I practically squeaked with joy when The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop arrived in the mail. I have been a fan of this series from way back. I stumbled upon the Black Jewels Trilogy when all three were out. Usually I NEVER buy all the books in a series in one shot in case the first one isn’t any good. But I just had a feeling. I proceeded to read all three books in a matter of days. It is my favorite fantasy series. The Shadow Queen takes place two years after the events in Queen of the Darkness. Please do not try to read this book without reading The Black Jewels Trilogy, The Invisible Ring, Dreams Made Flesh, and Tangled Webs.
Cassidy is a Queen by birth but her background isn’t aristocratic and her looks are not going to cause any ships to sail. Her court dumped her for a younger, prettier, more ambitious Queen. She goes home to recover from the hurt and shame when she is contacted by her friend, Jaenelle, the former Queen of Ebon Askavi. A Warlord Prince from Terreille named Theran Grayhaven called in a favor from Daemon Sadi, Jaenelle’s husband to find a Queen for the territory of Dene Nehele. They desperately need a Queen who can help them rebuild by embodying the Old Ways of the Blood. Jaenelle knows that Cassidy is the one for the job. Cassidy accepts and finds that she is regretting her decision almost immediately. Will Cassidy find a reason to stay and build a Court and a life?
The character of Cassidy was very sympathetic and easy to root for. I wanted her to find a place to call home and a Court and people to care about. Theran is a pain, not very likeable but you totally understand why he is the way he is. It shows the skill of Ms. Bishop that she makes Theran’s actions so believable due to his background but you still don’t like him a whole lot. The character of Gray was really sweet. I must say though that I would have liked to see more of his growth on the page. Jaenelle, Daemon, Lucivar, and Saetan all have a lot of page time. I didn’t mind because they are some of my all time favorite characters but they almost steal the show from Cassidy and the gang. That said I found it nice to go back to them and have some issues resolved. I really enjoyed The Shadow Queen, had a hard time putting it down. I hope that maybe we will see another volume about Cassidy and her Court, pretty please?