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The Queen's Bargain

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The Queen's Bargain
by Anne Bishop 
Berkeley Publishing Group

This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. 

Seasoned veterans and new found readers will enjoy stepping into Anne Bishops dark world with bloody politics, demon-dead queens, along with talking unicorns 

The Book happens to be decades after Jaenelle Angelline’s turbulent ascent to power. With cleansing of the Blood, marriage and death to Daemon Sadi, the author adds some notable past characters and creatively introduces to new ones 

The characters were engaging and dynamics are worth noting. 
I can see why Bishop has a dedicated following of fans to the dark, and sensual world of the Black Jewels series. The characters were engaging and dynamics are worth noting. A dark fantasy novel that was a mesmerizing read.
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3 Stars

Anne Bishop's The Queen's Bargain takes readers back into her tempestuous Black Jewels world. Opening around 5 years or so after Twilight Light's Dawn, we see growth from the adults and the children though not in ways that will please everyone. Comfortable dialogue coupled with familiar characters and interesting story lines; most fans will enjoy this journey back into the SaDiablo's lives.  I enjoyed seeing the children grow up and exerting their independence-playing a larger role in the own stories, We watch Jillian experience her first romance only to learn that one must love themselves before they can love anyone else while Janelle Sateen finds herself on the outs with friends and family when she abuses her position one to many times. Lessons are learned and feelings hurt but as always, we are left knowing this world has once again triumphed over those who attempted to destroy it. 

I did find my temper pricked by Bishop bringing back a beloved character at the expense of another. It felt like a cheap slight of hand- an attempt to placate some of her fandom who cried bloody murder over the events in Twilight's Dawn. Now Bishop is stuck having to play this hand by breaking rules we were told were unbreakable. 

Will I read the next one? Probably. It takes a lot for me to quit a series. My only hope is Bishop doesn't box herself in so tight, the only way she has to get out is by destroying it all.
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I was excited to revisit the world of the Black Jewels series, but this installment was not for me. The storyline was not very interesting. Surreal, one of my favorite original characters, did not seem like the same Surreal from the trilogy. Regardless, I will continue to pick up new novels or stories set within this world.
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Fantasy lovers have a big reason to rejoice! I was very excited and almost surprised when Anne Bishop announced that she would be returning to the world of the Black Jewels and would be writing a new book. However, I was excited to see how this return would pan out.

Much like the other books in the series, there are multiple points of views in this novel. I really love this because it gives the readers something always to look forward to. It never stalls and you’re bound to find your favorite character amongst the cast.

This is one of the series I find that are sometimes out of my limit. There are times when I really enjoy the storyline and the characters but since this is a Fantasy series, there are also a lot of twists and turns and I find that I don’t always like them. However, I am able to get out over and still enjoy the story as a whole. It’s just that sometimes straight-up Fantasy can be a lot to handle sometimes.

Nevertheless, I love the attention to detail and all the different storylines in this book. You can tell that Bishop spent a lot of time working out the small stuff so that it creates a smooth storyline. I hope to read more in the series!
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Well that was wild, emotional, heart wrenching and beautiful. I went into this book blind and had not read any books in this series before. I never felt lost not knowing any of these characters before, maybe a bit disconnected at first.  The relationships, were hard, sweet, horrendous and sometimes hard to watch. I'd love to read the backstory on Daemon and Surreal's relationship, there has got to be a good story.
There was a lot going on, from before this book and, beginning here. At about halfway I found myself attached to the story's and can't wait for more. I will go read the series from the beginning I really enjoyed this. My friends have been trying to get me to read this series for years, I should have listened.
Thank you to the publishers for a copy of this book for an honest review
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The Queen's Bargain was written for one reason and one reason only: to make me sob uncontrollably for 6 hours straight.

I'm not kidding, I started crying at 4% into the book, and I just didn't stop. I had to set the book down a few times because it felt like my head was going to explode under the pressure of crying without much more water to give for the situation.

