In which it becomes apparent that I love increasingly inaccurately named trilogies.

21 07 2008

A trilogy is defined as “a series of three dramas or literary works or sometimes three musical compositions that are closely related and develop a single theme”.  For whatever reason, a lot of science fiction has a tendency to happen in trilogies – look to “His Dark Materials”, the original Star Wars films, or, my personal favorite, the ‘Back to the Future’ movies. There’s also a great tradition in science fiction to have misnamed trilogies (citing “Lord of the Rings” as an example, here), or extended trilogies, such as what was dubbed “The Increasingly Inaccurately Named Hitchhiker’s Trilogy”, which was the name given to Douglas Adams’ five book Hitchhiker’s Guide trilogy.

Now.  The Hitchhiker’s trilogy has long been my alltime favorite five book trilogy, due to its fantastic story content, but also due to its standing as the only five book trilogy I knew of for sure.

Well, Hitchhiker’s, you might have to move over on the shelf.  There’s a new five book trilogy in town, and while it’s got nowhere near the acclaim you’ve got, it’s still a series of really solid sci-fi/fantasy novels.  (Though probably a bit more fantasy than sci/fi.)

I’m referring, of course, to Anne Bishop’s  “Black Jewels Trilogy”.  The original three books in the trilogy were Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, and Queen of the Darkness, and have been followed up by her fourth in the series, Dreams Made Flesh, and, as of March this year, a fifth book, Tangled Webs.

I’ve been a huge fan of this trilogy since 9th grade, when a friend of mine handed me Daughter of the Blood for no particular reason.  It was the first bit of adult fantasy that I had ever read and actually enjoyed.  While some might argue that it’s nothing new or impressive in the fantasy world, I would have to disagree.  The world that Anne Bishop created is unbelievably rich and engrossing.  It’s throughly detailed, vibrant, and real.  As an aspiring writer myself, I have endless respect for real-life writers who are able to create, out of nothing but their imaginations and a computer, these worlds that are so lifelike and detailed that a reader feels he or she can truly see it.  The world in the “Black Jewels Trilogy” is incredibly complicated, and because of it, extremely captivating.  I was extremely sad when I originally finished the trilogy, because I didn’t want to leave that world, those compelling characters whom I felt I knew intimately.

And so imagine my surprise and joy when I discovered she had written a fourth book in the series!  I’d always felt that Queen of Darkness had ended abruptly and unsatisfactorily (impressive, given the book’s 430 page length).  And so I read Dreams Made Flesh happily and eagerly, and mostly while sitting on the floor of a Barnes & Noble.    Dreams Made Flesh did everything I hoped it would; answered questions from her previous books that I still had, invited me to learn even more about the characters I already felt I knew.  The end of the book felt like a true and honest ending, and when I finished reading it, I felt that recognizable sense of sadness.

And then.  Out of nowhere.  And by nowhere, I mean from Wikipedia.  I discovered that Anne Bishop had written a fifth book in the series! Tangled Webs, A Black Jewels Novel.  I lept out of my desk chair, drove to a book store, bought the book, returned home, sat down, opened the book and didn’t look up until I’d finished the book.  That, my friends, is the sign of a compelling trilogy.

I would, and am, recommending this new five book trilogy to anyone who’s looking for a lovely new world to lose him or herself in.  Sure the story’s a little silly, but you’ll be transported to a new place, and that’s what the genre’s all about, isn’t it?  I do feel that it’s worth noting, however, that of all the people I have met who have read this series of books, only one has been male.   I myself have tried to convince a few of my male friends to read it, and they have thusfar been unable to, though I am not sure why.  If anyone might have an idea as to why this is, I’d be happy to hear it.



3 responses

21 07 2008

Oh, my god. I LOVE that trilogy. You’re the only other person I know of (besides the friend who thrust the books into my arms) who knows it! I didn’t know she’d written two more, I’ll have to find ’em. Yay!

1 08 2008

If you’re looking for another good trilogy – one which actually is a true trilogy – The Bromeliad Trilogy by Terry Pratchett is a particularly delightful read. Nomes :)

1 08 2008

Apologies for using the word “trilogy” three dastardly times in the above post. Redundancy shall be my downfall.

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