Author: Anne Bishop
Series: The Others, #2
Published: March 4th 2014
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.