Cover Image: The Queen's Weapons

The Queen's Weapons

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Member Reviews

4.5 stars

The 11th book in Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series picks up about 10 years after The Queen's Bargain leaves off with choice and consequence being the main theme. Using the past as a marker. Bishop continues to pay homage to family and family while addressing racism, bigotry, and classism with her usual evocative mixture of erotic humor and drama.  Fans who have fallen off the wagon after Twilight Dawn may want to jump back on because Bishop, in her own way, is closing the circle. I  am excited for book 12.
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The Queen’s Weapons by Anne Bishop is the 11th book in her fantastic Black Jewels series. I am a huge fan of Anne Bishop, as I have read all her series.  Black Jewels has always been one of my favorite all time series, and every time Anne gives us a new book, I cannot wait to savor it.  The Queen’s Weapons was such a fantastic read, I could not put the book down, as this was a masterpiece similar to book 2 and 3 of the initial trilogy.  
Daemonar Yaslana, Lucivar’s son, who is now old enough to join his father and uncle in protecting their family against any enemies.  When he is approached by a young queen with threats of sexual obedience, a red flag arises and he tells his father, who in turn alerts Daemon. Hundreds of years have passed when the war against the evil female enemies from Terreille were destroyed, but some things are beginning to reappear, and they go on alert.  

Jaenelle Saetien, Daemon and Surreal’s daughter, wants to go the same school that her cousin Titian is going to learn art; another young Queen (Zoey), very well liked, and has become close to Titian will also attend. In a short time, Jaenelle befriends some of the girls, who are not very nice, but she finds herself wanting to be part of their group, and keeps her distance from her cousin and Zoey.  I will say that in this entire story, I did not like Jaenelle Saetien, as she became very much like her new friends, a b***h. Her treatment of her mother, Surreal was terrible, and Janelle thought nothing of being nasty, and pushing her mother away, and just about alienating everyone, accept her new friends. Daemonar, worried about his sister at the school, decides to enroll, so that he can protect her.  

What follows is Daemon, Lucivar, Surreal and Daemonar begin to investigate what is happening, and become centered on Jaenelle’s friends, both girls and boys, and the danger escalates, especially after Jaenelle defends them as doing nothing wrong.  Zoey, who is destined to become a major Queen, is very much in danger by this group that is called the Coven of Malice. But to get to Zoey, the coven push Jaenelle to have a party bringing everyone together, and be friends; which is far from the truth.

The last half of the book was sensational, exciting, intense, with heart shattering moments that do not allow you to put the book down, as you become totally enthralled.  I will say I absolutely loved seeing our favorites come forth to fight a new battle, as it was great to not only have Daemon, Lucivar, Surreal, Tersa, Marian, but I also loved seeing Karla play a bigger part, especially Jaenelle (Witch) to help them, and of course, the return of kindred. It has always been a joy to spend time with these wonderful strong characters written by Bishop. 
The battle to destroy the evil that is rising, was an amazing race to the finish that I held my breath throughout.  They all join hands to stop the destruction, and it is Daemon, as the High Lord of Hell, who will make them pay their debts. How far will he go?  To tell too much more would be spoilers, and I do not want to ruin it for you, as this is a must read. I loved that the last few chapters gave us a look at what happens to those who survived, and what the future holds for all of them.

Anne Bishop not only creates such wonderful leading characters, her secondary characters continue to be to be equally memorable. Black Jewels has always been one of my top favorites, especially all those people we loved, and Anne Bishop continues to bring joy to our lives with these fantastic characters. Bravo to Anne Bishop for giving us another masterpiece in this series.  I want more.
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It’s not even close to a secret that I adore the Black Jewels novels. I love the characters, I love the world, and I often turn to these books when I’m in need of a comfort re-read. And while I definitely had some issues with the previous novel, The Queen’s Bargain (mostly in that one of the characters kept doing things she absolutely knew very well to not do), I still overall enjoyed it. And I fully expected to enjoy this latest offering in the series, The Queen’s Weapons, just as much.

