DCIB Book Club: “The Prince of Ebon Rih”, How Much Did You Love It?

OMG, I almost forgot about this post. It’s been A Day (carpenter here to fix the table before I move it, need to get bookshelves to the storage unit, generally exhausted).

First, I don’t know if it was clear just from this short story, but this is a world in which male and female powers are flipped from our world. Women are the rulers, women are the controllers, men are the servants and providers of children and sex objects. Personally, I find it very well done. It keeps the same familiar gender traits, it doesn’t make women into men, just changes there meaning. So, the male instinct towards violence and anger is made into “protection to serve women”, for example. And the female instinct towards charm and subtlety is made into “wisdom that rules” sort of. Anyway, it works for me without feeling awkward or I Am Making a Point. What did you think about the gender stuff?

Magic Sex Rut-believable, or silly, or forgivably silly? I say, forgivably silly! Yes, a magical sex rut (literally magical, love all the “and then he vanished her clothes” moments) is ridiculous, but it is no more ridiculous than anything else in a fantasy book, and why not?

If you were in this Magical World, would you rather be a Humble Hearth Witch, or an All Powerful Queen? Humble hearth witch all the way! Well, so long as I had an All Powerful Queen as my friend. I don’t want to be abused by bad people in power or anything, but I also want to stay home and make cookies instead of flying around ruling All the Known World. If I could be a humble hearth witch who was secretly an All Powerful Queen as needed, that would be best of all. But probably not viable.

Luciver’s Mother Issues-too real? I really adore the Luciver Mother Issues plots. As you can tell from this short story, there was a whole backstory and escape from a terrible land and blah blah, but honestly I find the part where they are both living safely near each other and can’t seem to stop sniping way WAY more realistic. Especially the way she wants him to marry a powerful respectable daughter in law, and not a humble hearth witch, even if the hearth witch makes him happy.

You can only pick one, do you like Jaenelle or Luciver or Marian or Saten better? Luciver! I loooooooooooove Luciver! He’s so dang straight forward, in this world where everyone else is always misunderstanding each other. And I think Anne Bishop, the author, must love him too. Because once she finished her central trilogy, Luciver is the character she keeps returning to as the main character in her one-off novels.

8 thoughts on “DCIB Book Club: “The Prince of Ebon Rih”, How Much Did You Love It?

  1. The Prince of Ebon Rih was so good. Now, I want to go back and read the first three books.

    1. I thought the gender roles were interesting. To me, from what I understood, women were the rulers (i.e. Queens), and while men were consorts and princes who served the queen, there were some men who also held equally high positions like the High Lord of Hell. In terms of injustice inflicted upon the sexes, men were sold and displayed as sex slaves but women could also easily be raped and were at a high risk of being raped and killed because the punishment for the rapist was severe.

    2. I was a bit worried the magical sex rut would turn rapey/ the usual YA-fantasy trope where the men at some point become violent and lose their way and the women are so in love that they continue to pine for the men until they get better. Obviously, I hate hate this trope! I was especially worried given Marian’s history. But here, while I wasn’t a huge fan or Marian having to use her survival training/instint to be around Lucivar while he was in the rut, the actual sex seemed consensual. And I appreciated that Lucivar continued to put Marian’s needs first when it came to sex.

    3. I LOVED Janelle. I want to know more about her and her history. She is such an all around bad-a$$! She is obviously a survivor. She can destroy bad guys, rule in a tough and fair manner, and at the same time I loved how casual and even girly she could be with Marian and Merry.

    4. Lucivar’s mother issues were a little too Hindi filmy (e.g., Half Girlfriend) to me, with a focus on bloodlines and social status etc. But, I guess I never really worried about her too much, since I knew Janelle and Saetan would see through it soon enough.

    5. Oh this is so so hard. I loved loved Janelle so probably her but I would want someone like Saetan as a grandfather. He was just so wise and loving and also very very scary if someone messed with his family.

