"Seven hundred years ago, a Black Widow witch saw an ancient prophecy come to life in her web of dreams and visions. Now the Dark Kingdom readies itself for the arrival of its Queen, a Witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself. But she is still young, still open to influence-and corruption.
Whoever controls the Queen controls the darkness. Three men-sworn enemies-know this. And they know the power that hides behind the blue eyes of an innocent young girl. And so begins a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal, where the weapons are hate and love-and the prize could be terrible beyond imagining..."
This book won my heart and went right to my favorite’s shelf. It was such a dark read, filled with complex and extremely dark and flawed characters. Yet, I came to care deeply for a number of characters, in particular Daemon, Jaenelle, and Saetan. Lucivar too, but he's not as present in this book as he will be in later books - I did love his scene with Jaenelle who is still a little girl in this first book. Characters like Surreal and Cook I liked as well.
“We are what we are. Nothing more, nothing less. There is good and evil among every kind of people. It's the evil among us who rule now.”
The world-building in this book is brilliantly thought-out and part of the reason why I was so quickly blown away by this book. Anne Bishop creates thought-provoking subject matters, one of which is that in this world there are Witches who controls powerful Blood males through these cock-rings and use them as sex slaves but also control them to do what they want, in general. Daemon is one of them who is fighting to become free, and the angst and anguish with him throughout this book was just mind-blowing. He's such a well written character. Many of my favorite scenes were with him and Jaenelle who goes through a lot in this book, as well. Jaenelle's scenes with her father-of-the-heart, Saetan, were also some of my favorites. I loved that he couldn't say no to her lol!
"Coldness as a defense for the heart was something Saetan understood all too well."
Jaenaelle is special. She's not only a witch but the Witch. Daemon and many others have waited for her for Centuries. She cares about others and wants to help when she can, despite of what she herself goes through in this book (including rape and a pretty terrible family, I would say). It was amazing to see her help Daemon and Saetan come closer together in an understated way. She also helps them both individually which was super awesome! She's the one who can really get to Daemon, despite his anguish and coldness because of the pain he has and still is going through. He loves her, of course, but she's still a child after all. Some of his reactions to her made me uncomfortable because she's still a child. He did walk the line of fire quite a few times. He's her protector, while she helps him have the joy in his life that he's never really had. I can't wait to get more of their growing romance in the next couple of books as she grows into a young woman. I won't spoil it but the end was filled with angst. Daemon will do anything to save her and he went too far, yet I wanted her to forgive him. But that's because Anne Bishop is such a great writer and makes me care for these complex and flawed characters. There’s something about "I've loved you all these years" kinds of romances and I saw that with Daemon towards Jaenelle.
"Jaenelle leaned over the narrow window seat, gulping in the winter air. “It hurts so much to live here, Daemon,” she whimpered as he cradled her in his arms. “Sometimes it hurts so much.”
“Shh.” He stroked her hair. “Shh.”
While I loved this book I realize that it is not for everyone. It has many really disturbing scenes, and as I said, these characters are very flawed. And then there is the fact that this book deals with rape. Not only with Jaenelle but also with some of the men in this book who also goes through rape. Why did I love this book? So many reasons, but Anne Bishop definitely writes here the kind of angst I love and the kind of characters that makes me care, as a reader; If I understand the characters and what makes them tick it will make be go through fire and water with them. I highly recommend this book if you like very Dark Fantasy books. I look so much forward to reading the next book in the series!
I want to thank Dangermousie for making me aware of this book.
Some of my favorite quotes below: (please don't read the quotes if you haven't read the book)