The Queen’s Weapons is set a good few years after The Queen’s Bargain, with Jaenelle Saetien and Daemonar fast growing up and showing just who they’re going to be as adults. In Daemonar’s case, he’s definitely turning into the model of a Warlord Prince, very much like this father. In Jaenelle Saetien’s case… It’s a lot more complicated, as she quite frankly grows up to be quite the brat, convinced that the only way to come into her own is to rebel against very idea of her namesake, the Witch and Queen that everyone around her knew and loved. This is understandable pretty damn upsetting to Surreal and Daemon, but it only gets worse when signs emerge that the taint, once thought wiped out, has set down in Kaeleer and is starting to grow and corrupt once more.

I admit, when I first read the description of this book many months ago, I had to raise a skeptical eyebrow. In the original trilogy, it was a huge deal when Jaenelle sacrificed herself and her power to wipe out the taint that was threatening the Blood. It was a major event that wiped out most of the Blood across an entire Realm. And here it’s just, “Oh yeah, that thing. Yup, it’s back.” I was a little bit wary of how this would be handled. Not because I thought Bishop couldn’t do such a concept justice, but because I’ve seen authors, over time, wanting to write more in their beloved worlds but lacking a solid idea for a story, and so just bringing back a once-vanquished evil. Even if it made no sense.

But thankfully, it did make sense here. A reason was given for the taint’s reemergence, and that reason stands up to scrutiny. That was quite a relief!

While the Black Jewels series started off with so very much abuse and torture and things that deserve a buttload of trigger warnings, a lot of those things were absent in later books. Their echoes were still felt, of course, because one doesn’t recover from centuries of abuse, for instance, just because they’re now in a happy relationship. Scars are still there, they don’t fade so easily. But in terms of scenes of active abuse and assault? No, they faded from a lot of the text in future books, which likely made said books a bit more approachable for new readers. (Someone could read Cassidy’s duology, The Shadow Queen and Shalador’s Lady, for instance, without having read the core trilogy and without needing so many of those trigger warnings.) It’s sometimes easy to forget that the series started with a corrupt culture filled with violence and rape. And since The Queen’s Weapons deals with the taint coming back, I feel it’s worth pointing out that some of those issues do rear their ugly heads once again, and it’s worth warning people that yes, this book does contain rape, and abuse, and a very unsettling scene in which a kitten is left to die. You might well need to know that before picking it up.

And it’s with that context that we see a depiction of someone who knows very well that such things are wrong, but who has her own agenda and is willing to turn a blind eye to some things, to make excuses, if those things don’t like up with what she wants. Jaenelle Saetien clung to the wrong sort of people, convinced that they weren’t using her and weren’t malicious and weren’t behind any of the increasingly concerning instances of abuse, because she needed something that she was convinced only they could provide. She’s a character study in desperation and willful ignorance.

Much as I hate to say it, I could relate a bit to Jaenelle Saetien’s concerns about living in somebody’s shadow. It’s something I’ve had to confront in my life as well, and that I still struggle with at times, so even when I hated who she was becoming and how she was behaving, when things switched to her viewpoint and we got a look at her thoughts and emotions, I couldn’t help but remember how many times I had felt the same way. It made me reflect on how I could well have ended up the same way, someone who was willing to overlook terrible things in order to be accepted by people who had no expectations of me. There but for the grace of something-or-other, I suppose. I wouldn’t say that Jaenelle Saetien is a bad person, so much as she’s someone who could easily become so, if not handled the right way. She balanced on the edge of a very particular knife, and it took extraordinary events to determine which side of that knife she’d end up on.

I do want to take a moment to mention something in particular here. I don’t know if it was intended this way or not, but the twisted nostalgia for Hayllian items and pieces of Dorothea’s abusive rule struck me as analogous to the way some people have this weird idealized nostalgia for times past, especially when it comes to Nazi propaganda and far-right ideology. A conviction that “the right sort of people” should be in power, that it’s fine to push others down if it comparatively raises up you and yours, you see that mentality expressed a lot in people who won’t call themselves racist, no, but will express that it’s “those people” who are keeping everyone else down. There are people out there who seek out and collect Nazi memorabilia, with an eye to glorifying the Nazi regime and all of its atrocities. Atrocities, of course, against “the wrong people.” I can’t say for sure if this was Bishop’s specific intent here, but it sure read that way to me. And given that Daemon et al are the good guys of the story, the ones we’re supposed to empathize with and agree with, and they’re all vehemently against bringing back the sort of culture that brought torture and death to themselves and those they loved… Yeah, it’s not hard to see which side of the line we’re supposed to stand on.

