Fans of Bishop's Black Jewels series will delight in this stand-alone foray into the world of the Blood with the SaDiablo family. New readers will
likely be confused. While there's
some exposition, there's also an assumption that readers are conversant with Bishop's complex world. The plot is a bit thin, but there's plenty of sly humor and action to keep the reader well entertained.
Surreal SaDiablo, an ex-assassin and courtesan, is the first to arrive at what she believes is a sneak peek at the haunted house that Jaenelle Angelline and Marian Yaslana have put together for the local landen -- the non-Blood citizens of the district. Unfortunately for Surreal and her warlord prince companion, Rainier, it's a trap designed to frighten and then kill those trapped inside.
Accompanied by a handful of landen children, Surreal and Rainier struggle to stay alive while their relatives try to figure out what's going on and how to rescue them. (Roc, Mar., 384 pp., $23.95)