source for free and affordable eBooks


Powered by FreeFind

Site search
Web search

    Review of BELLADONNA by Anne Bishop (see her website)


    Roc, March 2007

    Generations before, the true world was torn into pieces in an attempt to isolate and weaken The Eater of the World, a mysterious entity who creeps into people's minds, whispers their darkest nightmares, and gradually blots out their existance--sometimes not so gradually. The landscapers who split the world are mostly gone now and those who remain fear Glorianna Belladonna and others with the power to confront the Eater. Belladonna has largely reconciled herself to never knowing love--largely but not completely.

    Michael is a magician, a luck-giver for good or for ill. He makes his rounds, traveling through the world, singing his songs and playing his flute, trying to bring balance wherever he goes. But the Eater is whispering and a man who travels, who seems to have no connection, who has odd powers, is the perfect victim of the secret fears the Eater can plant. When Michael has a chance to find Belladonna, to connect with someone who won't find his magic frightening but rather empowering and even sexy, he can't resist. What he doesn't know is that this may just be what the Eater is waiting for.

    Author Anne Bishop (see more reviews of fantasy by Bishop) creates a wonderful universe in her Ephemera series. The concept of thousands of miniworlds, connected by the magic of bridges which sometimes take the person who walks them to a completely different place works well, as does Bishop's extended metaphor of gardening, with the landscapers literally controlling their sections of the broken world through a linkage to their gardens.

    Bishop delivers a pretty good book but it doesn't quite live up to the promise of the universe she's created. The opening of the book, with Glorianna unhappy and wanting to be accepted by the landscapers, with Michael unhappy and not knowing what to do, with Michael's sister unhappy and bitter, with Merrill unhappy and trying to create a perfect world--yes, these are interesting characters but for the most part sitting around being unhappy isn't the most compelling story-telling. BELLADONNA could have done with a few more twists and turns in plot and a few less conversations abou the (admittedly fascinating) way the world of Ephemera works.

    More so than in SEBASTIAN, the earlier novel in this series (see our review), Bishop does integrate the romance with the plot. Still, it would have been nice to see more about what makes these two people right for one another. It seemed to me that Bishop relies a bit too much on magic.

    So, BELLADONNA has some flaws. Still, Bishop can string together a story. Some of her sketches--of the Eater entering people's minds, for example--are powerful stuff. Glorianna's plan to defeat the Eater is highly emotional and definitely gripping. And the world of Ephemera--or rather the countless miniworlds of Ephemera--is endlessly fascinating.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 6/11/07

    Ready to buy it? Click the button:

    Want to learn more?
    Click this link and see more reviews, similar books, and other Amazon information on BELLADONNA from

    Rather buy it from Barnes and Noble?
    Click this link for BELLADONNA from Barnes and

    Buy the eBook version from

    Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name. Banner Exchange