The Queen’s Weapons addressed many of the smaller issues that I encountered in The Queen’s Bargain, which I was happy to see. Chiefly, the relationship between Surreal and Daemon. I won’t lie here — I have never been a fan of those two together. I can see why they stayed together once Jaenelle Saetien came into the picture, absolutely, but the situation that led to it… Eh, I have strong feelings about it, and I may get around to discussing them someday. Either way, a good deal of the friction in the previous novel stemmed from their relationship, and from both of them trying to be who they weren’t, especially to each other. Especially after Daemon learned of Witch’s continued presence. But the way things worked out in The Queen’s Weapons felt satisfying. It felt like they figured themselves and each other out, and were prepared to move forward with what that knowledge meant. It might not be a happy conclusion, per se, but it was a very satisfying one.

As always with these books, there’s so much that I want to say, much of which can’t be fit into a review because then it would devolve into semi-nonsensical, “Ooh, does this mean that?” and, “So siddown and lemme tell y’all my theories about this scene!” What I can say for certain is that it was wonderful to return, once again, to a world I love and characters I adore, to walk a while in the Shadow Realm and revel in Bishop’s delicious dark fantasy narrative. It was a treat to see the younger characters mature and hold their own in the story. It’s a book I absolutely will reread, and discuss at length with my partner (because we’re both huge geeks for this series). Even moreso than The Queen’s Bargain, The Queen’s Weapons is a worthy addition to the series that holds a beloved place in my life, and I can absolutely recommend it to other fans of the series.
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It is always fun to visit the world of the Black Jewels. This has all the elements the series is famous for. The action fits the characters and the world they live in. There is not a lot of romance here, there is a lot about raising teens when their Father is the most powerful man alive. That drives the action and the tension if often over the top. I found myself wanting to yell just do what is right. Did not help.
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I might be biased, because I love this series so much, but this felt like a homecoming. I wasn't as comfortable with The Queen's Bargain as I was with this book.

Anne Bishop creates such tension and a sense of foreboding in both the series I love, Black Jewels and The Others that you end up holding your breath and biting your nails a lot throughout her books.

The Queen's Weapons has the old school feel. Daemon is the most badass, vicious antihero along with Lucivar and Surreal, but baby Daemonar is all grown up here along with Lucivar's daughter Titian and Daemon and Surreal's daughter Jaenelle Saetien.

This book is about the younger generation growing up and meeting their share of new challenges. Jaenelle Angeline is a distant fairytale and people are slowly forgetting about her ways allowing the old corruption from Teureille to slowly creep back. The old guard is seeing all this, they are seeing the signs in tangled webs, but they need time to collect all the evidence, especially because their children are right in the center of it all and might not survive the storm.

Jaenelle is the problem child in this all. You could see the signs in the previous books, but she is worse as a teenager and both her parents are at a loss. She is being manipulated and distances herself from everyone but her new friends because she has been so spoiled and sheltered she can not see the wrongness of what she is doing until it's too late. 

This is a fantastic read, majorly because all our beloved characters are returning to who they really are and draw their lines in the sand. Also, justice prevails in spectacular fashion! Loved it, recommended to all the fans.