Let me explain: The previous book, Twilight's Dawn, broke me. Specifically the final novella. Completely and utterly broke me. For an entire year after I read it, I would randomly pause whatever I was doing and just sit there, trying not to cry my eyes out. So it was almost a foregone conclusion that The Queen's Bargain was going to make me cry, despite having read Twilight's Dawn nearly two entire years ago. I just didn't expect it to go on the whole book. I wasn't even certain I was going to read this because I knew how much it would hurt me.

Boy did The Queen's Bargain not disappoint.

This book opens up maybe about 30 years after the end of Twilight's Dawn. I'm not exactly certain because long lived races. Which means that it's probably closer to 3 years if they were human. So a lot has changed but not a lot has changed at the same time.

If I'm being honest, this would be a throwaway book in the series. If this series didn't have enough of those already. I have had a rocky relationship with The Black Jewels series, with books that add nothing to the story at best, and are holiday specials at worst. However The Queen's Bargain was good and I recommend reading it if you loved the series.

The Queens Bargain was a setup for more. I definitely expect more out of this series in the years to come, and I'm actually looking forward to it. And I knew the possibility of that before reading this and I didn't think positively of continuing the series. I didn't see the point in starting this back up again. Now I do. Now I just want more.

There is a lot of drama in this book, and it doesn't really become clear what the purpose of it all is until quite later on. Daemon and Surreal are going through marital problems, and Daemon is experiencing some personal problems. Their daughter, Jaenelle, knows she is "special" and is acting spoilt and Daemon has to keep her in check. And other forces are working on Daemon so that he isn't good, mentally. In fact, most of the book is everyone trying to juggle keeping Daemon together without him knowing about it, and Daemon trying to deal with the problem on his own.

There is also some more. A teenage love that unearths a problem. The darkness is encroaching again, like the one Witch fought previously. And things have to be taken care of. And potentially more is coming in the future.

This is a bit of a rambling review. The jist is that I loved this a lot more than I thought I was, and I'm looking forward to more. Also I sobbed the entire time, but not really for reasons in the book but because of the implications for before and after.

ARC received from Berkley Publishing Group on Netgalley. This did not affect my review.
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Disclaimer this is the first book in the series I read.

I loved this book. As noted above I have not read the previous books so I will say this book and the world were confusing but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I am going to safely say Anne Bishop is one of my top authors. The characters were engaging with their relationships being far from perfect. I love that nobody is perfect (except Witch but she is not alive).  I will say the plot was kind of slow but not. There was no overarching bad guy not one particular bad thing/person that everybody is banding together to fight. This felt like a set up for future books. I mean I really had to nitpick to pick that out as a flaw because overall the relationship and internal conflicts were so intriguing and captivating. I would recommend this book and I will have to go back and read the previous books because this made me happy.

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Company for an ARC. This is an honest review.
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5 I-can't-believe-we-finally-got-to-go-back-to-this-world stars!

The Black Jewels is my favorite world, favorite series. This new entry was all that it promised to be and more.

Good installment?: ★★★★★
Readability (for new readers): ★★★★
Enjoyment: my heart hurts in the best way. perfect.

The Queen's Bargain is being touted as a great entry point for new readers to join the Black Jewels universe without reading all of the backlist titles. I feel like I'm too close to the subject matter to reflect on that without some bias, but honestly, I think I agree. The author has done a fantastic job at conveying the key points of the world for a new audience, and yet continuing on with some of the old faces and old places for those of us who are up to speed.

If you're a newbie reader to this series, don't hesitate—give this a try!

I don't know what to say about this one, the blurb? It gives a lot of information. And then just jump in. It's perfect, Anne Bishop's writing is a treasure, and the characters are the literal best.

After being so worried to read this—the last installment marked a pretty decisive end to certain things—I'm happy to report that this one stays true to the series while exploring new themes with grace. It's so, so good. I laughed, I cried, I sighed, and I totally lost my mind when I got to the end and ran out of words to read.

Also, don't worry, there won't be a hiatus before the next one—The Queen's Weapons is already slated to be published in 2021. (YES!)

Thank you to ACE and Berkley Publishing Group for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
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This was like a long-awaited reunion among old friends. I missed them all and I loved to have them back.

