Twilight's Dawn: A Black Jewels Book (Anglais) Poche – 6 mars 2012
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Le livre comporte 4 nouvelles. La toute première, "Winsol gifts" est une petite historiette légère, sans prétention, qui sert plutôt à re-situer l'univers et les personnages principaux.
"Shades of honor" retrouve un ton plus sérieux : Falonar dévoile sa vraie nature et sa jalousie haineuse envers Lucivar. Dans "Family", une sorcière connue va être assassinée. Lucivar, Daemon et Jaenelle vont se démener pour retrouver ses enfants, les protéger et les sauver de l'assassin qui rôde.
Enfin la dernière nouvelle est à mon avis l'une des plus belles écrites par l'auteure. Le titre "The high lord's daughter" semble tout simple; en fait, il est splendidement trouvé. Anne Bishop déroule pour nous plusieurs décennies. Daemon va perdre 2 personnes qu'il aime, mais ce qui pourrait être dramatique et déchirant est traité avec beaucoup de tact et de délicatesse. Et l'histoire devient un hymne à la vie.
C'est super beau, vraiment.
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Shades of Honor was great, hands down. Family was even better. It definitely could have been longer, but it did a lot toward setting up Daemon as the future High Lord of Hell, and I love what it did for Saetan and Sylvia's relationship. And then comes The High Lord's Daughter. Protip: Spoilers abound after this point in the review.
I have to say, after reading this myself, I think all the spazzing about The High Lord's Daughter was, and is, completely unnecessary. First, on a genre basis: the Black Jewels series is fantasy, not romance; you don't always get a happy ending in fantasy. Second, based on the book canon: Daemon was deeply in love with Jaenelle. She was, in a lot of ways, his soul mate. But people can love again, and because she loved him just as much, she gave him the opportunity to do that. Everyone knew she would die before him, so being upset that there is no "Happily Ever After" seems ridiculous. There is a happily ever after: he loved her right until the last. That is a beautiful and wonderful thing. And even happier is that he got to move on and find another person.
And it takes him at least four years after her death to even remotely move on. Part of that moving on included multiple sexual partners. Since when is there something wrong with that? Especially in this particular fantasy world. It seems like anyone who goes "There is no happily ever after! Jaenelle doesn't live forever with her One True Love! It's broken forever" is viewing this book in a vacuum, or throwing out all the world-building Anne Bishop has done. People in this world have sex a lot - their society is very sexual. Is having sex with a few partners (because my impression from Daemon's narration, and other narration, is that he has only a handful of sexual partners, no more than ten in four years, which isn't a lot at all) the best way to deal with some of your grief? No, probably not. But everyone copes differently.
A second wife might not be loved in the same manner as the first, but that doesn't mean she isn't loved. I've known many men who, after being widowed, have taken a second wife, and they love that second wife just as much, if not more, but there is always going to be a part of them that loves their first wife. That's not wrong. Why does it have to be black and white? Why can't Daemon find another love, and in this case, be Surreal's? He doesn't have to wax poetic about her for the reader to realize he does love her. But their love isn't the all-consuming love Daemon and Jaenelle had. It's a much more platonic, a kind of on-the-level love. His love for Jaenelle fixed a really deep hole and wound inside him. His love for Surreal made him human.
And frankly, who better than Surreal to be his second wife? Everyone would be pitching a huge fit if Bishop didn't answer the question "What happens when Jaenelle died?" Would fans assume he remained celibate for another four thousand-odd years, not even considering the time he'll probably spends as the High Lord? That's ridiculous. Of course he'd find love again. Perhaps 4 years is too short a time when you're as long-lived as they are, but I've known widowers who moved on in less. And narration brings up an excellent point: someone who loves Daemon needs to know, and love, the Sadist as well. Surreal is the only one immediately capable of that in his life. Had it been any other woman, everyone would be up in arms screaming "Mary Sue!" even louder than they often do at Jaenelle.
Having met men who have remarried after losing the love of their life, I think this was a very realistic, well-done portrayal of that. The best? Maybe not. But I think people are kidding themselves if they say there's no chance in hell Surreal didn't carry a flame for Daemon. They had many hundreds of years to become very good friends, something that I think is very obvious throughout the trilogy. For Surreal, that friendship-love clearly became a romantic-love, likely the most when she was trying to help Daemon through the grief of losing Jaenelle. So, no, I don't think this breaks the books. I thought this was a really lovely way to wrap everything up, and in some ways come full circle. Out of all the stories, this was definitely my favorite.