 If you want to know what the series is about, start with Daughter of The Blood, but beware, there are tons of triggers.
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History has this strange habit of repeating itself. However, there are some who want to keep that from happening again.
The story centers on Daemonar Yaslana – Lucivar’s firstborn – transitioning into a Warlord Prince. He has the promise to be just as deadly as his father and uncle. However, the new taint in their world puts him to the test.
It also focuses on Jaenelle Saetien – Daemon and Surreal’s daughter. For most of the book, I really could not stand her, which disappointed me. I had such high hopes for her character because A) she’s Daemon’s daughter and B) She bears the name Jaenelle.
I understand some of her reasons for acting out. It is always difficult and stressful living in another’s shadow. She just wanted something only she stood out on. Unfortunately, Jaenelle the Second chose the wrong path. Though, my feelings towards her started to change when she reformed on her own.
I wish Witch would have interacted with the girl more. In some ways, I understand why she did not. 
I really did not care for Zoey’s character. It just felt like she was a watered down Jaenelle Angelline. So it fell flat with me. She annoyed me just as much as Jaenelle the Second. 
Daemon made the book for me. His behavior reminded me of the first trilogy. He is just as sensual and deadly as his younger years, with a little more bite. It still jarred me that he and Surreal are married. I could never back that pairing. I feel Surreal got the short end on that. She deserved someone to love her whole heartedly.
Asides the few nitpicks, the book really captured me. I stayed up long into the night to read more, even knowing I had work in the morning. I just had to find out what happened.
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Although I may need to give this a second read to let it all sink deeper in, right now, I can say that this is a superb addition to the Black Jewels series. This book revolves mainly around Jaenelle Saetien’s life. She is now more than several centuries old but still a; well, let's say, a young adult. She has not yet made her offering, so she still has only her Twilights Dawn jewel. She has turned into a right little b*itch, and it gets worse as the book progresses. But you'll see why and it's a doozy of a plot twist!

If you've kept up with the whole series, don't do as I did and re-read The Queen's Bargain (The Black Jewels #10) by Anne Bishop since it will make the first, oh, maybe 10% of this book boring. There is a lot of repetition about Surreal and Daemons' marriage and 'the heat'. A conflict that does seem to get resolved in this book.

This book is definitely a must-read for those who love The Jewels series and will definitely be going on my comfort read shelf. You know the one I mean- the books that you just read for pure enjoyment when nothing else seems to suit!

*ARC supplied by the publisher, the author, and NetGalley. Thank you.
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As the first book in the series, Daughter of the Blood, begins with a prologue from Tersa – the only point in any book in the series where Bishop uses first-person instead of third- – it is achingly poignant and appropriate that this, which is most likely the last Black Jewels book, starts with a prologue about Tersa as well. Both Daughter of the Blood and Queen’s Weapons begin with Tersa seeing Witch, but now we’ve come full circle from where we began, now, in Weapons, Witch is there to answer.

There’s just something…so beautiful, about that. The contrast between Tersa being the one to foretell Witch’s coming, thousands of years ago – and now, where Tersa speaks to Witch directly, witch to Witch, as maybe no one else can.

And that’s just the prologue.

I have so many thoughts about this book – thoughts that are difficult to write about without giving away too much of the story. But ultimately, this really is a book about coming full circle from where the Black Jewels series began. We started with Dorothea and Hekatah, and saw them brought down – and now the story cycles ’round again to find another twisted witch, rising but still hidden, spreading an old, familiar poison.

In choosing this particular plotline – in choosing to tell this story specifically – Bishop also manages to justify some aspects of her worldbuilding that always struck me as…not the best. The ridiculously long lives of her long-lived races are finally justified, as we see how important it is that there are those still living who have seen this kind of evil before – who are watchful for it. History repeats itself all too easily when you live maybe 100 years; it only takes a century or two for old travesties to be forgotten, or softened, or even idealised. And that’s where the long-lived races of the Blood step in, if they’re taking their responsibilities seriously, because it takes more than a few centuries for them to forget. So in this way, we see how the two kinds of peoples – long-lived and short- – balance each other; innovation and change comes faster from people who don’t live as long, while the long memories of those who live millennia keep the horrors of history from repeating themselves.

