by Anne Bishop
Read: December 13 to 14, 2013
Published: March 4, 2014 by RocSource: ARC from the publisher. (THANK YOU Penguin)
Category: Fantasy, Adult, Werewolves
Series: The Others #2
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
NOTE: Murder of Crows is the second book in a series. See my thoughts on book 1 Written in Red, HERE.
After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.
The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside's shape-shifting leader—wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat.
As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.
I love The Others series and these characters so much. They feel like friends now. I'm going to tell you 5 reasons why I think you need to get to know them too, or spend a little more time with them if you've already met them in Written in Red.
1) Meg is not your average heroine.
What I appreciate about this story is that Anne Bishop populates it with characters that seem real. She also doesn't turn Meg into something different just to satisfy a preconceived notion of what a heroine should be. Meg is brave and possesses a tremendous inner strength of will. But she's never going to be a fighter or the person on the front lines of a battle.
As a Cassandra Sangue or blood prophet, Meg's body is very fragile, and too much visual stimulation can be harmful. She bruises easily and any cut she receives not only brings on a powerful, potentially dangerous vision. But it also draws her one step closer to death. There's only so many times and places Meg can be safely cut, and any injury would be very dangerous for her. For Meg, living a quiet, normal long life would be in many ways her biggest accomplishment, especially after she was someone else's property for so long. Because of that Meg isn't always the center of the action in this book, although she is a vital part of it.
As leader of the Lakeside Courtyard terra indigene or Others where she lives, Simon is the person in charge and directing the action. But even with his role as alpha and uncontested leader, Simon and Meg strike a wonderful balance and her influence is just as clear over him. It's fun to see the ways they both incite and temper each other.
2) This romance is the epitome of slow burn.
It is so clear to the reader and several outside character observers - especially Monty's observations - that Meg and Simon are on an epic romantic collision course. I feel like I'm in on a secret that they are just starting to figure it out, but when they finally get there, there's going to be fireworks. It makes all their interactions shivery and delicious. This romance, or rather Meg and Simon's building connection and care of each other, underlies the entire plot, but it is not the center of it in any way. They are very much laying a groundwork throughout this book, but thankfully, no drama or angst is present. The pacing of the love story succeeds in feeling Right for these characters instead of stressful in any way.
3) The intense world building on a micro and macro scale only gets stronger in this installment.
Anne Bishop is the master of details. Incredibly complex world building on a large and small scale lives in these pages. In this series she's created a rich society structure, including the social-political dynamics of having a world made up of a combination of humans and Others, with a lot of distrust and unrest between them. In Murder of Crows we venture outside of The Courtyard, where Simon is the leader and Meg has gone for refuge, and discover what is going on in the rest of the continent and even world. It's not always a pretty picture.
4) This book is populated with lots of people and not-people.
One aspect of this series that I love so much is its large cast of characters. Meg and Simon are only two of a vast array of Others and humans that fill these pages. Where Written in Red focused a lot on the details of Meg's life, in Murder of Crows, we get to know the Others' society better. I especially loved the careful interactions in this book between humans and Others and the ways they learn from each other. It's clear that to survive, these two groups are going to have to figure out how to get along with each other. Though it's also clear how far this world is from that happening on a large scale. I did miss Sam a bit in this book, as he's not quite as present. But I enjoyed spending time with other favorites and meeting a few new faces.
5) The danger in this world is no joke.
This is not a YA series, and with a huge cast of characters that has a strongly animal or elemental nature, they are living in a brutal world. Add in a conflict with humans who are mistrustful of the Others and some powerful mind altering drugs, and violence is sure to ensue. Although there are characters that enact violence for no other reason than sport, power or because they think they can, there is also an incredible sense of honor and justice in this world. It is a delicate balance that is sometimes played out in bloody ways, but finding out how these characters enact justice is also fascinating to watch.
Bottom line, I love this series. I think you should read it too, and I cannot wait for the final installment to release.
Love Triangle Factor: None - delicious slow, slow burn.
Cliffhanger Scale: Low - more story to come, but settled end