Twilight's Dawn: A Black Jewels Book (Black Jewels Trilogy)

Twilight's Dawn - Anne Bishop First, if this is your first Black Jewels novel or first Anne Bishop: STOP. Go back and read at the very least the original trilogy of Daughter of the Blood, Heir of the Shadows and Queen of the Darkness. This book really isn't a standalone. If you read it before the others, it will lose a lot of its impact, you may feel lost, and you will definitely encounter spoilers. I'd also definitely recommend as well that you read Tangled Webs and the novella "Kaeleer's Heart" from the Black Jewels anthology Dreams Made Flesh. If you haven't read the Black Jewels trilogy before, well, if you love dark fantasy I think you're in for a treat. It's an unusual, imaginative, and vividly drawn world and Bishop had a way with her characters that made me fall in love with them. I admit I squeed inside when I saw Twilight's Dawn in stores and immediately grabbed it. If you do love the Black Jewels books, I doubt you'll be disappointed. The three and a half stars reflects where I'd place it among the other Black Jewels books. I didn't, as with some past books in the series, tear up or laugh-out-loud. I wouldn't put this with my favorites, and I don't think it's as strong as the original trilogy (5 stars) or the three books set in Shalador (rated 4 to 4 and a half stars), but I did enjoy all the stories. The flyleaf calls this a collection of four novellas. Actually, I'd say the four stories do share an overarching thread and theme, and I'd call two of the stories short novels, particularly Shades of Honor. Fans of the series might remember cryptic comments about Falonar in Shalador's Lady--this tells the story of what happened in a clash between Lucivar and Falonar, as well as the process by which Ranier and especially Surreal heal physically and emotionally from the events of Tangled Web. I loved the subplot about the process by which Surreal healed. I loved less that Bishop made Falonar an out and out villain. I rather liked him in Queen of the Darkness and felt that just because he and Surreal didn't work romantically and Falonar and Lucivar clashed in personality and philosophy didn't mean he had to be the heavy. (And how he acts in this story puts him in the too-stupid-to-live category.) The two novellas "Winsol Gifts" and "Family" are both entertaining stories, the first, which opens the book, centered on the SaDiablo family on the day which is that world's equivalent of Christmas. Sentimental and sweet. The other, "Family" is darker--a tale of what happens when Sylvia and her family become threatened by a predator. Finally there's the bittersweet near-novel The High Lord's Daughter, which closes the book. Some indeed might be disappointed with it--those who are of the kind who think love is not love if you can recover from the death of your loved one and heal your heart enough to share it again. I love the story. If I closed the book with mixed feelings, it's because I felt Bishop had finally given closure to the main series characters in this story, and I wonder if we'll see them again. Although I wasn't dissatisfied with the end of Queen of the Shadows, I thought it left a lot of questions about the fate of several characters, and this story answers a lot of those questions. Edit Looking at the reviews on GoodReads and Amazon, I can see I was right that the last story would provoke a very negative reaction from some. I can't agree with those who call it a "series killer"--and given the ratings, I don't think most readers do either. Frankly, if the developments in the last novella are a shock, then I think you haven't been paying attention and these events were largely foreshadowed throughout the series. Without getting into spoilers, I can say I don't agree at all with the criticisms of the central romance--but I do rather agree with some criticisms of the title character--that she should have stood on her own, rather than being made into the copy of another character down to the name.