My review of Written in Red, which was the first book of the series. The second, Murder of Crows, I read last year but I don't think ever reviewed. Mostly to this day--and especially after Vision in Silver, I'm ambivalent, though not Mercedes Lackey hostile.

The review of Written in Red had a short character and country directory if you need a refresher.

This may not be organized well, but I have feelings.

vision in silver, book three of the others )
Written in Red: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop. Okay, I'm reconciled to waiting for more in the Black Jewels series, because while the worldbuilding in that one is basically my favorite ever, this is probably Bishop's best work to date.


1.) If you don't like her style at all, you won't like this. But you may want to sample it, just to check.

If you do, she's leveled up in smoothing out a lot of her more annoying tics, and her structuring is better. It's also cleaner prose, and she's a lot, lot, lot better at giving the basics of her world early enough that you don't spend the first seventy pages in a fugue state of wtf. The story starts with a short but very informative history, which I'll get to next, and her baseline universe is both completely understandable and almost laughably simplified once you start reading.

2.) If you don't like her general characterization quirks at all, you won't like this.

If you do, her initial cast is slightly smaller and in the general types she likes, but with some newer additions. If you thought there was any chance there wasn't a major set of power dynamics play going on, dude, come on, this is Bishop. There are internal, external, world level, social level, and various pack level at varying degrees of detail. And she also does something new I'll get to in a minute.

3.) Anne Bishop is the closest thing to a fangirl writing fanfic for her own imagination out there. There are no cock rings. But eventually, there may be knotting. God, I'll honestly be surprised if there isn't.


I thought about how to do this, because she's switched to Alternate History/Alternate Universe/Urban Fantasy with a vengeance, so what can be less personal in pure fantasy might hit differently in something not unlike reality. A lot of the stuff in Black Jewels I honestly would not have liked if it had been anywhere near real world conditions, and also, if the Blood hadn't obviously been the equivalent of alien. So below.

trigger warnings, warnings, etc )


Right. Now review. This is going to be spoilery as hell, so there's your warning. And it's long, because I'm in that kind of mood. And I'm pretty sure there is no logical structure, because well, that would be like, work. I'll probably add some things and do some revision, but really, probably not going to be any more coherent than it is now.

worldbuilding: terra indigene )

worldbuilding: geography, short and confusing )

character list )

review: written in red: a novel of the others by anne bishop )
So my browser at home is throwing me out of all google docs functions--all my browsers--and work is being worky. Argh.

But books! Books are the soul's salvation, the fire's warmth, the cat's pajamas, you get the idea. And yet. It's been a week and I still don't know how to talk about this one.

sort of should have seen it coming )

And maybe more later, IDK, I need another reading to absorb. I didn't hate it, but she did some serious earth-salting there to get everyone moved on and everything. I think this world had tons of room for more growth, so it's disappointing to think there won't be any. Especially more Cassidy. God, I want more Cassidy and Gray.
This is random, but I was re-reading Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop--and tried to decide if there was a colonial aspect to Cassidy going to Dena Nehele, and I have thought on this but most of them are mixed on the race issue, since from my first reading I assumed that the long lived races, or at least most of them, weren't white*, whereas the short lived races very much are, and nothing I've read since has contradicted that--okay, I went off topic, but people who read this, or hey, want to go read the series real fast? You can do that. I can wait for an answer.

so this is odd )

Okay, now just regular squee.

shalador's lady squee again )

Seriously, are the Blood bees? *blank* That can't be right.

In case you, too, want to know the answer, hey, Anne Bishop's page on Amazon! Yes, I really want everyone in the universe to read these so there are more people to talk to about them. THEY MIGHT BE HUMAN BEES!


* I'm using 'non-white' instead of POC because I'm not sure it's appropriate in the way this fantasy series was introduced and developed, since it is really different in pretty much everything in how their societies are structured and arranged.

If using POC would be more appropriate or if 'non-white' is in any way offensive, please tell me and I'll make the change immediately. I had POC first, but since this fantasy doesn't follow anything even close to the white European medieval fantasy model (or the social structure of pretty much anything I've ever read or heard of in my life), and POC is, at least on LJ, a identification term that also has political/social history and connotations, I didn't want to take the term lightly or misuse its real life meaning in context of a fantasy series.
I've been meaning to do a review of this one, because holy shit, this was awesome. Review for the prequel, The Shadow Queen, is here.

books: shalador's lady )

This is a little jumbled, but honestly, I've read it several times and enjoyed it more each time. Cassidy is probably my favorite queen so far by sheer personality and an incredible work ethic and showing how the most important thing about a Queen isn't her power, but her ability to lead by example, to put the interests of her people before herself, and have the ability not only to know what to do and how to do it, but to know how to inspire her people to want to do those things.

Totally a must read.
Recently, due to aforementioned sulking, I've been reading.