I very carefully avoided reader's review's and posted expectations prior to the release of Twilight's Dawn. The only thing I read was the posting on Anne Bishop's website. I wanted to approach this book with nothing but my own expectations, hopes, and desires for the Characters I have grown to know and love.
I was not disappointed on any level.
The Black Jewels Saga is not a romance series. It is a work of what I would consider true fantasy. In true fantasy there is comfort, Joy, anger, rage, sorrow, hatred, and love. Those true fantasy writers, like ms. bishop, imbues her world, and her characters will all this and more taking her readers along for the ride.
Many who have posted customer reviews here on amazon have picked apart the individual stories in this book without saying much about how each story combines beautifully with the ones that follow to welcome the next generation of the Sadiablo Family while allowing some of our most beloved characters to become a whisper in the Darkness.
Winsol gifts starts the story with a rare moment of peaceful domestic comfort from the veiw of the one character who has known it the least. Daemon. It proceeds to move both Daemon as a character, and the overall plot of the series by cementing his roles as the Head of the Sadiablo family and the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan. All the while illustrating how incredibly important ALL of Daemon's family are to him. And to each other.
Shades of Honor
After the Winsol festivities are over, Surreal and Rainier travel to Ebon Rih to 'train' with Lucivar. Anyone who has read the series to this point, I think, would agree that this 'training' was Lucivar's way of reinforcing how much he cares about Surreal and to a lesser extent, Rainier. It also gave both people what they needed to heal the emotional wounds brought on by Jarvis Jenkell's "spooky house". Lucivar is many things. But there is never any doubt that friends and family are as important to Lucivar as they are to his brother.
While in Ebon Rih, Falonar, (who in my personal opinion is too stupid to be allowed to breathe) decides that he is tired of playing second banana to a "half-breed bastard". Falonar attempts to incite the other eyriens to rise against Lucivar and install himself as Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih. Without giving too much away, the answers to what happened to Falonar are revealed here.
This story also sets the stage for Daemon to continue stepping into his father's shoes with his initiation into the Realm of Hell.
Family *Spoiler Alert*
This was a wonderful story in my opinion for many reasons.
1. It finally gives the relationship between Saetan and Silvia the ending I always wanted for them. For the first time in his long life, Saetan got to marry a woman who loved him as a man. Not his power, his titles, his wealth, just Saetan Daemon Sadiablo.
2. It illustrated to readers that even though the war is over, the fight with evil never really ends. Instead of day after day of killing, we now get brief periods of 'ugly' followed by the comforts of everyday conflicts. Frankly, as a military wife, I prefer this to constant drama and violence.
3. It redefines "family" not just as the people who share your bloodline, but also as the people you care about. I love what Tersa does to the serial killer in this story. Everyone assumed that Daemon got that part of himself that is called, "the Sadist" from his father. Tersa more than made her own contributions to that side of her eldest son's nature.
4. When Silvia could no longer serve as Halaway's Queen. Silvia's first circle choose Jaenelle to be their new Queen. I rejoiced at their decision. A Queen can't help what she is, but Jaenelle never wanted to rule a realm. However, now that she is approaching middle age, she is content to act as a Guardian for the village until Beron comes of age.
I loved everything about this story.
The High Lord's Daughter *Spoiler Alert*
This is the story that finishes the transition between one generation of the Sadiablo family and the next.
Jaenelle lived until she was in her 90s. Her and Daemon were married for 70+ years. How can anyone say that is not a full, long, happy life for a woman EVERYONE knew was going to die before the love of her life. And the manner of her passing? I hope everyone could pass along so peacefully.
Then there is the web. One of the things I love about Ms. Bishops writting is how she uses a Spider's Web as a device for foreshadowing.
Does anyone wonder, what it did to Jaenelle when she realized that she and Daemon could never have children? So instead of dwelling on it, she prepared for it, and she and Daemon raised Scelties. No one can say they weren't just as happy.
