If You Like: Then You Should Read: (Anne Bishop Edition)


Over the past two weeks I have gone on an Anne Bishop glom.  I was lucky enough to be offered an ARC of the first book in her new series.  Written in Red blew me away.  When I mentioned how much I enjoyed it Tori from Smexybooks suggested that I try her Black Jewels trilogy.  While the two series are very different from each other in specific ways they both have the same overall feeling to them.  Hopefully if I describe why I like the books and her writing y’all can give me some suggestions on similar authors or series!

The World Building

Ms. Bishop writes more of a fantasy/urban fantasy feel than romance.  That’s not to say there isn’t romance in the books because there is, the romance just plays a more subtle role to the story and the world building.  I am a complete, 100% romance lover so for several books to suck me in like these did and for me to love them, without the overwhelming presence of romance, really says something.  Ms. Bishop tells a story, a mesmerizing, complex and layered story so much so that I don’t even miss the romance that doesn’t play a central part.

Her characters

The best word I can come up with for her characters is unapologetic.  They are written is such a way that they do whatever is necessary for the goal.  Written in Red focuses on some brutal supernatural characters that rule their world.  Some of the death scenes were graphic and gory but felt exactly like what they needed to be.  You can’t be squeamish and read Anne Bishop.  She pulls no punches with her characters and that gives the story a more authentic and realistic feel.

The story arc

I would like something that carries over through several books.  Oftentimes I feel like the story needed more, like I was cut off just when it was getting good.  The Black Jewels trilogy felt complete.  There were three books and so many threads but when it ended, it ended with me satisfied by the outcome.  Written in Red, while only the first book in her new series, has that same feel.  I think we will be in this world for many books and the story will be one that follows these characters.  I want several books with the same main players, not new ones.

Hopefully I gave you a good idea of what I am looking for.  So maybe you can help me out?

Fill in the blank: If you like Anne Bishop’s books, then you should read ___________.


  1. says

    If you like Anne Bishop’s books, then you should read C. L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul series. Fantasy series that features a heroine who is the salvation of a tormented Fey king and the key to saving his immortal race. There’s romance, there’s intrigue, death, awesome world building. I went out and bought the 2nd and 3rd book immediately after reading book 1. Book 4 was slow and meh for me but I did like how the storyline wrapped up in book 5.

    I’m looking forward to her new book (The Winter King) whenever that releases.

      • Lisa Arnold says

        I too think C. L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul series would appeal to Anne Bishop fans. Unique creative world, strong male and female characters, unusual and new plot line and bad guys you love to hate

    • tianaran says

      CL wilson’s Tairen Soul was excellent for the first 3 books. another review was right 4 & 5 were slow, almost painfully slow, but the wrap up was good, it just could have been condensed to a trilogy.

  2. Michelle G. says

    I think Jacqueline Carey could be a good pick if you’re looking for something similar. I’d recommend Kushiel’s Dart, the first in the Phedre’s Triology. If you enjoy the first triology there are additional triology’s that build from that original story line. I’ve enjoyed them all, but they are pretty thick books so it’s an involved story line.


    • Angela says

      I agree with the Jacqueline Carey recommend… I think I read the Kushiel series right around the same time I read Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series. They are not quick reads though. But very good.

      • Michelle G. says

        It does have a romance aspect. It takes just a little bit to get there but the society they live in is very free in their sexuality so while the reader makes their way to a HEA they have a lot of fun.

  3. Readsalot81 says

    I might recommend Michelle Sagara’s Chronicles of Elantra series. She has intricate world building, fascinating side characters that you get a get more in depth look at with each book, but little romance. Her books definitely have more of a fantasy feel, but the heroine is a law enforcement officer of sorts.. so it mixes the procedural with lush fantasy. At present, there are 8 books, (with 2 or 3 more in the works if I’m correct).. and while there is an overall story arc, each book reads as a complete novel of its own.

    • says

      This sounds like something I would like. Very similar to the recent Anne Bishop books I have read. Thanks!

        • says

          I’m all for Elizabeth Haydon, too. I love her books – I read hers the same time I read Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series. I’d like to recommend the Belgariad series of David Eddings, too, although it has mostly a fantasy feel – however I enjoyed the subtle romantic plots woven into the story for major characters (there are a lot!). One book I also recently discovered is Sharon Shinn’s Archangel – I just read the first one and it’s really good – unique, too, the world building amazing, the romance subtle. :)

  4. Angela says

    I still say you should give Lilith Saintcrow a try. Loved her Dante Valentine and Jill Kismet series. Especially if you liked both JC Daniels and Anne Bishop.

    • says

      Romance at all? It is ingrained in me to ask about the romance even though the Anne Bishop’s only had a very subtle romance, if at all.

      • Angela says

        Yes to both series. It’s hard for me to read any genre without some type of romance present.

