women take great pleasure in their power. Some men are controlled with Rings around the base of their penis and the women who holds the controller is able to give a shot of pain when the man displeases her. Shaving a man, or cutting off his penis and testes, can be entertaining for some of the witches. Some men are kept around because they will be used to seed the bloodline. And men only have a certain amount of rights regarding their paternity.

It’s different from the books where women are treated are broodmares and have their children taken from them.

Throughout the book, we also see the introductions of the caste system and how powerful some women are in the Craft, the use of magic- and how men are punished for using it- and the classification of the Jewels. The darker the Jewel, the more powerful.

This is where it starts to get darker. There are Birthright Jewels and the ability to use them. There are offerings and those are darker, more powerful then the birthright Jewels and linked to these Jewels are blood and Virgin Nights. And I’ll admit to glossing over some of this part because this is where you start to see how some men abuse the girls on their Virgin Night, so the power is there but the girls can’t touch it because they are broken physically and mentally.

There are also two Realms- their earth and their hell and both operate together. There are Webs to travel on depending on what Jewel you use and certain ways to use the Craft. There is the High Priestess and the High Priest of Hell, Guardians of the Altars and vicious, bloody Queens who are ripping the land apart.

And then there is Witch, Jaenelle, who will be the Queen who can repair everything and she blows away the conventions. But she cares so much for her friends and sister that she puts herself in harm’s way and she might not make it to adulthood and her deserved title of Witch.