And the fact that Daemon later married Surreal? Good God, who could have been more perfect? Again, Daemon may outlive Surreal, but that is where Jaenelle Saetien comes in. She is the daughter that Jaenelle Angelline, Daemon, and Surreal all dreamed of.
Daemon, who is now officially the High Lord of Hell, will now have the living anchor he will need in the lifetime ahead of him. How wonderful. How absolutely wonderful.
The only part I truely cried over (I mean it I openly wept) was when Saetan died. He was always my favorite character. Though it cost Daemon more than anyone will ever know to be the one that that drained the last of his father's strength, it was a fitting end to a long life that knew little of pure happiness and content.
I love this book. I will read it again and again as I wait for the further adventures of Daemon, Lucivar, His children, Surreal, and Jaenelle Saetien. Or perhaps we will revisit Shalador Nehele and see how Terrielle continues to rebuild after the purge.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the series.
To provide a context, I absolutely adore all of the characters in this universe and own and re-read the books from time to time. There is little or nothing in this new book that would make me re-read it enthusiastically. I found the collection weak. What is collected here are the various story strands, character evolution possibilities, and ideas that Ms. Bishop had strewn all over her metaphysical floor for the past 20 years. She picked them up and bound them together in this collection - maybe wily nily and hurriedly. The book almost shouts, "I was released b/c Ms. Bishop was under contract to produce one more Black Jewel novel. But she couldn't so she used what she had on the floor."
With that said, the novellas suffer from many problems: timeline (confusing chronology), uninteresting, incompleteness, irrelevancy, and unbelievability. These novellas take place in different times w/in the Black Jewel world. They awkwardly bounce through time like drunk jumping beans. See below for the time period, my quick synopsis and grade for each.
Winsol Gifts - Time Period: After Tangled Webs (Janelle, 27? yrs old)
Daemon settles into his role as the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, which basically means now that Janelle is healthy he has to absorb and perform all of the duties that many others performed for him w/o his knowledge. This novella is about Family - the interaction & intertwining of Daemon & Lucivar's childhood; Daemon & Lucivar & Tersa; of Rainier & Surreal; of Daemon & Hall Staff; and, of the whole SaDiablo Family as an unit.
Shades of Honor - Time Period: Before the Shadow Queen
Lucivar and Falonar struggle for power. This larger story in this novella is so perfectly unbelievable as to be completely ridiculous. We are asked to believe that Lucivar is afraid of Falonar and is still tormented (rendered powerless) by being called a "half-breed bastard". We're asked to believe that Lucivar would let his second-in-command publicly shame him and physically hurt his friends. We're asked to believe that Janelle made a mistake when she approved Falonar's contract, etc., etc... What? All of this happens in this story.
Falonar/Lucivar Grade: D
Surreal/Rainier Substory Grade: B+
Family - Time Period: Ten Years After Shadow Queen (Janelle, 37 yrs old)
The action centers on Sylvia's family & a vicious serial killer of boys. I have nothing against Sylvia but I don't really care to read a whole novella about her. This is a story I'm sure Ms. Bishop picked up off the metaphysical floor.
The High Lord's Daughter - Time Period: 53+, 70, 73, 78 (?), & 88 yrs after "Family"
This isn't really a novella. "The High Lord's Daughter" jumps one hundred years in about five hops. The novella is subtitled "A Story That Spans Decades." There is no "story." The chapters are of quite varying lengths - one-page, two-page, 12-page, 16-page chapters. The majority of the chapters are about 5-7 pages. This sharp difference in the size of the chapters is indicative of the novella's disjointedness. I can't make any specific comment w/o provided serious spoilers. I was looking forward to reading this story especially.
Yes, perhaps this novella is Anne Bishop's Personal Black Jewels Photo Album. It is much less objectionable if I think of it in that way. Glimpses here and there. Possibilities. Thoughts and ideas the author had on where and what the characters in the Black Jewels Universe would be up to for the next century - and possibly the next two centuries. Interesting? Yes. Snapshots of what could be. Photos not a movie. Interesting but hardly fulfilling. A story/novella/movie requires a plot w/a beg., middle and end. This novella has none of those things.
