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Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop

Title Heir to the Shadows
Author Anne Bishop
Publisher ROC
Year 1999
ISBN 0-451-45672-6

Teaser/Reader Annotation After the physical wounds have healed, Jaenelle still has to deal with the mental scars and holes in her memory left from the vicious rape years ago. She must find a way to heal herself emotionally and learn to control her wild magic in order to save the Realm from the spiraling political perversion.

Plot Summary The Blood – those with the magical power to use craft – have ruled the Realms for thousands of years, acting as caretakers of the land. However, a Priestess named Dorothea has been slowly draining the Realm of Terreille of the most powerful witches and warlords and degenerating the carefully balanced political system. Now the corruption is starting to be reflected in the twilight realm of Kaeleer. For centuries, select members of the Blood have waited anxiously for the prophesied birth of Witch – the one destined to rule the three realms and restore order to the lands – only for her to be mentally and physically shattered by a violent rape at twelve. After waking as a fourteen year old from her coma, Jaenelle must learn to trust again, despite the holes in her memory, to pull together her makeshift family and grow into her powerful birthright before the creeping perversion can destroy Kaeleer and all chance to save Terreille.

Critical Evaluation Anne Bishop's deeply sensual, dark fantasy is written in the third-person narrative with the point-of-view fluctuating between a cast of intriguing characters. She spins an intricate web of political schemes, hidden agendas, and personal vendettas throughout the book, weaving them together in the end in a way that sets everything in motion for the next book in the series and leaves the reader both deeply confused and anxious to continue. What is, perhaps, the most fascinating aspect of this book and the series itself is the way it forces the reader to truly examine the nature of darkness and light and leave behind stereotypes and preconceptions. While it is possible with some book series to skip around or begin with a later book, it is not so in The Black Jewels Trilogy. There is no way a reader could understand the many layers of intrigue and storyline in this novel without having read Daughter of the Blood previously. If they enjoyed that one, then there is no doubt they will get lost within this page turner and go searching for the third book soon thereafter.

About the Author Anne Bishop lives in upstate New York and spends most of her time either gardening or writing. To date she has published thirteen novels, though she has several more due to be published within the next year. The most famous of these novels take place within the realms of The Black Jewel Trilogy; however, she has also designed two other fantasy worlds within which she writes.

Her first book, Daughter of the Blood, was released in 1998 and was followed quickly thereafter by Heir to the Shadows (1999) and Queen of the Darkness (2000). The Black Jewels Trilogy quickly became a fan favorite. Daughter of the Blood was a Sapphire Award finalist its year of publication, and upon completion in 2000, The Black Jewels Trilogy won the William L. Crawford Memorial Fantasy Award.

Primary Genre Fantasy

Secondary Genre Romance

Curriculum Ties Gender Studies, Politics

Booktalking Ideas

1) What are some of the ways this novel challenges you to confront stereotypes and preconceptions?

2) One of the defense mechanisms Jaenelle used to get through the rape was to block out the memories of the events and people connected to it. Do you think this is a realistic response or was it sensationalized for the novel?

Reading Level/Interest Age This is an adult-fiction cross-over. I would recommend it for high-grade readers ages sixteen and up.

Challenge Issues violence, sexual content

1) Become familiar with book and its content.
2) Refer to library's collection policies.
3) Refer to reviews from School Library Journal, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobles.
4) Get reviews from teenagers who are familiar with the book.

Why is it included? I read this book when I was fifteen and one of my friends was dealing with the aftermath of rape. It really helped me to understand the healing process she was going through.