Anne Bishop's debut novel, Daughter of the Blood
, is like black coffee--strong, dark, and hard on delicate stomachs. Within the Blood (a race of magic-users), women rule and men serve, but tradition has been corrupted so that women enslave men, who seek to destroy their oppressors. Female children are violated before they can reach maturity; men are tortured and forced to satisfy witches' sexual appetites.
Bishop's child heroine, Jaenelle, is destined to rule the Blood, if she can reach adulthood. Her power is hidden; her family believes her mad. Saetan, High Lord of Hell and most powerful of the Blood males, becomes Jaenelle's surrogate father and teacher. He cannot protect her outside Hell, where he rules. She refuses to leave Terreille, risking herself to protect or heal other victims of violence. Can Daemon, Saetan's estranged son, keep her safe from the machinations of the evil High Priestess? Or will he lose his battle to control his destructive urges and endanger her?
Readers may find some aspects of Bishop's world confusing; not least that most of the good guys live in Hell. But her protagonists are compelling, sympathetic characters who overcome terrible adversity. If you like Anne Rice or Laurell K. Hamilton, try this one. --Nona Vero
From Library Journal
The prophecy of a coming Queen destined to shake the foundations of the Dark Kingdom heralds a war of intrigue and Machiavellian politics as three rivals seek control over the innocent young girl fated to ascend to greatness. Lavishly sensual and overtly erotic, Bishop's fantasy debut features a richly detailed world based on a reversal of standard genre cliches of light and darkness. Fans of Tanith Lee's Flat Earth series may appreciate this adults-only series opener. Large libraries may want to consider for their fantasy collections.
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