Last week, I put the spotlight on Tir Alainn by Anne Bishop. After thoroughly enjoying book one, and waiting for book 2 to come out, I went looking at the library for what else she had written and tried her Black Jewels trilogy. While I ended up not loving this trilogy like I did Tir Alainn, I did like it a lot, and found it very different from anything else I was reading. Several years later I bought myself a copy for my personal library so I could read it again.
This is an interesting world with three realms: the “real”, a shadow realm, and hell. There are links between each realm allowing travel between if you know how to use them. In this world, magic is stronger in women than in men and is graded in coloured gems, with black being the highest. Queens have always been of the black, until a point many years before book one begins, where one power-hungry witch (who is only a red, I believe) manages effectively a coup. In her lust for power and determination to keep it, she makes sure no other witches rise to the black (in a particularly evil way) and enslaves men of a certain power and above. It’s very likely a whole lot of people were killed very early on in her rise to power, but I confess I can’t remember the details.
There is prophesied the return of Witch, much more than a witch capable of the black jewel. This trilogy is her story: from young girl, dealing with a horrendous family, through to claiming her birthright. But this trilogy is also a story of the people who have been dreaming of her existence and the hope that she will one day come and make a difference in the world.
There are some parts that people may find problematic. And I should also mention that there is a sexual assault trigger warning. If you don’t like the use of hell as a realm, Saetan as it’s ruler, and Daemon as his son (both key figure in the story), then this trilogy isn’t for you either. But overall it is an interesting read.
Here’s the blurb from book one:
The Once and Future Queen.
Seven hundred years ago, a Black Widow witch saw an ancient prophecy come to life in her dazzling web of dreams and visions.
Now the Dark Kingdom readies itself for the arrival of its Queen, a Witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself. But she is still young, still open to influence – and corruption.
Whoever controls the Queen controls the Darkness. Three men – sworn enemies – know this. And they know the power that hides behind the blue eyes of an innocent girl. And so begins a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal, in which the weapons are hate and love… and the prize could be terrible beyond imagining.