As a long-time fan, and someone who’s spent many hours analysing and debating the tiniest details of these books, I also feel like the things which affect or come out of the characters’ personal lives all reach a pretty logical conclusion. Probably the most important plotline of Queen’s Bargain was the breakdown of Daemon and Surreal’s marriage, which: yeah, saw that coming, honestly. I was never comfortable with the two of them being paired together; it felt so forced and out of character for them both. In Queen’s Weapons, their relationship changes into something far healthier, and which feels much more natural for them both. Equally, a major aspect of Queen’s Weapons is Jaenelle Saetian, Daemon and Surreal’s daughter, and the ways in which she moves from bratty child to genuinely toxic adolescent. At first I took this to just be the direction Bishop chose to take the story – but sitting down and thinking about it, it feels like a foregone conclusion to me that Daemon and Surreal wouldn’t be the best parents. What does either one of them know about children? And after the nightmares the two of them lived through, it’s extremely believable to me that they might go too far in the opposite direction and leave Jaenelle Saetian too sheltered to appreciate what she has. It’s not that they’re bad parents as such, so much as, in trying to give their daughter the perfect childhood – in protecting her from the truth of their own pasts – they accidentally give her a blind-spot when it comes to awful people.

And a pretty huge sense of entitlement.

I do struggle with this a bit, because it is hard to accept that an adolescence that lasts centuries is enough to justify bratty attitudes. It’s emphasised again and again that the long-lived races have short bursts of development and then long plateaus where they don’t grow physically or emotionally…but does that mean any kind of critique bounces off someone within one of those plateaus? Is Jaenelle Saetian biologically incapable of internalising the criticisms of her behaviour – critiques that have been coming for centuries – because she’s in one of those plateaus? Is personal growth impossible during the developmental plateaus? If that’s the case, surely the method of raising children would be drastically different than anything we human readers would recognise?

And I mean, change is clearly not impossible, because Jaenelle Saetian does change – it’s just that she changes for the worst. So…I have a bit of trouble with this.

I think it’s just one of those things you have to accept in a story, and move on. Especially when it would have been so easy, and so expected, to idealise Daemon and Surreal’s daughter – to have made her perfect – there is something to be said about Bishop choosing to go the other way with the character. It’s disappointing in the sense that I want all the characters to be happy forever, but it’s also more realistic.

Another thing that really has to be discussed is Bishop’s choice to put a F/F relationship front and center. I’m not going to talk about which characters turn out to be queer; you’ll have to wait and read the book yourself for that. But one of the things that has made me most unhappy about the Black Jewels series as a queer reader – besides the very, very rigid gender binary – is the fact that, until now, every openly queer character has ended up physically disabled. Have been, in fact, the only characters to come out of the various series of events with life-changing physical damage. (If they weren’t the only ones, it wouldn’t be an issue – bad things happen in wars, people get hurt, etc. But when it only happens to your queer characters? Hmm.) I doubt that Bishop is or was deliberately homophobic, but it’s hard not to read about Karla and Rainer and see unconscious, internalised homophobia. It’s a variety of the Bury Your Gays trope, for sure.

And I think that either Bishop realised that, or someone told her and she listened, because…she finally gives us openly, on-page queer characters who are not only happily in love, but make it through the final pages (physically) undamaged. I really wish the not-physical damage could have been aimed at another character, but at least it’s made clear that the character in question is going to be okay. And it’s just as clear that the characters we love and care about? Don’t give a damn whether someone is queer or not. (Which could be heavily inferred from Karla and Rainier, but we never saw either of them with a partner, and yes, knowing someone’s queer and seeing them in a queer relationship are two different things. Lucivar could have been okay with Karla, but still been weirded out if she dated another woman. But Bishop makes it very clear that no, Lucivar and Daemon and everyone else have no problem with queerness in any form.)

That’s a big deal. It is. Knowing that this world I’ve loved so much for so long has space in it for queer people? Getting a Black Jewels story where the narrative doesn’t punish someone for being gay? It is a big deal.

I had to put the book down and cry for a while. Happy tears! But still. It matters.

Family – its importance, it’s preciousness, all the various forms it can take – has always been a major theme of this series. And I have already seen, in a couple of other early reviews, critique about the way in which a particular family bond breaks in this book. I can only assume those reviewers came from wonderfully happy families; as for me, I’m grateful to Bishop for the case study in how family bonds can be shattered. It’s a relief to finally see someone say, when something is wrong, it is your responsibility to draw the line – even if there are people you love on the other side of it. I can’t be the only one to be sick and tired of seeing family relations idealised and gilded. Folx, sometimes they’re just not. We saw that books and books ago with Jaenelle’s blood-relatives, and as much as I love the SaDiablo family, I’m glad that they can still draw the line even when one of their own is on the other side. It was easy to hate Jaenelle’s relatives; naming them the enemy didn’t require a lot of soul-searching. Drawing the line against people you love, though? That’s harder. Sometimes it’s impossible.

