In Dena Nehele, Theran Grayhaven continues to struggle as First Escort to Cassidy, the Rose Jewelled Queen. Only able to see her shortcomings he clashes with the rest of the court, unable to see what they see or experience the bond that called them to serve in the first place. When an unexpected and unwelcome visitor turns up at Grayhaven, Theran is startled to find he has that bond with her and believes he has found the Queen meant to rule, instead of Cassidy. Cassidy is not happy and the rest of her first circle are outraged when they realise the history Cassidy and the feckless Kermilla have and instinctively move to protect their Queen. Theran wanted a Queen from Kaeleer who could teach them protocol and the old ways of the Blood, before Dorotea’s taint crushed so much of Terreille. He can’t accept that what he wants and what the territory needs are two different things. If he can’t accept Cassidy and her ruling, everything he wanted for Dena Nehele would be lost, including the land itself.
I have nothing but love for any book or story set in the Black Jewels Universe. Right from Daughter of the Blood, the first book in the series I was hooked on the characters and the the rich dark world that the three realms made up. Yet another series I need to re-read and review as I go. I can’t recommend them highly enough, seriously! This review might be a little confusing if you’ve not read any of the books as the titles and terms are unique to Anne Bishop’s work. Another reason to read them!
Shalador’s Lady follows straight on from The Shadow Queen and while sad, it wasn’t surprising that Theran couldn’t get his act together enough to realise that while Cassidy might not be the Queen he wanted, she was the Queen that Dena Nehele needed. It was a pleasure to witness Cassidy’s continued growth into a strong Queen and prove her ability to rule, despite the light jewels she wears. She is a great character and one who fits right in to the group of exceptional people I have come to love so much in these books.
Theran was just plain irritating but his disappointment with Cassidy and his lack of the bond that the other males had meant I could understand where he was coming from. I still wanted to smack him a lot.
Gray on the other hand was a joy, seeing his continued emergence from the damaged and scared boy trapped in an adult’s body into the Warlord Prince he should have been. Wow. The other Males of Cassidy’s First Circle were also great, stepping up to the line when needed and understanding that without Cassidy and bringing back the old ways of the Blood, there would be no more Dena Nehele.
Finally comes those characters that I could read about forever. Daemon, Jaenelle, Saetan and Lucivar to name the top four. Other beloved character make appearances and it was truly great to see them. I have heard complaints that when it comes to stories in the Black Jewels Universe that aren’t directly about them, they still make appearances. I honestly don’t see how they can’t considering who they are and their place in the world. In my opinion there can’t be enough about them!
The story I can’t actually touch on much as it would spoil it, but it was good and the plot unexpected at times. The pace flowed with Bishop’s usual grace and as always, I find her characterisations nothing short of amazing.
In all, a fantastic book and a credit to the series and Anne Bishop.