Characters and world building. Those two devices drive Anne Bishop’s remarkable dark fantasy trilogy. But if picking up an oversized paperback comprised of over 1200 pages seems a bit daunting, don’t worry; you can still enjoy the trilogy, novel by novel.
Start with Daughter of the Blood – you’ll immediately find yourself in a complex and intricate matriarchal society in which common roles are bent and skewed. From there you should seek out Heir to the Shadows, but make sure to have the concluding novel, Queen of the Darkness, close to hand. As I read, I found that it became harder to put the stories aside, to let the book close; I needed to know what was going to happen.
This trilogy was immensely satisfying, but keep in mind that it is indeed dark fantasy. Bishop doesn’t shy away from writing characters capable of horrifying deeds. To be fair, though, there is a balance – one that is struck by deep alliances and thoughtful bonds.
If, after finishing the trilogy, you’d like to read more about the Blood, you can do so by finding the short story collection, Dreams Made Flesh, or by keeping an eye out for the forthcoming full length Black Jewels novel, Tangled Webs.