Grade for ideas: B
Grade for execution: F
I think most writers perform best when they are experiencing a joy & satisfaction in their work. I would have been happier if Ms. Bishop had just sent out a press release that read, "No more Black Jewels Books. I need a break and have to recharge my creative batteries but I'll be back one day."
I'm not happy w/Twilight's Dawn. It was not an engaging or satisfying read. Ms. Bishop's fatigue, disengagement, and lack of joy were palpable. This lack of connection produced lifeless novellas. Everything has a price. If yeast was joy, this book is as flat as a rock. It has not risen. The price of Ms. Bishop's fatigue is this anemic book.
My review still stands but I would like to add a few thoughts after re-reading this collection. In "Winsol GIfts", which I gave an A-/B+, I should have mentioned that the heart of the story was about connections. How to build them, reinforce them, and enjoy them while all of the characters were alive b/c Janelle's death (the only member of the short-lived race) would be upon them before they knew it. They had maybe 60 years to make memories.
"Shades of Honor" still makes me mad. Imagine Lucivar drowning in self-doubt? Completely unreal.
My regret for "The High Lord's Daughter" is that it could have been truly SPECTACULAR and it was barely a blip. The seeds of a great story are there. We each have to write our own ending for the Black Jewel Universe.
After thousands of pages and years of fans investing in these epic characters and love story, Bishop probably felt no death scene could do them justice so she cowardly skipped it altogether. That's right, Jaenelle, the heart and soul of this universe, received a one line death, after the fact. She grew old and went to sleep one night and never woke up.
Daemon and Jaenelle should have died together. That was their fitting end. Alas, Ms. Bishop sacrificed Daemon's character in her ham-fisted attempt to bring the story full circle, this time with a Witch born of the long-lived races... probably to escape the trap she set for herself by penning Jaenelle as too human in the first place.
I always suspected Surreal was in love with Daemon and Jaenelle knew this, too, so I was not surprised that in death Jaenelle would be ruthless and manipulative in her weaving, trying to anchor Daemon to life somehow. I was also not surprised Daemon and Jaenelle never had children as her body was so badly broken in the purge that it was in character he'd protect her from childbirth, always her well-being came first to him.
So where exactly did Ms. Bishop go so wrong?
She rushed and minimized Daemon's immense love for Jaenelle at every turn of the page and she pit on Daemon's history of fidelity. She forgot how she stressed over and over he waited 1,700 years for Witch, never once being tempted to truly make love to any woman. Sadi the pleasure slave came out to torture women sexually not have one night stands to gain sexual relief. To Daemon Sadi, giving of himself sexually was sacred and reserved for Witch only. He does not do casual sex! Further he resisted women for 1,700 years yet couldn't last more than a few years without it and while mired in deepest grief?!! That rang so false to the character I loved.
Secondly, the author asks me to believe that after waiting 1,700 years for Jaenelle, after descending to the Twist Kingdoms when he lost her, that Daemon would get over losing her so quickly. A year??? Really?? If Bishop had waited centuries before Daemon awoke from his grief, the story would have honored his character and history but a year to a man who has lived 1,700 felt more like 1 week.
In her absurd rush to bring the story full circle by introducing the rebirth of a new Jaenelle, Bishop spit on her own brilliant epic love story and worse took away the needed time for characters AND READERS alike to mourn the great loss of Jaenelle.
We needed a full book for this story shift to be told. Daemon struggling to carry on, struggling to fulfill his Queens last wish but unable. Surreal grieving too and drawn to try and save Daemon. We would grieve with them and slowly come to accept centuries later these two would turn to each other sexually one lonely night. And then a miracle occurs and Jaenelle is reborn in their daughter. Jaenelle's weaving after 100+ years finally coming to fruition and offering these two lonely, sad characters a new lease on life. Daemon finding some joy centuries later as he follows his father's footsteps in living solely for his daughter... his living miracle. Surreal reveling in raising a child free from the rapish nightmares... a little girl who beamed with trust in the world.
I would have respected a well-written sage of two deeply scarred individuals centuries later creating a miracle that shocked them back into life. Alas, I got rushed, shabby novella by an author who just couldn't wait to jump start to the next hot character's story.
Ms. Bishop, no doubt worried at the last minute Daemon and Jaenelle fans would quit the series, tossed in a sop with hope for Misty Place reunions in future books! I hurled the book across the room!