Daemon is older, mature and well into Saetan's role as High Lord of Hell. His daughter is growing and learning that with the power like hers she can not do as she pleases. It's a hard lesson to learn and one that all her friends and family are eager to impart.

Surreal finds it hard to adjust to Daemon's powers growing, and while she is panicking and retreating to save her independence, she doesn't do what all good relationships need to survive, - she doesn't communicate her fears. As a result, both partners are suffering and growing apart.

Lucivar faces his own problems, his wife's deteriorating health and his adopted daughter's first love.

And above all of it, there is an unshakeable power of Witch as all of them are still living in her shadow. As a result, it's a bittersweet book. Oh, how I wished to have Jaenelle there, and she was! But not truly there.

At last, parallel to this plot, there is a small plotline about Jillian meeting a young Warrior from a different non-long lived race, and the problems both of them face. There is a wrongness creeping back into Kaeleer, and it needs to be cleansed. Again.

I loved Daemon and Lucivar, all the scelties of course and Surreal anytime she wasn't interacting with Daemon. Jillian was a sweetie, Lucivar's kids were lovely, and Witch was as formidable as ever.

I re-read the series before reviewing this book, but to be honest, it was still very easy to follow even without refreshing your memories. If you are a fan of Black Jewels series and feeling nostalgic, please, pick up The Queen's Bargain. It was absolutely lovely and I was sad to get to its last page.
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Anne Bishop has returned to the Realms in The Queen's Bargain.  We meet again Lucivar, Marian and their children.  Daemon, Surreal and their daughter Jaenelle and catch up with their lives.  But there is something not right with Daemon and while his family senses the danger no one knows the cause.  Be prepared to sit and read this book  and then read it again, it is that good.  I would recommend reading the other books in the series first. Highly recommended.
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From an awkward first read of Daughter of the Blood to the sheer excitement I felt upon hearing that a new Black Jewels novel was being released, I’ve come a long way with this series. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine my life without it at this point. The series has had a positive influence in many areas of my life, and maybe some day I’ll find the words to explain exactly how. And though I’ve had my issues with some aspects of it, I knew that come hell or high water, I was going to have to read The Queen’s Bargain. There was no way I wouldn’t.

There are three main story threads running throughout this book. The first is the relationship between Dillon and Jillian, a budding romance for Jillian and an complex maneuver by Dillon to salvage his reputation after a moment of youthful indiscretion ruined it. The second is Marian’s illness, her lack of recovery after the birth of her third child, which no Healer can provide a treatment or cure for. The third is the strained relationship between Daemon and Surreal, after Daemon shows all of himself to her and Surreal panics, causing Daemon to put tighter control on aspects of his nature than is healthy for him. All three story threads carry a theme of limits. One’s own limits, the limits of others, when to stay within them, when to push past them, and what happens when limits get broken.

I really enjoyed seeing the return of old characters, because I do love them a lot, and their stories are endlessly fascinating to me. I have to admit, though, that some of the characters felt… not quite right. And I don’t just mean when they themselves are going through issues that twist them up inside. Not to put too fine a point on it, but really, I mean Surreal. Surreal… is not the character I read about in previous books. And to some degree, that’s understandable. Her life is quite different now compared to what it used to be. Time has passed, and people change.

But I can’t help but feel that to some degree, nearly every problem that Surreal encounters in this book are brought on by her own poor judgment, while trying to justify that her side is perfectly in the right. Admittedly, Daemon showing her his full possessive and rather sadistic side could be an overload, something she didn’t expect… but she ought to have. She’s dealt with Warlord Princes for the vast majority of her life. She lived with one before marrying Daemon. She got schooled by Jaenelle in how to handle them. But she stepped into Daemon’s private space and got a full demonstration of the more aggressive side of her husband, and there is no reason she wouldn’t have known that was coming. Her subsequent rejection of him caused him to leash that side of himself more tightly than normal, forcing him to not just tone down aspects of his nature but to really suppress them, as well as using and abusing him to relieve her own sexual tensions, all of which had negative consequences that could have been headed off very early on had Surreal just sat down and said, “Okay, sugar, you and I need to have a conversation.”

