A blah fantasy

The Shadow Queen - Anne Bishop

Not a bad fantasy novel but not a good one either. The writing was professional, but the plot, the characters, and the world-building didn’t ring true. Of course, it is #7 in a series, but I’m not tempted to read the first six novels. Neither the world nor its denizens attracted me.

Bishop’s world is ruled by wizards and witches, but for some reason, she calls them Princes and Queens. They are a volatile race, with lots of magical powers but not much of humanity or decency. The story is centered on them, while simple non-magical people are hardly mentioned at all.

These Queens and Princes constantly jockey for power and dominance. Their tempers explode, their passions collide, but I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t sympathize with their plight. Instead, I wanted to puke from all their posturing. They were all repulsive. The Princes and Queens in this story were supposed to be good guys, but I disliked them immensely.

From the backstory, of which there is a lot in this book, I’m guessing that in the past six books, their power plays almost destroyed the world. This book is an aftermath. The main plotline focuses on a territory (a country, a kingdom or a village, I’m not sure) that needs a new Queen. Why? Again I’m not sure. All their previous Queens were evil bitches and were destroyed by whatever cataclysm happened in the first six novels. Now Prince Theran brings home a new Queen, Cassidy, from another realm.

Cassidy is not beautiful, nor powerful. Nobody wants her there. Nobody trusts her. She is unsure of herself, with a bunch of insecurities, and Theran despises her too. But he has to serve her. Again, why? I’m not sure. So he acts like a prick and sabotages her every move.

Theran’s cousin, Gray, is a broken man. When he was fifteen, he was captured and tortured by the evil Queens for two years before he was rescued. Now, he can only work as gardener. His mind and body are not what they could’ve been if he was whole.

Of course, Gray and Cassidy meet and fall in love. They plant flowers too. In the process, they are both redeemed, healed, yada, yada, yada. Theirs is not an original story but it is the best one this book offers. Because of their story I finished reading the novel instead of throwing it away in disgust after the first 50 pages.  

The second subplot of the book has nothing to do with the main story. It is all about other Princes (the protagonists from the previous books of the series) and it has to do with their sex lives. Multiplied by their tremendous magical powers, this subplot was distasteful to the extreme.

Overall – really blah.