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The Black Jewels & Other Things

August 16, 2010

I’ve been on a reading binge for the past week or so, averaging one book every day and a half, it’s pretty much ALL I’ve done. It all started with The Millennium Trilogy, The Hunger Games and its sequel Catching Fire, and ended with The Black Jewels.

The Black Jewels series with the original trilogy at its core spanned into another five books. All of which I’ve read except for the last one, which I just started today.

All of the books that I’ve mentioned feature one thing in common: a strong female protagonist. I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise to me since I sniffed out these recommendations from an article that bemoaned the insufferable Bella from the Twilight series and her shortcomings as a role model for young readers. The Black Jewels series among others was offered as a remedy.

It peeked enough of my interest to go take a look and I found myself pulled in by the characters as well as the world that Anne Bishop created when she wrote these books.

The story of the Black Jewels takes place in a world where magic, unicorns, and dragons exist, but unlike other books of the same ilk this series also explores a society that was build on specific gender roles and how men and women interact with each other based on these societal rules, as well as what happens to a society that doesn’t take this delicate balance into consideration.

What happens when this balance isn’t maintained? Lots of rape, child abuse, torture, and violence of all kinds. It’s an interesting depiction of traditional gender roles and it’s an entertaining read just for all the magic shenanigans even if it does lack in some areas. Mainly, it doesn’t even superficially acknowledge people who wouldn’t readily recognize or fit into this outline of female and male (and mostly heterosexual) gender roles. Which doesn’t make it a bad book, just limited in its view, especially if you were looking for more than just an interesting story.

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