Only that didn’t happen. Surreal stepped over the line then blamed Daemon for the consequences, and I cannot wrap my head around the idea that she did that in ignorance of what might happen. She’s had centuries to learn, she even had an experience in the past that taught her well what happens when you push a Warlord Prince when he doesn’t want to be pushed, and… Ugh. Given that the one incident with her walking into Daemon’s bedroom was the catalyst for all the hell that followed, I can’t tell if it was poor writing that made it all happen — in the sense that the author wanted a certain situation but couldn’t think of a way to make it happen organically and so manipulated characters to do things they wouldn’t have done –, or if it’s a subtle sign that Daemon and Surreal’s marriage had been problematic for a very very long time, that Surreal had become complacent and so stopped thinking she needed to be concerned with everything she had learned and experienced in the past.

Neither option is particularly great, honestly. One is bad writing, and the other is writing that needs a bit of a tune-up to provide proper context for readers. I know Anne Bishop has a bit of a history in this series for dropping huge revelations on characters (and thus readers) without showing what led up to those events, but it often makes sense, such as finding out in a previous novel that Lucivar was married. We don’t see him meet his wife until a later-written story, so it seems to come out of nowhere, but since we were also seeing from the perspective of a character who didn’t know that either, it was a surprise but also one that made sense. He didn’t know, so why should we? But that doesn’t seem to be the case here. There’s reading between the lines, and then there’s needing to invent some lines to read between in the first place.

But despite that very glaring problem, I still enjoyed reading The Queen’s Bargain. I can say, from the standpoint of a very devoted fan, that this entry into the series was very educational, illustrating many small but important things that happened between certain characters in the past, giving readers more insight into the nature of the Blood in general and Warlord Princes specifically. When an author drops a series for a while and then comes back to it, I get a bit afraid of what might come, since I’ve seen that happen before with other beloved series and it doesn’t always end well. But in this case, I think The Queen’s Bargain is a worthy addition to the Black Jewels series, one that will give fans a solid new story to sink their teeth into. The writing is good (except for what I previously mentioned about Surreal’s characterization), the world just as comfortable and complex as I remember it.

Though it leaves some questions unanswered, it’s still a complete story in its own right. Not one that you can easily pick up without having read at least 4 other books in the series, mind you (newcomers who decide to start with this one because it’s the newest will likely find themselves lost within a couple of chapters), but within that context, it certainly holds up. Even if it may not be my favourite book in the series, I know it’s one that I’ll be picking up again in the future, to step back into the lives of characters I’ve come to know and love and respect, and to see more pieces of a world that has changed me in all the right ways.
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Wow, I loved reading this book! I mean, I read this series because this book was coming out. I fell in love, and the past 3 weeks or so, I was watching to see if I'd be approved to read this book. The day I was, I downloaded and devoured this book. It was so freaking good!

Being with these characters again was so great! After that final story in Twilight's Dawn, so much changed in that book, and it was heartbreaking, though there were some positives, like Daemon and Surreal. Well, it's not so positive in this book! 

So many poor decisions were made by the both of them. I felt bad for Daemon, because while they were both uninformed, Surreal thought she knew what was going on, and was wrong whereas he tried not to do wrong, but didn't know how to do right. It was difficult and hard to read sometimes, these people sometimes acting out of character by this out of character experiences. I just wanted to shake them sometimes! 

I wasn't sure how Jillian and Dillon's relationship would play out. In the previous books, characters like Dillon who are a mix of good and bad, they usually lean towards the bad by the end. I was really interested which way he'd go, and watch them go on this journey! 

That ended caused quite a shake up. And both of the main plots have consequences that are going to play out, for a long time in both cases, because they're things that can't be taken back. But I can't wait to see more of it play out, because I just love everything about this series so much and I can't have enough! 

