Friday, August 14, 2015

Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop

From the Publisher

The Dark Kingdom is preparing itself for the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy--the arrival of a new Queen, a Witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself. But this new ruler is young, and very susceptible to influence and corruption; whoever controls her controls the Darkness. And now, three sworn enemies begin a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal, and the destiny of an entire world is at stake.

Do you ever read something and you’re just not quite sure how you feel about it? That’s how I feel about Anne Bishop’s Daughter of theBlood. I think I like it. I’m pretty sure I’ll read the rest of the trilogy, which is a high compliment. Still, I’m not sure how I felt about it.

My main problem was with all of the sexual assault. *Trigger Warning* everyone is assaulted, male, female, didn’t matter. This is one of those erotic fantasy novels where sex is critically integral to the culture. Normally that is something I really like, however, here, it seemed like there were no positive sexual experiences for any character. I honestly couldn’t understand how this culture had clung to these sexual rituals when everyone was getting raped. Janelle, who is going to be the new Queen, is supposed to put this system to rights, but I honestly couldn’t understand who would want it. There were no positive sexual relationships.

I also couldn’t understand the point of some characters. Arguably, the three main characters are Saetan, Daemon, and Lucivar. (the novel is told through about 10 different perspectives which I found frustrating at first, but effective towards the end). Daemon and Lucivar are both currently enslaved with a sexual torture device called “The Ring of Obedience,” it’s a magic torture cock ring, just FYI. Daemon is forced into sexual service for the various lessor queens at the behest of his controller, the evil queen Dorothea. This is a matriarchal society, and yet all I could see was women treating men terribly, like Daemon. While I’m not saying that women would never treat men badly, at times I felt almost like it was a Gorian answer to feminists. Like “See! You’d be awful!” I think Bishop saves it for me with the female characters. Ultimately I think she is trying to say that the system is corrupted and needs to be fixed, and until that happens female and male characters will continue to be destructive.

The world was excellently crafted, but I still felt unsure about some things. There are a handful of rituals and magic that I just don’t understand what they are and why they matter. I think part of the reason is how the story was told, the main character is Janelle, but the story is never told from her perspective. At first I found that infuriating, as if her voice was being taken away, but it actually made the story more interesting for me. It was about the people in her life learning who she was and what was going on in her life. It made the main character into a bit of a mystery, which kept me reading.

Despite all the problems this was total Crack!Fic for me. I just got completely sucked in and the world is so crazy I couldn’t put it down. The opening page details this incredibly complicated magical jewel system. (there are different colors, the darker the more powerful and on and on). I’ve already ordered the next book in the series, it’s sitting next to me. I have to read something else before I start on it, but I pulled out book 2 to spell check names, it’s taking all of my will power not to start it right now. Which, I think, is the highest complement you could give a book.

In the end I give it 4 out of 5 black jewels.

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