But sometimes it’s necessary. And as someone who’s had to do that, as someone who loves plenty of other people who’ve had to do that… As painful as it is, I’m still happy to see it in one of my favourite series. I’m happy for the message that doing right is more important than who shares your blood – that it’s more important than love.

This isn’t the first time Bishop’s chosen to write that message – we saw it in Shalador’s Lady, in the decision Theran finally had to make about Kermilla: sometimes love and what’s right aren’t the same, aren’t in sync, and when that happens? You have to choose what’s right. Not love. And that’s not a message I can recall seeing in any other books, in any films or tv shows. More usually, love is what helps people to do the right thing; the ‘power of love’ is what gives them the strength to do what’s right but also hard. We’re very rarely shown instances where love and rightness are in conflict. And as I said, I can’t think of any other example where someone has to choose doing right over who they love; not in quite this way.

Painful as it is, I’m happy to see it. I want more people to think about it, and think hard. Because when push comes to shove, you do need to choose right over love.

…I didn’t mean for that to rhyme, but it’s not a bad little mantra, is it?

Perhaps just as importantly, even if it’s just as bittersweet, is the arc in Queen’s Weapons that explores the limits of familial love; the way in which parents are people too, who can be hurt like anyone else. I’m a very fierce proponent of parental responsibilities, but there’s a pretty significant difference between abandoning your child, and continuing to care and provide for them while no longer loving them the way you used to. Words wound, and hearts can break over familial love just as easily as they can be broken by romantic love – but I would argue that familial heartbreak is much harder to heal. It’s something I never see discussed, so again, I’m glad to see it showcased in this book, even if my heart broke for the characters involved.

All of this is wrapped up in a story that, typically of Bishop’s stories, hooks you in and keeps you. I didn’t put Queen’s Weapons down for two days, because Bishop’s signature addictive prose? Is here on full display. I’ve never been able to dissect and analyse her writing style, what it is about it that strikes just the right tone to completely hypnotise the reader – but she’s still got that X factor. There were moments that had me rolling around on the bed giggling, and others that made me tear up; scenes that gave me chills and lines that made me want to punch the air with triumph. One scene (and you’ll know it when you get to it) had me hugging my kitten very tightly indeed. Regardless, at no point could I tear my eyes away from the pages.

Not that I ever actually wanted to.

The Queen’s Weapons is not the book I expected it to be, but that’s because my expectations were set too low. Bishop surpasses herself in crafting, at last, the perfect happy ending: not some forced attempt at a white-picket-fence, but the strange, unconventional, heartwarming ending that fits these strange, unconventional, heartwarming characters. The Addams family wouldn’t know what to do with a white picket fence, and neither would the SaDiablos. They don’t need or want one, and Bishop doesn’t give it to them. This time, she gives them something perfect. Bittersweet, yes, but perfect.

This is not the book I expected. It’s definitely the one I didn’t know I wanted. But it is very much the book I, and these characters, needed.
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Well, I love this series so much! I wasn't planning on reading any of these books, but then I was approved for The Queen's Weapons, and I loved it so much, and I was so nostalgic for the original trilogy, that I had to reread it again just over a year later! I did skip over parts, Surreal and Dorothea's mainly. I skipped the most from Blood, a bit from Shadows, and none from Darkness, because everything was gearing up for the ending!

The Queen's Weapons, oh, was it unexpected! I'm not sure if it's technically spoilers, but yeah, I wasn't expecting that! But it worked really well with the story, it's about the younger generation growing up, and of the taint coming back to the Blood. Of Jaenelle Saetien's struggle with being named after Jaenelle Angelline, and of never doing anything original. 

I'm a bit conflicted on the ending, but not for the same reason that I've seen other people not totally love it. Because it's just a little sad, how everything wrapped up. And the implications of one discovery. So it's just a little sad, and I would love to have a 12th entry, at least after her 2022 Other's book!