I can't wait to see where The Queen's Weapon will go! So excited for more!
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Daemon Sadi is a Black Jeweled Warlord Prince of Dhemlan and the new High Lord of Hell. Surreal SaDiablo is Daemon’s wife, mother of his child, and his second-in-command. Their marriage is on the verge of collapse. Surreal feels threatened by Daemon’s Sadist personality. Daemon fears the tenuous hold of his sanity will splinter. Who can Daemon turn to for help? And what price will she demand? Will Daemon, Lucivar, and Surreal be able to purge Kaeleer of its current taint?

Jillian is a Purple Dusk jeweled Eyrien witchling. Lucivar Yaslana, the Warlord Prince of Askavi, is the only father-figure she has ever known. On the cusps of adolescence, Jillian is eager to explore her femininity. Lord Dillon is a young, Opal Jeweled Warlord. Dillon wants to train to be an escort and serve in a Queen’s court. However, the machinations of an unscrupulous witch ruin his dreams and destroy his reputation. Dillon believes Jillian is his last chance to repair his tarnished reputation. Can Jillian help restore Dillon’s social status? Or is their relationship doomed at the beginning?

It has been years since I last read the books, so I vaguely remember Jillian. I adore Jillian and Lucivar’s relationship. She is aware that he regards her as a daughter. Dillon, in some ways, reminds me of Daemon in the earlier books, especially his mistreatment at the hands of aristo witches. I understand why Dillon did what he did. He is a young man, who was wronged and forced into a corner with no allies. What I like about Dillon is that he did manage to maintain some sense of himself, enough to help someone during his troubled times.

Daemon and Surreal have always been my favorite characters from the series. However, I am not a fan of them being a couple. I did have trouble with that aspect of the story. It is a little jarring to see Daemon with someone other than Jaenelle/Witch. I feel Surreal got cheated in the relationship department. I adore Daemon’s relationship with his witchling daughter. It reminds me of Saetan’s interactions with Jaenelle. What I love the most about Daemon his how little has changed between him and Lucivar. The two brothers are still a formidable yet deadly team. They are quick to aid each other whenever the need arises.

THE QUEEN’S BARGAIN is book ten in Anne Bishop’s dark fantasy series, THE BLACK JEWELS. I am a longtime fan of this particular series; however, I have not read TWILIGHT’S DAWN, book nine, for personal reasons. These books are not for everyone, especially those uncomfortable with sexual violence and abuse. It is important to read the prior nine books in the series to understand the world’s unique dynamics and the characters’ history and relationship.

THE QUEEN’S BARGAIN is an anticipatory return to an unforgettable series. I am eagerly anticipating the next installment. I cannot wait to learn Daemon’s role in Kaeleer’s future.
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It was great to return to the world of the Black Jewels and catch up with favorite characters in this 10th book in the series. Lots of things are going on.

Daemon Sadi is entering into a new level of maturity which could signal the end of his marriage with Surreal if she can't accept all of the man he is. His new sexual energy feels like it is threatening her independence which is the bedrock of her life. They love each other but these conflicts could shatter their relationship.

Lucivar Yaslana is also having some issues too. His wife is fading away after giving birth to their third child and he doesn't know how to help her. Also, his foster daughter Jillian has met a young man who wants to court her. Unfortunately, Lord Dillon's intentions are not pure since he was done wrong by a woman he fell in love with and had his reputation ruined. He sees Jillian as his last chance to redeem his reputation and will do anything  to get her to fall for him. 

Looking into Lord Dillon's past indicates that all is not well and Lucivar is going to have to take over lands that he had previously left in the Queens' hands to prevent a return to the bad old days from the land where he and Daemon were raised.

This was an engaging story. I loved the relationships between the characters and kept hoping that things would work out well for all of them. I enjoyed the Scelties both for the humor they added to the story and for their personalities. I enjoyed Daemon's power struggles with his little girl as he tries to raise an ethical Queen. 

People who have been waiting for more in the Black Jewels world will be very pleased with this new adventure.
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loved the Black Jewels series for years. It has a wide variety of characters, the magic system is unique, the romance is hot, and the emotional turmoil is spot on. Their are some very hilarious parts of this story as in this book we have children and some mischief making scelties.

