This week, Flashback Friday Goes Dark Fantasy. I’m back this week to cover Anne Bishop‘s dark fantasy novel, Daughter of the Blood (The Black Jewels Book #1).
This book wasn’t published until 1998, two years after I graduated high school, but it was still an influential book during my formative writing years.
Anne Bishop taught me two things about writing:
- Don’t pull your punches. Write the story you want to tell, even if it makes the reader squirm.
- Don’t be afraid to kill and/or torture your characters. They’ll survive. Or they won’t. 😀
While Daughter of the Blood is dark fantasy, some places lump it into dark fantasy with romantic subplots, which fits easily enough. I’m not a fan of the standard romance genre. However, I enjoy romance as a subplot when it is done well.
Anne Bishop makes her characters work for their happy endings. There are scenes in this book that made both me and my husband wince in sympathy or discomfort. Rather than existing to shock folks or as torture porn, they are plot relevant events that push the tension higher. I remember reading this in one sitting–I couldn’t put it down. Waiting for book two to be published was nigh impossible.
Don’t get me wrong, Game of Thrones is pretty awesome, but the TV series of it takes plot elements to an extreme so that fans can revel in gratuitous violence and sex. (There is nothing wrong with violence or sex, but in books, I want those things to be part of the plot line, not in spite of the plot line.) To me, Anne Bishop does a better job with handling the topics and crafting them into scenes that serve a purpose.
As a reader, it makes for a better story.
As a writer, it taught me that I wanted to do the same.
This series remains one of my favorite series in the fantasy genre. Anne’s world building and culture building are as phenomenal as her storytelling.
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