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop, latest of the Black Jewels novels. Possibly, this is the least sexually violent of the books so far--I know! Weird!--and it's possibly my favorite (for totally non-related reasons, though I will admit a refreshing lack of flinching). The novel follows two separate plotlines; one about Cassidy, a Rose-jeweled queen who goes to Terreille to become a territory queen at the request of the descendants of the Gray Lady, as their Territory is a mess, and the second following Daemon and Saetan's continuing traumatic flashbacks. Okay, I love Saetan and Daemon and everything, but seriously, the Cassidy stuff is fantastic and I could have lived without the other, but of all the Jewel novels, I'm going to say this one is my favorite. Cassidy is awesome.

a bit more explanation )

House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street by William Cohan, which is self-explanatory on what it is about. I'm not done yet, and I do not even pretend to know how accurate it is so far, but I picked this one up because Fortune had an excerpt a while back and I really loved reading it.

bit more here )

I have not yet read every Georgette Heyer Regency out there, but I am trying. So far:

Cotillion, Grand Sophy, The Nonesuch, The Corinthian, The Convenient Marriage, Frederica, False Colours, The Reluctant Widow. *grimly* I am trying. I will say, Cotillion and The Grand Sophy are my favorite, and I seriously loathed The Convenient Marriage like whoa. Really a lot. Like, DIAF to everyone. They were that annoying. Except oddly, the heroine's reprobate brother. He's kind of dim and sweet. I LIKE THE DIM, SWEET IDIOT WHO GAMBLES TOO MUCH. I mean, that's not a good sign.

Still in progress:

Antony and Cleopatra: A Novel by Colleen McCullough. I sort of need to be in a melodramatic mood to read the Masters of Rome series. Mostly because it just gets. More. Crazy. With. Every. Book. And people? I've been reading this series since I was fifteen years old. I have been reading this series over half my life. I also need to replace my paperback version of The First Man in Rome because it is now in several parts. In the inside cover is my name and the date I bought it. I treasure that.

...actually, I need to replace most of them, come to think. My mother borrowed these nad well, yeah.

Earth's Magic by Pamela Service, the YA King Arthur in the Post-Apocalyptic Future novels. Actually, in progress is it's prequel, Yesterday's Magic. There was this--thing. Wiht my bed and timespace.

A Short History of the Jewish People by Raymond P. Scheindlin. This one got lost for a while. it's a long and terrible story involving my bed and a strange series of events. (And timespace.)

Not Read Yet, Still Bracing Self:

Unmasked: An Erotic Tale of the Phantom of the Opera (I hate myself)
Master: An Erotic Novel of the Count of Monte Cristo (Don't judge me.)
House of Leaves (Like, I keep scaring myself with this one. IDEK.)
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (This is part of the terrible story involving my bed and a strange series of events. Possibly there is a timespace disturbance underneath? IDK.)

There is also a small pile of read Jane Austen sequels that make me hate myself, but I feel I should review them to warn people away. Some people have drugs. I have Jane Austen sequels as my kryptonite. Even when they are bad. Very, very bad.
If you think of The Batshit like you think of The Force, it's a lot easier to understand why people get taken with it so often.

It's like--some days, you get up, and there's no stirrings in The Batshit at all, and you go about your day as one does. And then some days, you are staring at your livejournal thinking, I bet I can totally alienate ten people before lunch. And you're not sure why. Nor are you sure you are thinking clearly. Because you know, you're probably not. No, why would I be talking about me for the last four hours?

Leaving off the horror of Prequel canon (and don't we all want to?), I think it's a fairly good theory. Some are strong with it, some are weak with it, some get hit with it every so often and some have no idea they have it until like, they're floating spaceships and Yoda and trying to Lizzie Borden or Borgia someone's ass. Virtually speaking.


Tangled Web by Anne Bishop, the new Black Jewels novel, did indeed scare me. I started when amazon delivered at six pm, finished at ten-ish that evening (it's a nice, fast read), and spent the rest of the night totally freaked out by every dark corner of the house.

Anyone read yet? Anyone still vaguely freaked out? Anyone kinda wonder? I kind of want to do a post on it, but I don't want to spoil anyone either.
Hey. Thought. As The Black Jewels aren't on the level of Harry Potter universal squee--anyone interested in a squee day after the new book is released in March?

...I do find it kind of comforting that at least in this, I will not have to be terrified of my flist for a week beforehand in terror of spoilers. *mulls*

Anyway, comment if interested?
Originally, this was goign to be a list of things that annoyed me, but I erased that because I suddenly realized that what I really wanted to do was to randomly wander through my most recent re-reading of The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop.

To preface: this is probably my favorite fantasy series ever. I mean, the flaws are there, and I can cheerfully name them off, but the truth is, I don't really care. The sheer--I don't have the right word? Audacity? Utter insanity?--glee. This writer who said, hmm. So I can do anything, right? Awesome. Let me start with this list of totally random stuff and see what happens.

So below. Points of random pondering, since I finally read the Dreams Made Flesh in June and have re-read them all to the point that I no longer have a copy of Heir to the Darkness. I mean, I do? And it is in pieces gently cradled on my bookshelf. I have read it that many times.

