Years ago a friend of mine with a similar taste in fantasy books told me to try the Black Jewels Trilogy as she was sure I'd love it. Not being able to find it at my local bookstore and not yet buying online at that time I forgot about it though.
Then one day I came across an anthology called Imaginary Friends and in this anthology was the story 'Stands a God Within the Shadows' by Anne Bishop.
I fell in love with this story. The writing, the story itself, the emotion in it: everything about it was brilliant. So I just had to read more by this author.
I started out my search for more books by Anne Bishop at the local bookstore again. And what did I find: Anne Bishop was the author of the Black Jewels books my friend had mentioned to me years before.
As is usually the case my bookstore still didn't have the trilogy, but they did have one other Black Jewels book: Tangled Webs.
I took a chance and bought the book even though it wasn't the first book in the series.
And I'm very glad I did! Tangled Webs was just as beautiful a read as the short story in Imaginary Friends. There was one negative thing though: the characters were so cool, so intriguing that they overshadowed the story. All the while I kept getting sidetracked as I wanted to know more about them and their history. One thing was certain when I finished the book: I had to read more of this series!
My next read was The Shadow Queen, also a book further along in the series and I loved it, but my curiosity about the characters and their past kept on growing. So my search for the original trilogy was on and finally I found them combined in one large volume.
The Black Jewels Trilogy was fantasy at its best: gritty, dark, but also filled with hope, love and friendship. An epic story with the most amazing characters I've come across in fantasy. And just as every other book I've read by Bishop it's written so beautifully it's a joy in itself to just lose yourself in the flow of the text.
When I finished the trilogy I got hold of all the other books in the Black Jewels series and devoured them so to speak. And since then I've been rereading them all on a regular basis.
But it seems my love for Bishop's writing is in danger!
There's a new Black Jewels book 'Twilight's Dawn' with short stories and it has fans of this series divided. Some love it, some hate it. I've been reading reviews that make me think it still could go either way for me, but I'm afraid to read the book I'll confess. The book only being available as hardcover at the moment is helping in me not yet picking it up as well.
So I think I'll wait for a while and first pick up one of Bishop's other books, like Sebastian or maybe I'll start the Tir Alainn Trilogy.
Whatever I will think of Twilight's Dawn though I will keep treasuring the book I've already read and keep rereading them again and again.