So, I’ve been wibble-wobbling back and forth about whether or not I want to read Anne Bishop’s The Invisible Ring for a while. It ties in with Shadow Queen and Shalador’s Lady specifically; the characters in The Invisible Ring are the ancestors of several characters in those stories and are referenced frequently, but it’s not a crucial part of the series.

I finally picked it up at the library, I mean, it was there, so why not?

Alas, I was not impressed.

The narrative follows Jared, a powerful Warlord who’s been enslaved for most of his adult life. He is taken in by the Gray Lady, and equally powerful Queen. The story is about how their relationship grows and the adventures they have while escaping enemy territory.

Sadly, the plot seemed rushed and the characters never grabbed me (which is odd for a Bishop novel – she’s usually really good at character development). Also, despite this taking place during Dorothea’s tainted reign, a lot of the dark creepiness that characterized her and her minions in the previous books is missing. Even the snappy, sarcastic wit that’s usually laced through her stories is missing from this one. We seem to have struck out on all counts!

To be clear, this isn’t a bad book, it’s just really lackluster compared to all the rest of the Black Jewels novels. I don’t think I’ll spend money on it though, and since it isn’t necessary to the rest of the series, I think my collection will be fine without it.