Marked in Flesh
By Anne Bishop
Read: January 12 - 15, 2016
Published: March 8, 2016 by Penguin/Roc
Source: NetGalley (THANK YOU, PENGUIN!)
Tags: Fantasy, Adult, shifters, blood prophet
Series: The Others #4 (of 5)
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository | Indiebound
For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community...
Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.
But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs…
Find my thoughts on the previous books in this series: Written in Red, Murder of Crows and Vision in Silver.
I am obsessed with this series. Truly. It is one of my favorites of all time, and I make myself sick with anticipation each time a new installment releases. Then after I finish the latest book, I am hit with a massive hangover, and just want to keep reading and rereading my favorite parts until a new one comes out. If you've been reading these books as they release, I know I'm just preaching to the choir. If you haven't started them, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Very few series do I adore with this level of devotion, and The Others books are so much of my heart that I have trouble even talking about them coherently. But I'm pulling it together for this post, because I don't want anyone to miss this release or these books.
What is happening in Marked in Flesh:
After an unsettling phone call at the end of Vision in Silver, the Others in the Lakeside Courtyard - led by Simon - are trying to decipher what the Elders meant when they said they are deciding "how much human they are going to keep." A frightening, pronouncement indeed. The only reason they're considering keeping any human at all is because of their curiosity about Meg, which both relieves and worries Simon.
As the trailblazer, Meg is of course at the center of this discussion, and her pack of human friends of the Others continues to form and solidify itself in this installment. It is an uneasy alliance at times, but these police officers, and their family and friends, realize that this is the only way to ensure that any humans survive. Because at the same time, the radical Humans First and Last movement are seeking even more extreme ways to rid themselves of the Others. Too bad the HFL doesn't realize they further doom themselves with every negative action they take.
As with all of the books in this series, the Lakeside Courtyard and Meg and Simon are at the heart of this series, but the setting continues to widen in each installment. We get a look at situations happening in different parts of the continent, and it is only near the end that the pieces - and visions - fit together in a nail-biting and intense climax. Thankfully, as with the other books, the ending is not a cliffhanger, and readers can breath a sigh of relief (for now) until the fifth, and presumably final, installment releases next year.
Three reasons I love this series so much:
For anyone who is unfamiliar with this series, or has yet to take the plunge, or just wants to fangirl with me, I wanted to try and explain some of the reasons I adore these books so much. This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but I hope it will intrigue you enough to pick up the first one and start reading.
1) These books are immersive - From the complex characters to the world that expands further and further in each installment, to the small details about Meg's daily life that are a part of each book, this word building is some of the most intense and immersive I've ever experienced. The Others' world has come to life to me in vivid color and detail, and each time I step back into it, I feel like I'm returning to a familiar, comfortable place. Albeit one that's vicious and dangerous in a way that reminds humans to always stay alert, because they are nowhere near the top of the food chain.
2) I love the characters - Meg and Simon, of course. But also Sam and Henry and Vlad and Tess and Merri Lee and Monty and Karl and Ruthie and Nathan and Grandfather Erebus and Hope and on and on it goes. This author has made me care deeply for so so many different lives in this story. The narration is third person, rotating and though I always want more of Meg and Simon, I would not want to lose the richness that all these different voices bring to the story.
3) The romance between Simon and Meg- This series has the most achingly, frustratingly slow burn romance that also succeeds in being extremely low on angst and drama. In each book, I literally hang on each and every one of Meg and Simon's small interactions. Despite how painful the anticipation is, I live for this type of slow and simmering romance. Each installment brings a little more to their relationship, and Marked in Flesh is no exception. These two have a unique relationship because they are essentially a couple already, and there is never any question of the fact that they are it for each other. But because of Meg's past and nature as a blood prophet, and Simon being a wolf, it has taken them a while to figure out what is going on between them. And though I am antsy to get to the "good stuff," I also wouldn't have it develop any other way. With one more book in the series to go, I'm hoping that the long, long simmer is going to be a full blown boil soon.
In Sum: If you haven't started these books yet, it's time to immerse yourself in the lives of Meg and Simon and friends. If you've already been reading the series, Marked in Flesh is out today - go and get your copy!
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low (Book 4 of 5 - At least as far as I'm aware, five books have been sold in this series)