Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: Twilight's Dawn by Anne Bishop

Twilight's Dawn: A Black Jewels Book (Black Jewels Trilogy)Book Details:
Twilight's Dawn: A Black Jewels Book (Black Jewels Trilogy)
By Anne Bishop
Genre: Fantasy
Published March 2011, Roc
Hardback, 435 pages
ISBN: 9780451463784

          Return to the world of the Black Jewels with New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop.
Anne Bishop's "darkly fascinating"* (SF Site) Black Jewel novels have enthralled readers and critics alike with their mixture of fantasy, intrigue, and romance. Now in Twilight's Dawn, Bishop returns to the Blood realm with four all-new captivating novellas.
Anne Bishop's newest addition to the Black Jewels series is a collection of four novellas that fill in a few gaps in the growing storyline, as well as answering the question of what happens after certain central characters are gone from the series.
The first story, "Winsol Gifts", takes place a year after Daemon Sadi and Jaenelle Angelline have been married and after the events in Tangled Webs (Black Jewels, Book 6). It is a sweet story that explores Daemon's new roles as the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, as well as Tersa's relationship with both Daemon and Lucivar. The question of whether Jaenelle can ever take back the Ebony - and if she will - is also answered, which was very satisfying for me.
The second story, "Shades of Honor", centers on Prince Falonar and the on-going damage he causes from his own prejudices. Surreal and Rainier's recoveries from injuries sustained from the evil haunted house are also central to the story. It also answers the question of how Rainier came to work for Daemon Sadi. Lucivar is also forced to learn how to better run Ebon Rih, which allows the reader to learn a bit more about Eyriens. This story also sparked my curiosity about the Dea al Mon, Surreal's heritage, since the story ended with her going to stay with them.
The third story, "Family", is about what happens to Sylvia, Saetan's lover and wife, and her sons. Through her story, the reader gets a clearer picture of what life is like for the demon-dead, as well as a glimpse of the kind of power that Tersa can wield. The reader also gets to find out if Jaenelle will ever take on the role of a Queen again, as well as how Daemon and Jaenelle deal with the issue of no children.
The final story, "The High Lord's Daughter", spans a period of decades in the telling. This story is both the most tragic and the most promising of the four novellas, as two main characters pass on, while the next generation of the SaDiablo family opens up brand-new story lines for Bishop to explore, should she decide to do so. While it was pretty obvious from the cover description that Jaenelle would die in this story, I was not satisfied with the explanation as to why she could not become demon-dead.  I did find it both believable and realistic that Daemon would need to marry again, despite his own grief and stubbornness, and I was very happy that he married the woman he did, as I saw their unique bond long before this book came along. Their daughter also made me quite happy, as I can see how she could continue the magic of "dreams made flesh". I was also happy for Marian and Lucivar, as they finally got their daughter. Of course, now I have a new question that will drive me nuts until the next book - if a person's Birthright Jewel is Twilight's Dawn, then what stone does she descend to?

The Cover: I enjoy the simplicity of Bishop's more recent covers, as this one continues the trend. In addition to displaying the pivotal character, Jaenelle Angelline, on the cover, I also get a visual of the unique stone, Twilight's Dawn, which the book is named for.

First Line: "Daemon Sadi, the Black-Jeweled Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, crossed the bridge that marked the boundary between private property and public land. On one side of the bridge was the drive leading to SaDiablo Hall, his family's seat; on the other side was the public road leading to the village of Halaway."
While it is a simple introduction to one of Bishop's novellas, it refreshes my memory of the Black Jewels series and entices me to read more.

Favorite Quote: "Jaenelle Saetien has decided that, for the most part, boy stuff is not interesting and it looks funny when it wiggles."


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