I have no idea where to start with this book. Some of my most-trusted book-friends gave it the gold seal and since I absolutely adore the Others, another Anne Bishop series, I dove in. And promptly found myself in morass of character overload and ambitious world-building of brain-hemorrhage inducing proportions. I was completely and utterly lost for at least a third of the book. Then, I was horrified to discover the sexual perversities, ranging from rape to incest to pedophilia and sadism. Hell, the female lead only ages to 12 years-old by the end of the book and she is assigned sexual significance. But somehow in the second half, I found myself becoming invested in the outcome.
I’ll try to give you the gist. Our characters live in a female dominated world with mystical and spiritual elements. Many of the people have internal power that corresponds to the jewel color in which they are assigned. The strongest of the women are queens and the men serve them. But over the years, the system has grown twisted. The queens abuse their power and it seems as though no one worthy will ever gain the throne. Not until now.
Janelle is the Queen born to fulfill an ancient prophecy. She will be a Queen fit to rule them all. That would be awesome, except she is only seven years old. Saetan, the High Priest of the Darkness wants to be her Steward. His son Daemon wants to be her Consort. All the creatures of the underworld want to serve her. The evil queen wants to destroy her. And the bad guys want molest her. SHE. IS. A. CHILD. She ages up to 12, but again, she is STILL a child. Super-squick.
Daemon, our male lead, is a sex slave. He has been forced into serving women for centuries. He is a hard man, but it’s easy to see how he got that way. Janelle is the salvation he has longed for. He would sacrifice all for her; and at least, he is in no big hurry to bed her. He struggles to protect her from her enemies and –even worse– her family who keeps putting her in a mental institution (which seems incredibly out of place in this fantasy world.) It’s his utter devotion to her that makes this book into something more than the sum of its bizarre parts. Through their friendship, he learns not only what it means to love and sacrifice, but who he is and where he came from.
I don’t know how to rate this. It’s definitely not an A-read for me. I had way too many issues. But it did have something intangible that made me care what happens. And so, I will read on. Janelle can only get older from here.
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Daughter of the Blood
by Anne Bishop
Release Date: March 1, 1998