  5. Lynnd says

    I would recommend Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana and/or the Lions of Al Rassan (they are not connected to each other). Fabulous world-building, political intrigue, great character development, beautiful writing and there is a romance or two (warning: there is heartbreak as well – he is not afraid to kill off well-loved characters). Even though each story is told in one volume, they are completely satisfying. All of Kay’s books are really good, but these two, aiong witht the Fionavar Tapestry – which is more “high fantasy” (there are a couple of romances contained in the story).

    • Jen says

      Kill off main characters? I was all about GRR Martin until everyone I loved died. Drogo, sob. Thanks for the recs. Sounds like what I am looking for.

  6. says

    I love the Dark Jewels books by Anne Bishop. You really should read the rest of them as well, only be very careful about reading the last book. You will hate it at first, then accept it, and love it. But it is though to continue reading.
    I agree on CL Wilson and Michelle Sagara If you want to try some older fantasy, with romance, try the Chronicles of Aurian by Maggie Furey.

    • Jen says

      I made the mistake of skipping to The High Lords Daughter before reading the rest. Fail. I would not suggest anyone else doing that.

    • Genii says

      Twilight’s Dawn drove me up the wall. Hated the way they wrapped up Daemon’s story. That said, I LOVE every book Anne Bishop has written. The Tir Alainn and Ephemera books are great, too. Been a fan for many years.

      As I’ve just stumbled upon this I have little idea what you have and haven’t read, but, I would highly recommended Sarah Douglass. She builds amazing worlds and there I’d a little romance too. Start with either the Wayfarer Redemption or the Troy Game. :)

  7. pamelia says

    Yes to the Jacqueline Carey Kushiel recommendations. Those are fab books.
    If you don’t mind a lot of weirdness and untraditional themes in your fantasy books I would recommend the Taryn McTavish books by R.Lee Smith — the first one is “The Care and Feeding of Griffins” .
    Has anyone read the Sevenwater books by Juliet Marrilier? I keep looking at them and wondering if I would like them.

    • Jen says

      I don’t mind weirdness. The BJ trilogy wasnt exactly normal. I will take a look at these. Thanks!

    • Leigh says

      I have read the sevenwaters trilogy. They’re quite good and I would definitely recommend them. The first one especially has an Anne bishop feel to it.
      If you want a quick read Juliet marriliers young adult novels ‘wildwood dancing’ and ‘cybele’s secret’ are among some of my favourite books (Anne Bishops work being my favourite).

    • says

      lol. I just saw this – I just recommended Sharon Shinn as well. Her Archangel book’s amazing (I only read the first one though. Haven’t yet gotten around to reading the second).

  8. Rowina says

    Agreed with those who recommended Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Series (both trilogies). I actually found Anne Bishop’s work after I read JC’s, and both are my all-time favourites for world-builiding and romance!
    And if you haven’t yet, I suggest you read also the Ephemera series from Anne: very different from the Black Jewel’s series, but amazing in its own right, with a highly imaginative world building and unforgettable characters.

    • says

      So I think I need to check out Jacqueline Carey. She keeps showing up in these recs.

      How is the romance in the Ephemera series?

  9. Marissa says

    I recommend The Demon child/ Hythrun series by Jennifer Fallon starting with “Medalon”. There is some romance but everyone doesn’t get a “Happy Ever After”

  10. Barbara says

    I love Anne Bishop. I started with the Black Jewels book when they first came out. You might want to check out the rest of her works. Her Tir Alainn trilogy is on a par with the Black Jewels in my mind and though I would love to go back the storyline is complete. The Ephemera series is also beautiful. I would second the Chronicles of Elantra recommended above. You might find Kim Harrison’s Hollows series worth pursuing. Also I like Patrica Briggs. Mercy Thomson is her current series but her older ones are also good. The think I like about all of these authors is although they have a definite romantic element there it is a longer arc than the traditional wrap it up in one book romances. I find that a lot more realistic, if at times frustrating.

    • says

      I agree with the frustration but that doesn’t stop me from snatching up those new releases when they come out. Mercy and Adam are one of my favorite couples.

  11. Mari says

    I would suggest giving Trudi Canavan a try. Starting with The Novice, The Magician and The High Lord – excellent world building, engaging characters and romance that is there but secondary (mostly). If you like YA at all I also suggest Kristin Cashore’s trilogy of Graceling, Fire and Bitterblue. Some romance, but not the typical HEA. And her world building was very different than anything I’ve read before.
    I also agree with the previous posters: go read the other books by Anne! :) Her Tir Alainn trilogy was lovely (the last two felt more like the Black Jewels – grittier I suppose) and Ephemera is another richly drawn world without equal.

  12. Rose says

    I agree with most of the comments about JC”s Kushiel series and also Kim Harrison’s Hallows series as well as Kristen Cashore is good and anything by Anne Bishop!! :) You might like Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series and Michelle Sagara’s Chronicles of Elantra. Also try Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series and i very much like Laurell k Hamilton’s Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series and Patrica Briggs Mercy Thompson and the Alpha and Omega branch off. All of these books have a strong female lead character.

