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The Queen's Price by Anne Bishop
Narrator: Gary Littman
Series: Black Jewels #12
Published by Penguin Audio on March 7, 2023
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Length: 18 hours, 28 minutes
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Zoey, a young Queen-in-training at SaDiablo Hall, is wounded...and vulnerable to taunts and criticism. When an opportunity arises to befriend a stranger seeking sanctuary at the Hall, she puts herself and others in danger by ignoring Daemonar Yaslana's warning to back off.
Meanwhile, the witch Jillian's family prepares for her Virgin Night, the rite of passage that assures a woman will retain her power and her Jewels. The trouble is Jillian secretly went through the ceremony already. Now she has to explain the omission of that detail to her powerful and lethal family. And the High Lord of Hell's daughter, Saetien, travels to Scelt to find out about Jaenelle Angelline's sister--and perhaps to discover truths about herself.
With some guidance from Witch, these three young women will learn when to yield because it is right--and when to take a stand, even if they must pay the Queen's price.
The Queen’s Price by Anne Bishop is the 12th book in The Black Jewels series. The original trilogy of this series is still my favorite, just be warned it probably includes just about any trigger you could possibly have. The rest of the books set in this world I’ve still enjoyed very much, some more than others. Books 1-7 focus more on Witch and Dameon and their love story. Book 9 is a collection of stories, the last being the one that sets up the new line of stories, involving Dameon and his daughter, Jaenelle Saetian. This new arc in the stories just isn’t as strong as the original, but that said I do love being in this world again and so I continue on.
Jaenelle Saetian is sent on a quest to discover more about Witch’s sister and in so doing possibly find out who she is. I have struggled with her character in the last book; she has been a spoiled and petulant child. This is a journey out from under the name of her father to give her some room to come into her skin. In her search for answers, she finds out more of the history of the land, the battles fought and the cost to Jaenelle Angeline aka Witch. I enjoyed my time with Jaenelle Saetian in this book and was glad she was able to find a path that fits her better, where she can learn to be herself.
Daemon, the High Lord of hell, has set up a school of sorts like his father before him. Having so many queens and future courts in his house comes with its own set of issues as they are learning roles and boundaries. Someone might even be trying to cause problems when some weird lessons start showing up. Zoey, Titian and a few other queens will need to figure out where the lines should be drawn and when the adults should be dragged in. Enjoyed parts of this story, especially the new warrior Queen sent to the hall for protection. However, it seemed so minor compared to the other troubles the land has faced and a bit replayed. Overall, it was a good show how evil plants seeds that could take root if not pulled early.
There are a few other side stories like Jillian and her virgin night, that she forgot to mention to her adoptive father and uncle. Trying to break the news to them and move onto having her first romantic relationship added some nice levity to the story. Brenda, a human come to the hall to help teach was a nice touch as well. She is so funny and I love how she questions some of the rituals that have been set up. She definitely isn’t scared to go toe to toe with the blood.
My favorite time is always any glimpse we get to see of Witch. I miss her and Daemon together and never got comfortable with the idea of Daemon moving on to be with Surreal. There is always a price and Daemon has paid so much that I hope with the direction the story is going he will get some more time with in some shape with the love of his life Jaenelle Angeline, Witch. I don’t know how many more of these stories we will get, but I do look forward to them and hope to see the HEA for two of my favorite characters soon.
I wouldn’t say you need to start at book 1 to read this story but I would recommend reading the The High Lord’s Daughter in Twilights Dawn and then the rest of the series before jumping in to really understand the world, the characters and the overall story.
“And sometimes loving someone means being willing to fight them into the ground if they’re putting themselves in danger or doing something wrong.”
Gary Littman took over the narration of the series on book 10 and I have gotten used to his voice for the characters, but it was a shift after 9 books with the same voices in my head. The narrations of this series have been very strong especially considering the extensive cast of characters. Another really strong performance. I was able to listen at my usual 1.5x speed
Listen to a clip: HERE
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