Release Date: 3/3/15
The Others freed the cassandra sangue to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.
Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.
For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…
My thoughts on the book:
The Others series by Anne Bishop is one of my absolute favorite series due to the fact that it's so different from other fantasy/urban fantasy/dystopian (not even sure of the genre it's so unique) works out there. I mean it's an alternate universe, so I'd say that makes it fantasy, but it's set it a contemporary-style city, which makes it urban fantasy. Then there's the element of humans being under the rule of the Others, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but there are idiots trying to mess with the Others constantly because they're different. That could be dystopian, depending on who you're talking to. I don't feel that humans are really oppressed, though. I think that they're just governed differently. Anyway, I digress. I'm not a fan of pigeonholing any form of art, so it doesn't really matter what genre this series is in. It stands out; it speaks for itself; it's amazing. The character development is organic, the writing is wonderful, the pacing is spot-on, the world-building is beautifully done, and the plot is engrossing. Each novel takes the reader further into the world that Bishop has created, and this installment is no exception. My only complaint about this book is that it seems to jump around a bit more than the former two novels. I know there are more characters who matter now, but it was hard to distinguish where one part was ending and another part was beginning. This could be simply because I had an ARC, and the published copy will draw these lines better (I'll see when I buy my copy on March 3), but the jumping around detracted from my enjoyment of this novel.
The main character in this novel is Meg, and she is someone who is easy to relate to even though she's so different from most people. She has this child-like innocence about her due to the fact that she'd been locked away her entire life. It's really a lot of fun to experience the world through her eyes, though she does often times get overwhelmed. She has a pure heart and just wants to help everyone, though. And Meg is super strong. She can deal with things that most people would find challenging. She may not understand everything that's going on around her all the time, but she will do what she thinks is right, regardless of the sacrifice to herself. I really admire that about her. Simon is the leading male, and I've loved him from the start. He's unique. He's not some tortured hero. No, he knows exactly who he is. He's the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and he puts the residents first. There are no angsty or complicated feelings when it comes to Simon, well not until Meg enters the picture. Still, he admits (if only to himself) amazingly simple feelings. He just wants to be around her all the time and keep her safe. It's refreshing not to have a leading male with 10 tons of emotional baggage. The other characters, who get their share of page time, too, due to Bishop's use of Austen's free indirect discourse style of writing, are also intriguing. They are all evolving before the reader's eyes, and it's a lot of fun to see how they change and grow with each new challenge.
Bishop has a unique style of writing, and the dialogue with her characters is often quite simplistic. However, there are undertones in this story that go beyond the simple voices of the cast. The main question these books raise is, who are the real monsters here? Are humans really humane at all? The Others seem to have better morals and care more about each other (and even humanity, at times) than the humans. The Others would never hurt a child or someone who is weaker than they are, and the humans use the weak people as tools to get their way constantly. I really like that this novel shows that different doesn't always mean scary or mean or wrong. Also, the world-building is fantastic. I can easily picture the world in which Meg lives. I picture it as being less settled than our world and the cities are smaller, but it's still familiar enough that it could be mistaken for our Earth instead of Namid. My one issue with this book is that the story didn't flow as seamlessly as the other installments did. It jumped around a bit, which got to be distracting. I hope that Bishop covers a bit less in her next installment. The ending tied things up nicely, and kind of closed out the problems of the first three books while setting up the next two books in this series. I really liked that. There wasn't a cliffhanger, but I can't wait for book #4 to come out, nonetheless.
I'd recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good fantasy book. The shifters and vampires and other characters are quite different from anything I've ever read, and they'll definitely grab your attention. Bishop is an excellent author, and if you haven't read anything by her yet, you're definitely missing out.
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