Read or Die

Review of Anne Bishop’s THE QUEEN’S PRICE

The Queen’s Price by Anne Bishop

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Has it been 12 books in this series? It doesn’t seem like that many, yet all of the stories knit together so seamlessly that I can believe it. I still remember feeling the Black Jewels had come to a natural conclusion with Twilight’s Dawn and feeling apprehensive when The Queen’s Bargain hit shelves. What more was there to tell? Clearly, Ms. Bishop has proved me wrong, finding the natural continuation of her characters in a way that doesn’t feel strained or repetitive. It’s a progression in a world that’s still so rich and intense, a reader can’t help but end up lost within the pages.

The triple viewpoint of this volume offered the perfect blend of humor, suspense, and tragedy that’s always been the hallmark of any of Ms. Bishop’s writing – but particularly for the Black Jewels series. Jillian, Satien, and Grizande weave in and out, completing a delicate tapestry of the unstable world that is the new Kaeleer. Their stories provide insight into old and unique viewpoints while allowing each character to stand on their own. There’s no heavy reliance on the familiar faces from the past, which often happens in lengthy series. But Ms. Bishop continues to refer to favored moments from previous volumes for faithful fans to enjoy. And she rewards us by finally drawing back the curtain on Butler and his past, pulling him from the shadows where he’s lurked for so long. I had to set the book down several times and marvel at her mastery of this complicated dance of information and history.

But she’s also a genius with the human heart and mind. Reading the chapters offers a glimpse into what it feels like to start over from scratch, and how it feels to undergo sexual changes in a committed relationship. All handled with respect and sensitivity. It’s such a beautiful testament to humanity, couched in the wrappings of fantasy. Ms. Bishop is a master at her craft and will always remain so.

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