Saturday, April 10, 2010

Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop

Summary (courtesy of Goodreads):  For years the Shalador people suffered the cruelties of the corrupt Queens who ruled them, forbidding their traditions, punishing those who dared show defiance, and forcing many more into hiding. And even though the refugees found sanctuary in Dena Nehele, they have never been able to call it home.  
   Now that Dena Nehele has been cleansed of tainted Blood, the Rose-Jeweled Queen, Lady Cassidy, makes it her duty to restore the land and prove her ability to rule. She knows that undertaking this task will require all her heart and courage as she summons the untested power within her, a power capable of consuming her if she cannot control it.
       And even if Lady Cassidy survives her trial by fire, other dangers await. For the Black Widows see visions within their tangled webs that something is coming that will change the land—and Lady Cassidy—forever… 

 And here's what I thought:  I've been reading this series for a long time, so I had been looking forward to this book, which continues the story started in The Shadow Queen.    This is a story that really makes sense only if you're familiar with the series, and read The Shadow Queen --- otherwise, you're going to be thrown into a story where things don't necessarily make sense, and you won't recognize any of the recurring characters.   However, as I said, I've been reading this series since the beginning --- so there was some familiar territory here in this story.   I don't want to give anything away about the story, so I thought I'd focus on the overall series, instead.   Anne Bishop has created a really interesting world here, where there is magic and power given to those who wear different color (and level) jewels, a chart of which is at the beginning of each book.  The darker the jewel, the more powerful it is.   And it's not just people who have jewels --- animals can have them, too.   I really like that Bishop adds this, because it makes the stories so much richer when the animals (with their voices, and viewpoints) interact with the people.    In this particular book, there are dogs (Scelties), who are intelligent, and funny, and very integral to the story.
One of the things I enjoy when I read Anne Bishop's books is that I get to revisit not only familiar settings, but familiar characters.   Characters in the first book reappear throughout the rest of the series, so it's like visiting a place you've been before, hanging out with people you've known for years.  In this story, there was a point where two characters appear to threaten some people (very bad people --- you're happy that they are being threatened), and it's characters I knew from the other stories.  I actually let out a laugh when I was reading this part ---- I felt like Anne Bishop just knew that would be the happy recognition a reader of her series would have.   Actually, it was like an inside joke.  And I really liked that.    I wouldn't say that this series is serious reading, but definitely entertaining, fantastical, and fun.    If you've never read any Anne Bishop, you'll want to start at the beginning, with Daughter of the Blood.  

And where did I get this book?  The library, naturally!  


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