This is a book we all been clamoring for as we need to know how everyone survives after Witch has left the realms. We do get moments with Witch but not in a she back kind of way.

Their are some very emotional content in this book and this is definitely a novel for a mature audience as is the whole series. I throughly enjoy returning to Anne Bishop black jewels series and i hope we get more and more. I know all good things come to an end at some point but i not ready to say goodbye yet. I have no idea if she will give us more as i thought the 9th book was the last.

If you loved the black jewels series pick up this next installment. Or go back to the first one and then read this one. It a series that will draw you in and delight you. It a novel that explores being true to who you are at your core, supporting those you love and protect even from themselves sometimes.
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Be careful what you wish for! Like many fans out there I was very disappointed when Ms. Bishop brought the Black Jewels series to an end.  I was very excited to see this book and to learn that there are more stories to be told in the Black Jewels world, but....  Change is inevitable and we can't really ever go back but even so I will say that I have very mixed feelings about this return....
The Sa Diablo family or what is left of it continues to live in much the same fashion as they did before. Surreal and Daemon have found peace and contentment in the love of their daughter and in their marriage but an unexpected twist throws things for a loop and definitely not in a good way. Thank god for family and unexpected old friends who come to the rescue in unexpected fashion. But as they say a price must be paid for all things and for some the price may be too steep.
Jillian the young Eyrian witch is growing up. For years she has run freely in Lucivar's home but suddenly her new maturity reacts to Lucivar's sexuality. Looking outside her home she discovers a young man in her local village that she wants to experiment with. Unfortunately this young man is using compulsion spells and trouble is suddenly knocking on Lucivar and Marian's well ordered lives.
While Lucivar, Daemon, Tersa and Marian still retain the old core of honor and family that was the emotional heart of the original series with the way some of the other characters have grown and are portrayed in the story the same feeling and connection does not seem to exist.  Daemon's daughter Janelle might be dreams made flesh but she is a far cry from her namesake in her character and goodness. She does wear the twilight dawn and Daemon will have to quickly grow from an indulgent father into a strong teacher and guide in order to ensure that Janelle grows up in the tradition of the Sa Diablos who have gone before her.
Surreal is the character who I found the most irritating. When we originally met Surreal in the series she kind of grew on me however in this book I wanted to hit over the head for the block head she is.  She has all the support that she can possibly need yet she acts like a mean girl towards Daemon and a wise woman of the world at other times with every one else. 
As always the author does a masterful job of painting the light and dark of the human psyche and there are some laughs to be had with the demon dead queen of Little Weeble. Karla one of my favorite witches is back as a demon dead witch and god help all of the queens under Lucivar's leash that she's going to be his administrative contact for.  Another favorite is Chaosti who is also now demon dead and still a good friend to Daemon. 
So much has changed and yet some things remain the same. This book definitely reads like a set up book to a new story arc so readers sit, back relax and enjoy the ride.
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Like all of the Black Jewels novels and stories, The Queen’s Bargain is a complex, complicated weave of themes and genres, appearing to be one thing before revealing another before becoming something else entirely. So much of it is light reading, romantic and amusing, and yet there is so much darkness and pain, you’re on an emotional roller-coaster where the hills get higher and the tunnels darker as the story goes on.

What Anne Bishop has so carefully woven together here is a story of relationships, healing, and power. It all begins with Jillian (foster daughter of Lucivar and Marian Yaslana), Lord Dillon (a young Opal training to be an escort), and Lady Blyte (aristo daughter of a Warlord and a witch). In case you forgot that this is, in so many ways, a female-led world, we watch as that bitchy little aristo takes advantage of the young Lord, leads him along, and then not only destroys him, but uses her circle of mean girls to ensure his reputation is ruined wherever he goes. By the time he meets up with Jillian, he has turned the tables, becoming predator instead of prey . . . but he has targeted entirely the wrong woman to ruin, and the wrong family to extort.

The story continues with Marian Yaslana, wife and consort of Prince Lucivar, who is suffering from post-pregancy complications that leave her mysteriously weaker by the day. Theirs is a story of true love and affection, setting the example for what a relationship could (and should) be. While there is a healing aspect to Lord Dillon’s tale as well, Marian is the first character in need of something more than ordinary healing – for her, the outcome is increasingly becoming life-or-death.