    • says

      Is LKH Merry Gentry series like her Anita Blake one? I am not sure about all the sleeping around….

      • Briana says

        I don’t have a new reccomendation, (though I completely agree about Jacqueline Carey’s work), but I wanted to caution you about LKH’s Merry Gentry series. I haven’t read the Anita Blake series, so I don’t know what it’s like, but the Merry series is setup for the sleeping around. That’s not the caution though. The caution is that LKH has been on pause for this series for about 4 years now, and a new book hasn’t come out in that time. Just so you know, before you start it.

  13. Coley says

    If you are looking for the same sort of feel, Jacqueline Carey is similar so I have to 4th (5th? 6th?) this recommendation. She has a softer voice but Phèdre’s world is just as dangerous as Jaenelle’s.

    Caitlin Kittredge’s Black London series takes place in a modern setting but it is rich, dark and gritty. There is romance throughout the series and Jack reminds me of Daemon.

    I saw the The Hollows series by Kim Harrison mentioned which is a different read from Anne Bishop’s but I really enjoy the series so I thought I would add weight to that rec.

  14. Carrie says

    I’m so glad I found this thread, I have some new authors to check out now! :)
    Here are my contributions:
    I love all of Jeaniene Frost’s books- especially as she continues to follow her main couple(s) throughout all her books. Nice mix of fantasy and romance- great strong males and females.
    If you want more of a fantasy arc – I recommend Barb and JC Hendee’s Dhampir trilogy (it continues on into another story line that I didnt like as much, but the 1st 3 are great and give a HEA). Slow building romance in the series.
    Yasmine Galenorn has a great “Otherworld” series – currently spans about 7 books. Good romance, good fantasy world building.
    I love Robin D Owens books- she has 2 great series out and they are both high in romance and fantasy- must reads.
    Finally, drop everything and check out Nalini Singh. She has 2 to-die-for series out and is an auto must-buy for me. Paranormal fantasy romances with GREAT alpha males. I love how she carries an over arcing story line through her series and keeps us in touch with our favorite characters.

    My two cents :)

  15. Sabrina says

    No suggestions, but this post has been really helpful in ideas for myself, so THANKS!

  16. Lori says

    I love that people have posted books to read that are similar to Anne Bishop. I have loved her stuff since the first black jewels book was published and had to wait another month for book two and the third the following month. I have read most of the authors suggested by people. a couple new ones. Yay! I don’t think Jaqueline Carey is like Anne Bishop at all, but they were good reads. I just wanted to add Kate Elliott. Now that Jaran is finally available as an ebook people can read it again. The actually book is out of print. The four books in Jaran are good, and Kate Elliott’s books are all good. Each series has a different theme. All have great characters, strong females, good world building, and hints of romance but not throw it in your face erotica. Also if anyone has ever read Melanie Rawn. Her older stuff is really good. Again strong females, good world building, and character development. some romance but the sweet kind like Bishop.

  17. says

    I found your site last week when I was trying to find authors like Anne Bishop. You are now my new go-to source for novels, when I run out of ones I already have on my list – like Gena Showalter and CL Wilson. Thanks for writing this – and I can’t wait to read some more of your suggestions!

  18. says

    I am on this same quest!! I’ve already read “Written In Red” three times this year. I found Jacqueline Carey to be like the Dark Jewels books by A B but not really like Written In Red (it’s just so original!). I’m going to check out a couple of the other books that people recommended for you in earlier comments too.

    The closest book I’ve found so far to “Written In Red” would be “Sunshine” by Robin McKinley . Similar world (she actually uses the term “the others”) and world building (it’s a contemporized high-fantasy world) , similar focus on a job (bakery chef), plus some romance. Differences: it’s first-person POV and it’s a lot slower moving (but still good).

    Thanks for bringing up this topic!! It’s added A LOT to my TBR pile:)

  19. candis says

    The Black Jewels have to be my favorite set of books ever! So, that being said.. I would recommend N.K Jemisin’s books loved all of her books, especially The Inheritance Trilogy which starts off with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Lynn Flewelling’s Tamir Trilogy, book 1 being The Bone Doll’s Twin. I have outgrown the YA books, they really tend to be too “bubblegum” for me but Maria V. Snyder’s books really surprised me. They were very entertaining and I have read all of them that I could get my hands on. Would suggest starting with the Study Series, book 1 is Poison Study. I’m not big on the romance novels just a little is enough for me but years ago when I read Larissa Ione’s Demonica Series I did love it. As others have said Kushiel’s Dart is a really good book. For me it did have a certain amount of depth that is sometimes wanted by an avid reader. Its one of those reads that takes time to get through it, unlike say Poison Study.

  20. Heather says

    I loved All of Anne Bishops books, I would add books by Ilona Andrews and Jane Lindskold. The books by Andrews all have a romance element the ones by Lindskold not so much but still very worth a read. Also you might like books by Wen Spencer most of her books are lighter but still deal with some off the wall theme’s.