Desert Isle Keeper
Heir to the Shadows
Heir to the Shadows, the continuation of the Black Jewels trilogy that started with Daughter of the Blood, took me through a full range of emotions. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It surprised me. But, most importantly, it made me think, a factor missing in so many books. This book doesn’t just exist for pleasure, but also for reflection, which is rare, especially in a novel about demons of the underworld.
The less you know about Heir to the Shadows before picking it up, the better. In fact, the best way for you to approach the trilogy is to dive into Daughter of the Blood, an excellent book in its own right, pick up the gist of the strange world inhabited by the characters, and move right along to the second book in the series. But, for sticklers, here’s a brief synopsis:
A young girl named Jaenelle is being groomed to grow up to be the most powerful being in the strange world in which she lives. Along with her adopted father Saetan (yes, Satan) and her various friends, both dead and alive, she needs to fight the powers that would thwart her, including her own hesitations. That’s all I can tell you. And that’s really too much. The power in Anne Bishop’s writing lies not with plot, but with storytelling. It’s the turn of the phrase that kept me turning the page, as opposed to a simple curiosity about what might happen next.
The writing style is beautiful, and the words are a work of art. Each phrase rolls off the page with a grace and elegance usually reserved for great literature of the past. Bishop obviously works hard at her craft, and loves it.
I had only a few complaints with the story, and even then, I’m nit-picking. First, the book can be hard to understand. Bishop dives into the world of the story and us earthlings may have a hard time keeping up. In fact, I had to have a friend write me a cheat sheet to keep track of the various characters and worlds in Daughter of the Blood. As a general rule, the more familiar you are with the science-fiction/fantasy genre, the easier this series will be to decipher. Second, some of the plot-lines, such as Jaenelle’s brief marriage, were glossed over a bit too casually, leaving the reader to wonder what happened when the scene faded to black.
I should also warn anyone with strong religious convictions that Satan is a hero in this story. That’s part of the book’s charm. The idea of the high lord of Hell as a single father, trying to discipline a teen-ager, keep his grown son out of trouble and manage a household is a humorous and somewhat ironic concept. Still, if you think you’d have a problem with that particular aspect of the novel, it might be best to stay away.
Overall, Heir to the Shadows was a delight to read. It’s one of the few sequels I’ve come across that actually enhances the original book. When the final book of the trilogy comes out next year, I’ll probably be one of the first in line.