    6.Other things I enjoyed: I love that there is a lot of adopted children and father’s friends who are uncles. It feels again, very Hindi filmly in a good way. I also loved that everyone (Lucivar, Janelle, and Saetan) gave Mirian time to heal but also gently pushed/guided/helped her overcome years of people telling her that she was worthless.

    7. Hindi film cast: Saetan = Amitabh 100%. Marian: maybe Alia, Aditi Rao Hydari, or Nushrat Barucha. Maybe Katrina. I want to cast someone who can be quiet, shy, a bit in her shell, but then also show her fiestyness when provoked. Lucivar: It has to be someone big and tall with an impressive body who can command attention but also show vulnerability. I am thinking Hrithik, ARK, Sid, Kunal Kapoor. Maybe even John Abraham. Janelle: Kareena Kapoor comes to mind right away. Maybe Taapse ot Sushmita Sen.

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    • Yaaaaaaaaay! Be warned, all the books are SO GOOD!!!! And SO ADDICTIVE!!!! Like, stay up until 3am rushing to finish them good.

      1. Yes! You got it!!! It doesn’t change any of the basic “women are at more danger of physical threat” reality, just puts in a social structure that puts them in charge. The other part that you got a little bit but really comes to the fore in Shalador’s Lady is this whole catty high school “mean girl” element. There’s a particular kind of nasty heartless female behavior that is escalated to the extreme of magic and drama and stuff in a very satisfying way. Shalador’s Lady is another standalone, by the way, if you want to dip your toe in.

      2. There’s a whole running thing in the books of how the most effective distraction when anyone is Immense Power is asking them for help. Which I kind of like as a general rule, to calm someone down and get their sympathy is to ask for help. And the most insulting thing is to be afraid. I love that!

      3. Jaenelle is AWESOME! There’s this whole thing about how she doesn’t WANT her immense power, she prefers to just be girly and happy and like everyone else, but she is obligated to use her power to protect people. It’s great, she isn’t like “I glory in my POWER!!!”, she is like “if you try to hurt my friends, I will put myself in front of them”.

      4. I do like that they had a powerful enchantment to bring on the family issues! So Marian isn’t just being dumb, she is ENCHANTED. Unlike in the normal in-law issue stories where someone is just being dumb.

      5. You will enjoy the first two books so much! It covers Jeanelle finding her father in Saetan and him being super kind and loving and patient to her all the time, and generally a sweet nice old Papa. Along with being the all powerful High Lord of Hell.

      6. Yes! This book is all about family, and how valuable family is. And also how sometimes you have to find your “real” family outside of biology. There’s a whole brother relationship that you don’t even get in this book, Luciver’s driving love at all times is for his long lost brother (who hadn’t been found yet at the time of this story). The fight, they make up, and they will go to any extreme to defend the other one. SO SWEET!!!

      7. Important question!!!

      Saeten=100% Amitabh!!! Fatherly, loving, but super powerful too

      Marian=I vote Katrina! Warm and strong but quiet

      Lucivar=Call me crazy, but MAdhavan! In Saala Khadoos mode. Big and muscle-y and unkempt and short tempered.

      Jaenelle=Maybe Sonam? Feminine, fragile looking, soft voiced, but super strong.

      On Mon, May 17, 2021 at 11:36 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Speaking of catty mean girl stuff, I was really worried that even if Roxie is banished from Ebon Rih, it is not going to stop her from doing what she did whereever she goes next. So, I am happy that at least they they sent a message warning people in the other kingdoms of her behavior.

        I agree that the enchantment made is less Marian fault and it goes along with the theme of all the bad people in her life telling her she is worthless. So I liked that she kept fighting it even when she wasn’t aware that she was being enchanted.

        Ooh, I like the idea of Madhavan. I love the idea of Sonam playing Jaenelle. She can definitely be very girly and strong!