Where the story is at its deepest and darkest is with the relationship between Daemon Sadi and Surreal SaDiablo, whose marriage of convenience has become one of love, but which – following a night of play with Daemon as the Sadist – is quickly turning into one of fear and loathing. This time it is Daemon Sadi who is in need of healing, although they both refuse to see that, and their reluctance to admit to the problem, to discuss the distance growing between them, is what escalates a simple biological urge into a sanity-breaking catastrophe that could mean life-and-death for the entire realm.

Of course, this being the Black Jewels saga, nothing is ever quite so simple. Relationships overlap, often driven by lust or physical need, but just as often carried along by deep emotional bonds. Daemon and Lucivar are bonded as much by blood, their shared history, and the power of their jewels, connected in a way that allows them to not only support one another, but protect the women they love. Even deeper than that is everyone’s relationship to Jaenelle Angelline, the dead Queen, known as Witch, whose power (and legacy) continues to resonate through all their lives. It is she who has planted the seeds for healing with Marian, and she who may be the only one who can heal Daemon with The Queen’s Bargain.

The first half of the book is all relationships, which is entirely fine because Bishop writes such great characters, and falling back into the complex hierarchies of the world is as exciting as comforting. It is frustrating at times, especially with Daemon and Surreal (she felt a little ‘off’ here), but it is also amusing and heartfelt. It is when Daemon’s suffering reaches its peak that the roller-coaster of the story finds its darkest tunnel and its highest hill, but what I appreciated most about that is the way Daemon never stops protecting those he loves, even if that deepens his own pain, and even if that means unleashing both heat and rage on the world around him, arousing some and terrifying others.

For a long while I wondered how and why Lord Dillon’s story fit into everything, feeling like a tacked-on subplot for so much of the story, but it turns out to be the catalyst for so much we don’t see coming. The Queen’s Bargain gets significant in the closing chapters, with massive social and political shifts that will surely resonate through whatever stories are to follow. Bringing together all those themes of relationships, healing, and power, Bishop empowers the healing of one relationship to begin a wider, deeper healing for both the world and her characters. I cannot remember the last time I was so invested in a story, so intimately troubled for the characters, or so triumphant about the resolution.
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Mentioned in SBTB's March New Releases, Part 1:

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It was a delight to be back in this world!

The Queen's Bargain was great and it left the door wide open for many more things to come.

Jillian is not a child anymore but she's also not old enough. She starts to wonder about her womanhood and soon Lucivar realizes it. He’s not happy she’s growing up but he’s more worried about Marion not been able to recuperate her strength after the birthing of their last child. He’s worried he’s losing her.

Daemon is having trouble containing his daughter, Jaenelle Saetien's new behavior. She feels special after receiving her birthstone. She misbehaves and loses the trust of Khary who attaches herself to Daemon instead.

Daemon is also having problems with Surreal and he can’t seem to contain his “heat”. The marriage is on the rocks and both of them are keeping the other in the dark about their feelings.

So many things happened in this story. All in one cohesive web. There were a really great couple of surprises. So many good scenes between both brothers too. It was fun seeing them act together as a team.

Surreal was a surprise though. She’s usually ready for battle but more than half of the book, I was ready to scream at her and set her straight. Thankfully in, the last part of the book, she was more herself.

I devoured the Queen's Bargain in one sitting and I was sad to see it ending.

With so many new developments, I'm anticipating we're going to get more books in The Black Jewels series.

And now I hope you enjoy it too. Kiss Kiss

Cliffhanger no

4/5 fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Ace via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This was an exhilarating return to one of my favorite book worlds. This was an extremely emotional story, and I definitely only recommend it for mature readers (as is the case with this whole series).  The characters were so familiar it felt like coming home! Anne Bishop's character development is just so good - I feel like I know each and every one of them. I'm not ready to say goodbye quite yet - so I'm keeping an eye out for the next book!
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