I have mentioned that I have tried to read this book previously, but did not like it very much. It doesn’t have the same appeal of the original trilogy, and the antagonist of the piece was extremely annoying. Since I liked The Shadow Queen and Shalador’s Lady enough to re-read the entire series, I decided to give Tangled Webs a second chance.
I still do not like Tangled Webs, though on second reading, it was a little easier to work my way through. Tangled Webs takes place not long after the event of “Kaeleer’s Heart,” in the Dreams Made Flesh collection. Jaenelle takes it into her head to create a “spooky house” for landen children who as a general rule are incredibly ignorant about the Blood. Her spooky house will play off the more Addam’s Family inventions the kids told her about, and no one in her little family approves of this. (Poor Marian who was dragged into helping, went on an obsessive cleaning spree after encountering the “cob webbed witch’s house” myth.) Jaenelle also tries to get “daddy” and her husband to help–which makes them both act as if they were horrified cats confronted with a bathtub full of water.
Unfortunately, a landen mystery writer who has discovered that he is actually Blood. (Which is apparently a little more common than it seemed in the original trilogy; apparently it’s not uncommon for low-powered Blood to live in relative obscurity in landen villages, and for the resulting half-Blood or low powered Blood children to not even be raised knowing they were Blood.) When his mystery series featuring a Blood character who solves mysteries becomes a “so bad it’s good” hit among the Blood, he goes completely bonkers and decides that Jaenelle stole the idea of a haunted house from him, and hatches a plan for revenge. He has a haunted house made, and hires a bunch of Black Widows to create some extremely deadly traps–then somehow manages to kill all of Black Widows. (It’s not clear how he manages this, he is not trained, and something of a buffoon. I do not see how he could have gotten the drop on them.)
The antagonist is not able to nab the SaDiablos he wanted, but he did net poor Surreal, recovering from romantic mishaps and Ranier, an Opal Jeweled Warlord Prince. He also gets a gaggle of very stupid kids who serve the purpose of illustrating the importance of following All the Horror Movie Rules. Meanwhile, Jaenelle and the others have to find a way to rescue them. I didn’t care for this book very much, even though it introduces the concept of there being low powered Blood (all of the leading characters are of the “unbelievably powerful” variety) and there’s more interaction with the landen characters in this. (If not being able to keep a gaggle of kids from killing themselves can be called “interaction.”)
If you are a major fan of the series, you might like this book more. If you are not a major fan of the series, it is at least readable, though it falls flat.