About the Book
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.
Anne Bishop is a bit hit-or-miss with me. I either love her books or I don’t like them much. I went into The Others not really knowing what to expect. I wanted to like these books, but I was afraid to give them a try. I plowed through the first book, Written in Red in record speed. I put off reading Murder of Crows for a while because I am rather crazy, and when I like a series I don’t want it to end so I try not to read it.
Yeah, I don’t get it, either.
There are a lot of reasons why this series seems to ring all my bells. It doesn’t really fit into any one package. It’s not urban fantasy, not really dystopian, not really alternative history, but it’s a bit of all of that. It’s dark and surprising, and very realistic given the history and the world that Bishop has created.
Murder of Crows takes off very shortly after Written in Red ends. Meg Corbyn is equal parts trying to figure out who she is in this sprawling world, and trying to keep her friends and newfound family safe with use of her visions. It’s an interesting balance that she strikes, and her struggle is half the reason I love the series so much. Each vision, each cut takes a little of her life away, but she’s willing to pay the price to keep those she loves safe.
Meg, however, is one incredibly complex character. She comes from a very sheltered, very abused past, which has scarred her deeply. In many ways, she is like a child. In other ways, she’s far too wise regarding matters that no one should really have to understand. Bishop strikes an interesting balance with Meg, between innocence and dark understanding.
In Murder of Crows, Meg has to face her past in some pretty surprising ways. The mystery is slowly revealed and puzzled together through Meg’s complex and confusing visions, as well as some dark clues that float in through current events – animals dying, a drug that alters moods flooding the streets from an unknown source. Some of the answers to the riddle(s) Bishop poses will be fairly obvious, but many others, while I guessed, I wasn’t sure I wanted those guesses to be accurate because, quite honestly, the answers are shockingly dark.
Yes, this book is dark. I don’t think anyone could really call any of Bishop’s writing anything less than dark, but this one really hit home on that score. It’s brutal and uncomfortable, and absolutely shocking (there were parts I had to read twice because I had to make sure I read it right the first time. “Wait, did that really just happen?”). Yet mixed in with all that dark and shocking brutality is a lot of hope, friendship, a very slow developing relationship, and a warm and growing family unit that can be heartwarming and inspiring in equal measure. While the darkness might be the most obvious and easy to focus on, there is a lot of light here, too; a lot of uplifting emotions, and inspiration in the face of trial and adversary.
Murder of Crows starts out with a bang, and just keeps rolling from there. What little downtime there is in terms of the plot, the excitement is transferred to Meg’s struggle, her relationships, her developing and evolving sense of self. It is all quite captivating and very well done. In fact, in terms of the plot this one grows in leaps and bounds from its already strong, very impressive predecessor.
The Others has quickly turned into one of my insta-read series. I can’t seem to get enough of it. The first book, Written in Red, impressed me. The second book, Murder of Crows, floored me. It’s raw, intense, emotional, and shocking. Dark, but full of hope, this book will hook you from the first page. Don’t let the werewolves turn you away. These aren’t your typical werewolves. In fact, nothing in this book is typical. Completely different and absolutely captivating, this is one series you’ll be glad you tried.