1. God, Why Does Luthvian live so damn long? )

2. so, thematically, sexual abuse is a problem )

3. In Some Places, We'd Just Call Her Crazy )

4. so where is this going when we talk about what happens at night in Eyrien hunting camps? )

5. so really, when you think about it, rut seems kind of anti-evolutionary )

And I rambled long enough. *blows out breath*

Still my favorite books. *happy*

ETA: Tangled Webs comes out in March 2008! Available for pre-order from Amazon! AND THERE IS NO FREAKING TEASER ON WHAT IT IS ABOUT. I AM GOING TO HAVE A BREAKDOWN.

Er. Carry on.
So after setting [ profile] svmadelyn free in The Republic of Pemberley, I suspected that it would not be the last I heard of Jane Austen fanfic. Further, I have been accosted with such gems of fanficcal giddiness that I cannot even describe.

A conversation now is not complete without a quote that is almost guaranteed to make me twitch for poor Jane, who probably had no idea that one day, a host of fangirls would variate the eternal love of Elizabeth and Darcy in ways that would make both author and characters blush exceeding.

I'm still waiting for Prostitute!Elizabeth and Whoremaster!Darcy living on the wild streets of Drury Lane. I hope.

But that does lead to my last book purchases, which is kind of half-embarrassing, half-amusing, where wandering through the A-B section, I picked up Linda Berdoll's Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife and Darcy and Elizabeth: Days and Nights at Pemberley.

the word of the day is *bawdy* )

Next up, Sebastian. From Anne Bishop, I have learned more about male castration than I ever wished to know. I am curious what she will do with an incubus who is bored with sex. For an author whose first three books were rife with sexual politics, sensuality, and lust, there was precious little actual sex. No, really, think back on the trilogy--how many times did anyone actually get naked and sweaty? Penises were around a lot, but not so much what they were used for other than torture of a male, which has to say something, though I'm not sure what. I'm wondering what she can make of an incubus. Reminds me of LKH's Narcissus in Chains, where two hundred pages of foreplay managed to produce barely one good sexual encounter, except Anne is, you know, *a better writer* and her Mary Sue is at least supposed to be one by virtue of how she was created, which was a novel way to go about it and still keeps the books at the top of my rotation for re-reading.

Um, yeah, stopping now. I'm kind of on a post Darcy and Elizabeth high. That was *fun*.
So there comes a time when you realize that your spammers possibly know more about you that your family does.

Case in point: most recent headers, received today:

for the people who don't get pornographic spam--are there any of you out there? )

So to give a breakdown of my spam.

Viagara's up, up, up, again, and so, apparently, are a large number of extremely repressed college males who need to be spanked, taught a lesson, or deflowered, take your pick. Narcotics are making a serious comeback, offered from Mexico, Canada, and a country I'm not convinced exists in this particular dimension. No Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, but several highly questionable business offers. Someone desperately wants me to know stock prices and how I should buy, buy, buy now.

My breasts and orgasms are being left alone, but strange offers from bored househusbands have come to my attention, and a distrubing number of promises to remove my wrinkles.

*looks at spam* I do *not* have wrinkles.

Also, a few casinos, a couple of herbal remedies, and a few too many headers that don't actually spell anything readable, though if you squint and read them backwards--no. They still don't make sense.

Fictional Adventures

Usually, I buy new authors only after I've read a page or two in to see what I'm dealing with. Dark Father, which is probably one of the worst horror novels in the history of mankind, and Damon both gave me two things--a fairly traumatizing look at sex, and a raging headache trying to figure out the plot at a very young age. You know there's a basic wrongness to a book when you're not even able to giggle guiltily about reading omgsex!!!1!, because you're just that confused about how everyone got to this situation. And to be honest to myself, my primary focus wasn't the sex--one promised me vampires, the other promised me an evil child around my age, and let me point out, neither of those expectations were fulfilled.

funny thing about Damon though )

Anyway, I picked out Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy, since I tend to trust female authors more than male when I want something more character driven in my fantasy/sci-fi. It didn't look too scary. It had a nice cover and I read the backs and thought, I shall be wild and crazy and buy the whole series! Since actually, I have found it is a guarantee that if I don't *right then*, I will never, ever find the rest of the books again.

I'm still not sure what the author was going for. I'm almost sure there's some really great symbolic meaning, or a great mythological moment, behind her--unusual choices, that me, being less well-read in Well-Read Literature than many, just wasn't getting.

The problem really started when I started saying the namse out loud.

Okay, here's the thing. What I *read* isn't necessarily related to verbal. So a written word is, to me, a written *word*. I won't actually *get* what I'm calling these characters unless I say it out loud, or something in the book connects me.

Such as, it took me a really, really, *really* long time to recongize the names of the main cast. Say, book two.

i'm an idiot )

Oh look, another ad for Viagara in my inbox.


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