Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review: Murder of Crows (The Others, #2)


Murder of Crows (The Others, #2)Author: Anne Bishop
Series: The Others, #2
Published: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Roc
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

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.
Murder of Crows is a book that defies all expectations, much to my delight. Written in Red, the surprisingly extraordinary first installment, set the bar pretty high for this sequel, and I’m pleased to say that Bishop did not disappoint. Everything I loved about the first book was repeated and, in some cases, improved.

Written in Red was often labeled as urban fantasy, but I doubt the same could happen to Murder of Crows. In this book, Bishop included a map and a short, well-written prologue that explains the history of Thaisia, a hidden continent where humans and Others co-exist. In Thaisia, the Others rule. They control the land and the elements, and by using both, they control the humans as well. The Others are humanlike in their appearance, but otherwise, they are wild, violent and mostly animalistic in nature.

Bishop used these differences skillfully, constantly pointing out how insignificant human life is to Others, but also, how judgmental humans can be. In the middle of this chasm, she placed the tentative relationship of our cassandra sangue Meg Corbin and Simon Wolfguard, leader of the Others. Although Meg is not entirely human, she was taught human behaviors and values – about which Simon knows very little, and cares even less. Their misunderstandings and subsequent struggles to find common ground make my very favorite part of this book. I love things that are cleverly done, and if there’s one thing I can point about Bishop’s portrayal of Others, it’s how well thought-out they are.

I was, however, more than a little disturbed by the sexual violence the casandra sangue suffered at the hands of their captors. I haven’t read any of Bishop’s other works, but I’ve been informed by another reader, someone I trust implicitly, that she often approaches rape somewhat flippantly. The tone here is far from flippant, but it’s very matter of fact, and the sexual abuse of the blood prophets is accepted and mostly ignored.

One major fault aside, this series can only be described as extraordinary and exceptionally smart. If you have yet to jump into this world, don’t hesitate to do so, and prepare to be both fascinated and occasionally horrified.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


26 comments:

  1. This series is new to me, but it sounds quite good! I'm not sure how I will like the abuse portion.

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  2. I only skimmed since I haven't read book one yet, but I've been seeing it everywhere so I'm totally interested in it! So this is high fantasy? Fantastic. I'm a little worried about the sexual violence that you mentioned, but I'm still excited to start this series. Wonderful review, Maja! <3

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

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  3. It's a shame that the sexual violence here was treated too flippantly but I am glad that this one did not disappoint you after the first instalment!

    Great review, Maja! <33

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  4. "I was, however, more than a little disturbed by the sexual violence the casandra sangue suffered at the hands of their captors."

    There were hints to that effect in Written in Red, but I hoped that Bishop was going to content herself to just allude to those kinds of things in this series (your friend is right, her fantasy series are rather dark). At least it's only matter-of-fact here. I still need to read this. It's the next non-review book I'm planning to read, but I've been saying that for weeks now, so who knows when it will actually happen. Oh, well. Eventually ;) Great review!

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

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  5. So happy you loved this one, Maja. You already saw my review so you know what I feel about this gem of a book. Anne Bishop became oe of my favorite writers because of The Others series. Sexual violence disturbs me most of the time, but you're right, it was more of a matter-of-fact. I simply thought that's just how evil the villains are, and I contented myself with their inevitable demise. I seriously can't wait for Book 3. I'm sitting here hoping that it'll have more than three books ><

    Faye @ The Social Potato Reviews

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  6. After your review and some others, I know I need to read this series, though I really welcome the warning about the sexual violence, since that's something I have a hard time taking lightly.
    Great review, Maja!

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  7. It's been a while since I read any of her Black Jewels series but, yeah, "flippant" is a good description of her treatment of sexual violence. I'm thinking that will continue in book 3, possibly escalated (though hopefully not). I'm loving the interaction between the Others and Meg and Meg and Simon!

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  8. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this series and I really need to push it up my TBR list I think.