One thing that I loved about rereading these books, is that one of the characters that Queen's Weapons deals with, is briefly mentioned in Darkness. So that automatically made it worth it, to see this character's first appearance! Because I'd totally forgotten about it, since it was so brief.

I have to say, I teared up at that one scene in Darkness, when the demon dead were going to the nets. Sure, they've been demon dead for so many years, but darn it, it still makes me a bit sad! Especially knowing how things continue in the series, well, of 11 books, they're only in 3, it's just a bit sad to me! But that is life, and death in this world!

I absolutely loved these books, and I just really need to read the rest of Anne Bishop's books!
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When it comes to the Dark Jewels Series, the original trilogy is the best.  Returning to this world is mixed because I love the characters, specifically Daemon and Lucivar.  When Twilight's Dawn came out, I cried with loss and grief because it was the end of an era and it came to a beautiful closure.  So it was surprising to see The Queen's Bargain come out and bring back a beloved character.  It also foreshadowed the events in this book, the Queen's Weapons.  This is not a standalone book.  It is best to read at least the first 3 books in this series and the Queen's Bargain before reading this book.

I am mixed. I remember when Twilight's Dawn came out and there was an uproar of angry fans demanding to know how it is possible that Daemon and Surreal not only married but had a child.  They were angry and felt this should never have happened.  Whilst I was surprised by the turn of events, I thought it was beautifully done.  In the last book and this book, it seems Ms. Bishop is catering to the loud, noisy fans that ranted about that turn of events and demanded a re-do.  What is this, the Marvel Universe?  I guess so.

What did I like about this story?  I loved Daemon and his sexuality.  No lie.  I would be the embarrassing female trying to contain myself if he walked by with all his erotic and sensual masculinity.  Plus his sadism is my type so I'd be all over that.  I'd shove Surreal so hard to the side to jump at Daemon and unfortunately get him so pissed, he'd probably kill me.  But what a way to go.

I loved the Scelties because they are the most adorable and I love how they herd humans.  I am not sure I would want a special friend Sceltie, but it would be educational.  Seeing Daemonar grow up into a fine and upstanding young man makes my heart sing.  He was an ornery little boy now a strong and moral warrior. 

I am surprised and liked how Ms. Bishop shows the dangers of helicopter parents and perhaps parents that overprotect their child.  There must be some kind of balance.  And oddly it is Lucivar and Marion who are the good balance.  My theories as to why this couple is better than others is not going to be popular so I am going to abstain from vocalizing it.  I am thrilled that there are consequences to actions and that Ms. Bishop clearly shows that there are debts owed and they will be paid in blood.  The social commentaries of this story mirror quite a bit of today's society that it appeals to me.  Unlike reality, in this book, those who are behaving badly are taken to task.  I liked how it showed those who thought they are superior and above the law are not protected by money.  I loved how the crappy teachers who only focused on their own agendas and greed were executed.  This all appeases my thirst for vengeance.  

I found it to be interesting that a name could impact a person so much.  That a person gifted with a great name could become so petty, jealous and and epic failure.  I am disappointed and I am not thrilled with this turn of events even though it was hinted at in the last book.  

I am mixed how the taint of the Hayllian way comes back.  I am pleased by how Ms. Bishop writes this so that it shows why and how history repeats itself.  It is an excellent example of why our world today is acting the way it is and it also depresses and disappoints me.  Not that it was written this way, that in reality we are falling in the same trap and blindly following Delora/Dorothea wanna-bes.

What bothers me about this story is the intentional break of Surreal and Daemon and the return of a Queen who was not to ever return.  It is as if the angry vocal fans demanded it; Ms. Bishop caved and tried her best to write it in a way that made sense.  What ended up happening is basically a Queen of Darkness reboot 2.0 book without the intensity, complexity, and sensuality.  There is still emotion but instead of sadness and fear, it is more disgust and disappointment invoked.

I did love the characters in this book and I enjoyed it so much I ended reading it to the wee hours of the money and experienced a major book hangover.  This fantasy is recommended to readers who enjoy sensual powerful men who are the quintessential renaissance man ... well read, thoughtful, strongly masculine, loyal, and able to cook and chivalrous to a fault.
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