Tuesday, January 11, 2000

Review: "Heir to the Shadows" by Anne Bishop

I read the first book in this series, "Daughter of the Blood," back in 1998, and it was one of my favorite books of that year. This book continues the story well and is an enjoyable read, but in my opinion it just doesn't stack up with the first one.

The problems with this book are not overwhelming. The main thing is that Bishop seems to have tried to cover too much ground too quickly. Despite its 482 pages, it seemed to me that I sprinted through the entire book, never taking any time to admire the story.

There were several moments in the book that I felt could have made for some fantastic drama. If I had to put my finger on one thing this book was short on, it was tension. Bishop seems to be tightly focused on the plot to the detriment of other areas of the story. Whenever a scene came along that could have been tense and edgy, she seemed to glaze over it to get to the next step in the plot.

Adding to the tension problem, I think Bishop has created a character that is much too strong. Through the whole story, I never got the feeling that Jaenelle was in any real trouble. If she does get backed into a corner, she's powerful enough to wipe her enemies out. That deflates a lot of the possible tension.

It's not all negative, though. There were a number of good points to this book. For one thing, with Daemon Sadi trapped in the Twisted Kingdom, we get to learn more about his half-brother Lucivar. That's one of the things I wanted out of this book. I was fascinated by the pair in the first novel, but felt Lucivar was underrepresented. That's not the case here.

The book also contains some revelations that keep it interesting. Sadi's struggles in the Twisted Kingdom and Lucivar's struggles to survive do inject a little tension - thought not as much as Jaenelle's ordeal at the school for girls in the first book.

Overall, I think if you liked "Daughter of the Blood," you'll enjoy this one. Here's hoping that "Queen of the Darkness" brings this series to a stunning close.

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