        Also, TASSLE!!! How have we not discussed Tassle?! He was just so adorable. I especially like when he wagged his tail because he was told by a kindred dog that it is what you should do to endear yourself to a human. He was just so cute and innocent and loving. Who would do the voiceover for Tassle in the movie? Not Aamir after Dil Dhadkne Do.

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        • Tassle is so great! the whole idea of “magical mental talking dogs” is just GENIUS!!!! Who wouldn’t want a cute little dog that talks to you? I think it has to be either a child, or an actress doing a child’s voice. Oh OH! What about Rani??? She would have so much fun doing it, and her husky voice would be perfect.

          Having Marian fight the enchantment is so important! It makes the enchantment be the final step in her emotional journey, not just disagreeing with people who put her down or something, but fighting this whole magical enchantment thing because she is so STRONG!!! And values herself!!!!

          If Luciver is Madhavan, all gruff and strong and bossy but kind, who is sexy with him? Still Kat? I feel like Kat would work.

          On Mon, May 17, 2021 at 2:51 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yes, Rani would be great!

            I feel like Kat would work too. But Madhavan would clearly need to wear 4 inch lifts. I am just picturing someone tall in this role and I am pretty sure Madhavan and Kat basically the same height.

            I also really enjoyed the funny moments in the book. Like Tassle being told not to sniff Marian’s crotch or the story of Jaenelle burning down a house while trying to bake and not being able to even boil an egg. Or Marian saying that Jaenelle had more energy than a roomful of puppies and less sense than any of those puppies when it comes to picking furniture. And Marian being equally exasperated about how long she was going to have to pick out ugly furniture before Marian steppped in and took over.

            Does Shalandor’s Lady have good romance in it? I can’t tell based on the description. I loved the fantasy romance banter in Ebon Rih.

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          • Shalador’s Lady has a good romance, but definitely a different kind of romance. And you have to read the first book which has less romance before you can read the second one. Oh, there’s also The Invisible Ring. But that’s less banter-y. Different series, but Sebastian from the Ephemera series has a GREAT romance.

            Bite your tongue, Maddy is PERFECT! I am sure he is super tall.

            On Mon, May 17, 2021 at 3:25 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I have to say, this story on its own didn’t make it too clear that all the rulers were women, and not just Jaenelle – (who is the coolest, by the way. I loved her exasperation over how long she had to suggest impossible furniture.) The power dynamic in the central couple was still very clearly about him being in charge.

    In the aftermath, I am thinking most about Roxie, though. While reading, she’s a case of “obviously she has to be punished”. But then the situation got me thinking about stuff like: How bad is a false accusation of rape compared to actually being raped and not being able to prove it? And how accurate is the impression one can get from fiction that both are about equally widespread? And why does the story dwell on the false accusation almost more than on the threat of Lucivar actually being raped by Roxie via magical artifact? Does just threatening any of that really justify exile? Even if the characters are in the lucky position to kind of be able to prove it via truth spell? And if I wasn’t in the head of the main characters, but instead a random person from the street that flocks into that impromptu trial: Would I leave that inn satisfied that justice is being done? Everyone with anything to say in that trial was biased in favor of the would – be victim, and he even got to carry out the punishment. And the truth spell wasn’t even used. That takes a lot of trust in those dangerous magicians as absolute rulers.

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    • The books do some really interesting things with the power of a lie. False accusations of rape, and false denials, it’s all mixed up. But I think what she is getting at is that it depends a bit on the power dynamic of society. In a society where women by default have more power, than a rape accusation has a different meaning. Both that woman are discouraged against making real accusations because it is ‘so unfair”, and that false accusations must be treated very seriously.

      The books are also very big on the absolute rulers being absolute. Yes, loads of “bad” corrupt ones, that’s the whole good and evil battle, but no one even considers a democratic system of some kind, Pure Lunacy.

      On Thu, May 20, 2021 at 12:11 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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