Pros: Strong emotions and bright, vibrant characters
Cons: Read the Black Jewels trilogy first!
Rating: 5 out of 5
Dreams Made Flesh (Black Jewels, Book 5), by Anne Bishop, is a collection of four stories set in the Black Jewels universe. You’ll want to read The Black Jewels: Trilogy first, but you don’t need to have read The Invisible Ring (of course you should because it’s a great read, but you don’t need to).
Weaver of Dreams: A short but fascinating tale of spiders, dragons, and webs that clearly comes from the distant past. It’s beautiful, unusual, and captivating.
The Prince of Ebon Rih: This tale takes place after the events of Heir to the Shadows and before the events of Queen of the Darkness. Lucivar, currently the Prince of Ebon Rih, has a problem. Actually, he has more than one. Everyone seems to want to be the one allowed into his quarters to clean and cook for him. He doesn’t want any of them there, especially since they seem more interested in mooning over him than in doing their jobs. After Jaenelle rescues a hearth witch, Marian, from her attackers, she asks Lucivar to take the woman in. As a hearth witch she’d be perfect for looking after his home–and him. But Lucivar is short of temper and long of reputation, while Marian is trying to get over the emotional damage her family caused to her. It just makes everything so much harder that another witch–Roxie–is trying to get herself into Lucivar’s bed by hook or by crook, just when Marian and Lucivar are starting to realize there might be something real between them.
Prince displays the heightened emotions and mercurial temper common to the Black Jewels novels, and in Anne Bishop’s books it absolutely works. Partially because there’s a highly organized and rigid social hierarchy built up to deal with how those larger-than-life emotions get handled. There are characters to love and characters to hate. Jaenelle makes a serious error in judgment, but then she’s still a little lacking in some social areas–as always, it can be nice to see that such a beloved and epic character is capable of making real mistakes. This story can get a little dark, and it made me tear up once or twice.
Zuulaman: This one is a tale from Saetan’s past. In it, we get to see what happens when Saetan unleashes the massive power he controls–as well as his oh-so-cold rage. Dark, horrifying; I found it shocking and absorbing.
Kaeleer’s Heart: This one takes place after Queen of the Darkness. We finally get to see the struggles both Daemon and Jaenelle are going through in the effort to maintain their relationship after so much has happened. Daemon is still treating Jaenelle as though she’s fragile and might break at any moment–and in that, he isn’t so different from the rest of the males around her. But he’s meant to be her Consort, and now he’s afraid that might never happen. Add in the machinations of a witch who’s obsessed with him–who wants to find a way to ruin his reputation so that he’ll be desperate for her acceptance–and things get dangerous, fast. Surreal shows up to lend a hand and inadvertently ends up playing into one of those schemes. We also get a sense of what sort of power Jaenelle really has now that she burned out her jewels.
I shed tears through several scenes, and could not put the book down while reading this tale. I was hooked from page one. It was hard to find myself finished with the book when I was finally done with this story.
If you enjoy the explosive, larger-than-life world of Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels world, you’ll adore this collection of stories. They’re poignant, sexy, hot, dark, horrific, and beautiful by turns. The hardest part about reading it was having to finish!