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Anne Bishop
book cover

prequel to Black Jewels Trilogy
2000, October, Roc
Buy from Amazon.com (mass market paperback)

Who recommends: Isabel, Shelley, Lori, JW, Margaret
Who discommends: Edith

There's definitely something to be said for preordering and having a book arrive in one's mailbox before one is aware that it's available. Well, THE INVISIBLE RING arrived on Saturday (I too was conned into spending a bunch of money by buy.com's pseudo free shipping offer - see, promotion works!). Stayed up way past my bedtime and finished the book in one gulp. Really enjoyed it but can't put it on the same level as the first of the Black Jewels trilogy. Jared just isn't in Daemon's league although the romance is rather sweet. It just struck me that if one has not read the trilogy, then Daemon's brief appearances in this book would seem rather Duke of Avon-ish.--Isabel (16 Oct 00)

I also recommend THE INVISIBLE RING by Anne Bishop. Just finished it and enjoyed it a lot. Not as intense as the others - but the hero was a different type. What is nice is that is works as a stand alone.--Shelley (18 Oct 00)

I just finished THE INVISIBLE RING, and I definitely recommend it. It's a bit different because it takes place some time before QUEEN OF THE DARKNESS (or DAUGHTER OF THE BLOOD, for that matter). It was interesting to see someone dealing with the situation and with Dorothea. The hero is a warlord, but not a warlord prince, and is much, much younger than Daemon and Lucivar. He's not one of the long-lived races. I think the time that it's set already changes some of the intensity of the story. It's not a save-the-world kind of thing. Also, the whole story is pretty much one adventure/quest, not a series of events. Quite good, and falls into the SFR category.--Lori (18 Oct 00)

In many ways I liked this even better than the trilogy, though I think knowing the background made it easier to understand the world our characters lived in. But I liked the smaller, more intense focus.--JW (24 Jan 01)

I enjoyed THE INVISIBLE RING - it was interesting revisiting the world of her trilogy. Her trilogy covers the Final War Between Good and Evil while this book covers one of the minor battles. It is less grand in scope and covers a much shorter period of time. This is not a criticism - a book does not have to be an epic to be worth reading. I enjoyed meeting Damien again, although I'm not sure that "again" is the right word as this adventure precedes the trilogy, and was pleased to see what he was doing to subvert Dorothea, apart from killing queens. I hope she writes more books in this style.--Margaret (30 Jan 01)

I finished Ann Bishop's INVISIBLE RING last weekend. A good book if you like them that dark. I think it's the last book of hers I'll read, though. The *constant* references to castration, torture, rapes, mutilations, etc. finally got to me. Basically, I just don't like the world she created so I won't visit again. I think she's a decent writer-- she creates an interesting, if repellant world, good characterization, absorbing plots.

At the risk of offending some of you with this comment, I really do wonder how mentally ill Anne Bishop is. I'm just skimming some of the more unpleasant parts of her books, but she has to *live* her books since the writing process is longer than the reading process. She has to create this stuff. She has to *vividly* imagine it. UGH. I don't read horror, so I'm sure there is worse out there and I don't even want to imagine it. I know some of you on this list *like* dark stuff so you must think I'm a pathetic weak-minded weenie, but that's OK. I really am, especially when it comes to physical pain and torture. Heck, I stopped reading the Outlander series because of that torture scene at the end. And I never ever watch any kind of movie with any kind of torture in it if I know about it ahead of time. Not even the LETHAL WEAPON one. --Edith, the wuss (23 Feb 01)

I'm not offended :-), but I wouldn't think you have to be mentally ill to come up with this stuff. I think the attraction (for readers, and probably for writers as well) is the strength of the story, the emotional intensity, of seeing someone survive and triumph over the darkness. So I don't mind dark stuff (am even attracted to it in some ways) so long as the feeling from the book is not relentlessly dark. I can be riveted to the story during the sad, painful, or even horrible stuff but I have to feel some hope/happiness/optimism when I leave the book. If I do, the painful stuff before seems to make the happiness at the end more intensely felt.

I don't know if I'm making any sense here, but I guess I'm trying to say the harder the struggle, the greater the payoff in the end. But I intensely -dislike- reading books where the "dark side" wins and the end is some kind of bare survival and helpless, hopeless despair. Some noir mysteries leave me with that feeling, but I don't stop reading the genre because the ones that work for me work really well. I just try to be very careful about which authors I read.--JW (24 Feb 01)

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