    I am excited to start it! Wonderful review. :)

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  9. Interesting. I've read several reviews for this book now and no one's mentioned the sexual abuse issue. Maybe it will be more carefully addressed in future books? Or maybe not and it's just part of this world, either way I can see how it would be bothersome. Glad the rest of the story was outstanding though, I really need to read Written in Red and experience this world for myself!

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  10. The way the author approaches sexual violence, especially being a female author, is quite startling. I wonder why she has that flippant reaction towards it. Nonetheless I've heard great things about this series so I will approach cautiously.

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  11. Well thought out review, Maja! The themes sound intense- and the way they were dealt with... I can see how it would bother you. :/

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  12. Fantastic review, I loved this second book and was impressed by the continued world building. While the rape and treatment of the casandra sangue was dark and brutal I am glad she didn't attempt to flower it up in anyway.

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  13. While the issue of rape here gives me pause I've wanted to read this series for a while now. Glad to here it's impressive in your opinion. I know if you loved it I usually will, too. I think I might try the audio version. Wonderful review, Maja! :)

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  14. I've not heard much about this series, but it sounds like it would be pretty interesting. I would love to find out more about the 'others'. Great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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  15. I haven't read her other books but you're right about the violence... But I'm glad you had a great time with this one as well, I just LOVED it! I was anxious about it, to see if book 2 would be up to the first one but it's definitely the case!

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  16. I have heard the same thing about rape in her other books, and I am afraid to read them

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  17. I just wrote up my review for the first one and I started this on audio last night. I am eager to see how buildilng continues and how the relationship between Simon and Meg develops. Not looking forward to the dark brutal rape parts, though. Still this is an impressive series and I am glad I finally picked it up.

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  18. You know I didn't see that before about the sexual assaults. I don't know if I like it being approached so flippantly, but if it didn't ruin the book for you, it isn't done in the way that would make me abandon the series. Still, this is another good review of this book. I need to get started on that first book burning a hole in my bookcase!

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  19. Ha! If you think the sexual violence in this one was bad, stay clear of Daughter of the Blood. I read it after loving this series, and was deeply traumatized. Glad you enjoyed it otherwise though.

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  20. It is always so hard to find a decent sequel these days, but I am thrilled that Bishop was able to give you an excellent follow up story with this book! I have seen this cover around quite a lot lately, so definitely will be considering giving this series a go! Lovely review!

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  21. The sexual violence prb would get to me as well, but great to hear that otherwise it is a smart read!

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  22. I'm hearing great things about this series thus far. I need to get a copy and hope to find free time to read it. :) Thank you.

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  23. Like you, I was disturbed by the sexual treatment of the cassandra sangue in this novel and I missed the variety of interactions Meg held in the first novel. I loved the in-depth look into both this world and her relationship with Simon, but those two minor flaws definitely affected my enjoyment of the novel. Still, it exceeded my expectations and I cannot wait to see where this series is headed. Do you know how many more books are planned? I'm hoping for at least five in total... *fingers crossed*

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  24. I love this series! I guess it would be labeled as high fantasy, right? Though it definitely has an Urban Fantasy feel. I'm horrible at categorizing books, however, I LOVE how detailed and rich this world is, as well as the building relationship between Meg and Simon. I think you make a really good point about the sexual violence. It is at best uncomfortably portrayed. Definitely matter of fact. It's not seen as a good thing, but it's not really discussed beyond that. However, I think what happens to the perpetrators in this book is an indication of how these characters feel about it. Anyway, I can't wait for the final in this series! I hope it blows the first two even further out of the water.

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  25. I have read her other books and rape is there quite a lot and I suppose it is rather flippantly. It's a very dark series though and I guess it 'fit' okay and never bothered me. It's been several years now though.
    I'm really anxious to read this since I've finally finished listening to the first one. I think I'll read this instead of listen since I wanted it to go faster. The narrator was just too slow, I wanted to devour it!

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  26. humm heh, I can see why that would be disturbing, but I am glad that you could still get pass that because this series and world does sound fascinating. It sounds like the author took a risk, but it seemed to have somewhat worked.

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