Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop
Anne Bishop's Black Jewels Trilogy is an interesting animal. On one hand, it can be quite dark and amoral (the darkness is worshipped for example). However, it's not really as visually graphic or as mature as say, Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. On the other hand, it's pop bordering along the lines of David Eddings and Mercedes Lackey fare storytelling, with occassional wish-fulfillment and stupid evil overlords creeping in at times. I will give credit though to Bishop for creating a challenging concept and executing it successfully. Her writing style is fairly easy to understand and is as consumable as any fantasy-pop novel like R.A. Salvatore or Terry Brooks. The mood is quite dark despite the use of a child protagonist, but on the other hand the characters can be quite kind and innocent at times, despite them being the keepers of Hell or the boytoy of several queens. Those blindly following their pastors preachings should avoid this book, but paradoxically it's not as dark as some of the other fantasy series's out there. Bishop doesn't score any bonus points in the description department as it's pretty much standard fare, although I am impressed at how many times she manages to avoid saying the word penis. It can best be summed up as a romance of sorts with magic and mystical creatures thrown into the mix. What also throws me off is how Bishop ends each book, not quite comic cliffhanger, but not fully resolved either. The Black Jewels is half-part dark, half-part pop-friendly. I expect it'll be a guilty pleasure for a lot of people, at the very least for the deviants within each one of us.