Dreams Made Flesh (The Black Jewels #5) by Anne Bishop Review

dreams-made-fleshI loved the first three books and I loved the characters and I liked the way that arc ended. The trouble with Dreams Made Flesh is that ideally it should have focused on secondary characters, like the other queens instead of sticking with Jaenelle and Daemon. Allow me to explain.

I liked the first story about the creation of the Web of Dreams, it was interesting, like an origin story. Then there was the second story about the courtship of Lucivar and Marian and even that was enjoyable. But in that story, we met Luthvian and Roxie yet again. Luthvian may have redeemed herself at the end of Queen of the Darkness but here she was far from that version of herself. She was hateful and manipulative.

I liked Lucivar and Marian. They were a sweet pair and I liked that Marian wasn’t afraid of letting Lucivar know when he was behaving like a neanderthal. For his part, Lucivar tried to be patient and mostly succeeded. And perhaps, most of all I enjoyed their interactions with Jaenelle (the first time she, Marian and Saetan go shopping was hilarious) But then the irritants started piling on. I’ve already mentioned Luthvian. Then there was Roxie. She is so vile, like a disgusting insect, except even they serve some purpose. She was just vile and I couldn’t understand why Luthvian let her stay with her when she knew that she made her son uncomfortable. She knew what Lucivar had gone through in Terielle and she still let Roxie parade around him. Here she was even more outrageous, letting people think that not only was Lucivar sleeping with her but when that didn’t work, she planned to accuse him of rape and let him wear the Ring of Obedience. Thankfully that didn’t happen thanks to Marian.

I didn’t read the story about Hekatah making Saetan’s life miserable, I had seen enough of her in the first three books and I had no intention of reading more about her. The final story is about Daemon trying to help Jaenelle after the events of the Queen of the Darkness. She lost her dark Jewels but gained a new one, the Twilight’s Dusk. In addition to seeing Daemon try to reach Jaenelle and rekindle their relationship, there was also the additional (and unnecessary plot) of another aristo woman, Lektra trying to lure Daemon to her bed.

She spreads rumors of his infidelity and when that doesn’t work, she tries to sabotage the carriage that Daemon and Jaenelle were in and when even that backfires, she decides to insinuate to Daemon that Jaenelle had taken another lover. I mean seriously! Give me a break. Haven’t we already dealt with women like that? And of course, once again Roxie was back. Why wasn’t she dead? I thought all the Blood who had Dorothea and Hekatah’s taint had perished. If anyone in the Dhemlan had their taint, it was Roxie so why was she still alive. So she’s also back stirring trouble.

While it was fun seeing more of Jaenelle, Daemon, Lucivar and Surreal, that joy was undermined by the sheer frustration with regard to the plot. I’ll admit, I wasn’t very worried that the women’s hair-brained schemes would work just because by now, the reader has a very clear idea about just how deep Daemon’s devotion to Jaenelle is and that he genuinely loves her. Having said that, it was gratifying to see the women get what they deserve. They tangled with the Sadist and had no idea what they were getting themselves into.

The frustration stems from the fact that the plot feels repetitive. We’ve seen these themes before and not much has changed here. It was engrossing the first time but then it got dragged for three whole books. In Dreams Made Flesh (and in the final story to be precise) the plot just feels old. There was nothing new here, nothing exciting. Which is why I said that it would have been better to focus on secondary characters instead of going back to the original protagonists time and again. Their story concluded and concluded well, let them be. I would have liked to see Karla (one of my favourite characters from the first three books) or Gabrielle or some of the other Queens. But far from focusing on them, they didn’t even appear.

I’m going to give these books a break now, if at all, I’ll read Tangled Web but not anytime soon. I think I’m done with this universe and I want to leave while I still like the series.

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