The Queen's Bargain by Anne Bishop
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After I read The Queen's Bargain—I won it in a goodreads giveaway!—I immediately re-read the rest of the Black Jewels books. That’s how good it is in re-kindling the love for the Dark Jewels universe. Bishop's work focuses on the uses and abuses of power. (There are abuse triggers in her work, for those who need to be aware of this.)
This book takes up where the last left off, early years in the marriage of Surreal and Daemon. Their daughter Janaelle has been gifted the Twilight jewel at her ceremony, even though she is not Witch reborn. She’s going through growing pains. Jillian, the young Eyrian witch who helps raise Lucivar's young children, has finally hit puberty and started dating, another form of growing pains. Dillon, the young Lord she's dating, has some problems, and Lucivar and Daemon might become two more for him.
Daemon and Surreal aren't communicating with each other or their friends, and their relationship faces real consequences. Marian, Lucivar’s wife, isn’t recovering from her last birthing. Dillon and Jillian are young people making choices that have real consequences. Bishop explores consequences.
The balance of power between lesser and greater, the dance of power between duty and desire: these are the underlying themes of the work, interlaced with explorations of acceptance in diversity, not only of gender but of race and species. Those are the pleasures of a Bishop book—in addition to great storytelling. So far I've loved all of them.
Scelties abound, Karla (kiss-kiss) visits, and love is forever—the barriers between life and death notwithstanding. The door to new adventures is always open, and I'll follow Bishop there every time. Recommended.
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