It’s time for a new installment of Hate Book Club! If you need a refresher, Patricia Ladd and I are reading books we think we will hate, and then reviewing them. Each post has to include a graph, a summarizing GIF, and at least some positive comments (sarcasm is allowed). I’m also doing little report cards at the end.
This month, we challenged each other to read dreadful books from our own past. I tasked Patricia with one of the worst novels I’ve ever read, The Natural by Bernard Malamud (here’s her review!!), while she saddled me with Daughter of the Blood, a fantasy novel by Anne Bishop. We’re not sure who won/lost this matchup. Both of these books are unspeakably, painfully, grindingly awful.
This is the book that almost broke me. If I was ever going to give up our book club, this would be the time. But I didn’t. How smart of a decision that was, the reader may decide.
How terrible is Daughter of the Blood? Well, the first problem is that it’s utterly impenetrable. Author Anne Bishop offers no help to the novice reader. This is the first book in a series, but aside from a couple of weird glossaries involving the rankings of different jewel colors, you just get thrown in with no guidance. First some crazy lady gives a prophecy, but it’s not clear why the prophecy is important or why people care about it. Then we suddenly zoom forward like 700 years, but we’re still in the same weird medieval kingdom. A very weird medieval kingdom, as you shall see.
So the plot is, uh, okay, bear with me. There’s this girl. She’s like seven years old, and then suddenly she turns 12. She is super duper magical and is not only a witch, but the ultimate witch, so people call her Witch. Apparently this is good news. The prophecy spoke about her. She’s supposed to do something really important that everybody’s excited about. But, what is it? Aside from be super powerful? Nobody explains. We just get told she’s super important and powerful.
Also, the characters are impossible to remember. That’s because none of them has even the slightest shred of personality or interest. Plus, a lot of their names are similar. There’s this guy named Daemon, and a guy named Saetan, and a guy named Lucivar (and a minor character named Uncle Bob) (not joking here), and sometimes they live in Hell, but sometimes they live in Hayll. And it’s not clear whether this is the more famous Hell or not, and likewise the characters. And I don’t know what Hayll is. If this universe has a Daemon and a Saetan and a Lucivar, where is the Godde and Gawd and Gahd? Or Jezus and Jeezis? Continue reading