Pros: Four wonderful stories!
Rating: 5 out of 5
Anne Bishop’s Twilight’s Dawn is a collection of four stories that all take place within her Black Jewels world. Each one states where in the timespan of the other books it falls.
Winsol Gifts Takes place after Tangled Webs: It’s a winter holiday with gift traditions, and in the expansive (and wealthy) SaDiablo family such things can be tricky. All of the complex interactions of the Blood come into play, and it can be tough to find a new gift for people who live for centuries. There’s some entertaining push-and-pull between individuals.
Shades of Honor Takes place before The Shadow Queen: Lucivar’s Eyrien second-in-command, Falonar, has decided that he’s too good to serve a half-breed like Lucivar. He’s dividing Lucivar’s people, and he has a lot of notions that wouldn’t make people happy. His vision of Eyrien warriors is very narrow. The idea that women shouldn’t fight and the warriors shouldn’t bother with schooling are just the most harmless of his ideas. But Falonar underestimates Lucivar, and hasn’t counted on just how loyal Lucivar’s friends and family are–not to mention the number of Eyriens who actively want to stay under Lucivar’s rule. Add in Surreal, who was once lovers with Falonar and has reason to dislike him, as well as her friend Rainier, and the whole place is pretty much a powder keg.
Family Takes place “10 Years Later”: Sylvia and her two children (Mikal and Beron) have been lured into a trap by a man called “No Face” who kidnaps children and kills them horribly. (As the tags on this post suggest, ‘horror’ is a valid category for the Black Jewels series.) Saetan, his children, and their extended family need to figure out where Sylvia disappeared to, how many other children have disappeared lately, and how they’re going to save Sylvia and her sons. It’s a tense, frightening tale.
The High Lord’s Daughter Takes place decades later: Jaenelle was born from one of the short-lived races; Daemon always knew she would die long before he would. She made him promise to mourn for a year and then return to life. It’s time for him to do that. But he’s withdrawing from his family, and Surreal needs to figure out how to keep him sane and safe. Things get a little crazy for everyone: there’s a marriage and a birth within the family, and a whole lot of strong emotions putting in an appearance.
I teared up repeatedly while reading these tales; the final one in particular made me sniffle quite a lot. “Family” both brought me to tears and made me tense as hell as the events unfolded. I absolutely love this installment in the Black Jewels world, and having the four stories enables Ms. Bishop to fill in the blanks here and there. It’s perfect.