Blog Archives

Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

While Meg Corbin and the residents of Lakeside Courtyard work toward tolerance between the Others and humans after the purge, elsewhere in the Northeast Region, Vicki DeVine and the residents of Sproing have the opportunity to do the same.

Title: Lake Silence
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: A Novel of the Others, #6
Publish Date: March 6, 2018, by Ace
Genre: Contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionIn this thrilling and suspenseful fantasy, set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, Vicki DeVine and her lodger, the shapeshifter Aggie Crowe, stumble onto a dead body . . . and find themselves enmeshed in danger and dark secrets.

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget…

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested Ivana says…

Shortly before Lake Silence came out, I re-listened to Meg Corbin’s story. I was looking for a “comfort read”—something I was familiar with and loved. As I mentioned on Anne Bishop’s Courtyard, the Facebook group for fans of the series, my post-Trump experience of the books was a little different than before. It felt even darker, more ominous and immediate. The pervasive greed and entitlement of many of the humans in the series felt more real and less fantastic this time around, and the dread I felt, even knowing what was coming in a series I had heard several times, felt sharper.

Lake Silence takes place after the Others have purged many of the humans from Thasia (North America). It demonstrates that not all the right people were purged and that greed and entitlement will always express itself, even in the face of drastic consequences.

This is not a story about Meg and the Lakeside Courtyard, though they are referenced. This is the story of Vicki DeVine and the residents of Sproing and the Jumble, a human settlement on terra indigene-controlled land. Vicki has finally escaped an abusive marriage—though not unscathed—and has set about creating a new life for herself in Sproing as the owner of The Jumble, a place she believes to be a rustic lakeside resort. She soon learns that the Jumble has another purpose—to serve as a point of connection between humans and the others.

Vicki acquired the rights to the Jumble in the divorce settlement with her ex-husband. He and his cronies, however, have other plans for the resort. They want to scare Vicki off the land and turn it into something more lucrative than rustic, even though doing so would violate the terms of the agreement between the tenants and the Others. Their greed, arrogance, and entitlement, and the security of their “good ol’ boys’ club,” lead them to believe they are unstoppable. For this reader, it’s a bit cathartic to know they are not.

Happy-faced quokka

Happy-faced quokka

Though this sounds like a heady, depressing story, Ms. Bishop has a way of bringing a lightness and innocence to her world as well. The town of Sproing is so named because of the sproingers that populate the area—creatures that made me think of quokkas who can understand human speech and communicate with happy faces or sad faces. They seem to be agents of the Others, but it is never expressly said whether they are terra indigene themselves. I choose to believe they are.

Another thing I found interesting was the way the Others play the game Clue, called Murder in the series. The Others play by creating a game board of their actual environment—in this case, the Jumble and surrounding land—rather than using a generic mansion and its rooms. Arts and crafts plus a game to double the fun!

Books are always a big deal in Anne Bishop’s stories, which I love. Vicki becomes the Reader for the Jumble—someone who reads out loud from books, articles, journals, or anything else the terra indigene might find useful or entertaining. That way, even those terra indigene who haven’t learned to read can enjoy the stories. I love this nod to oral tradition and to the value of stories in our world.

I don’t know whether Vicki’s story is the start of a new series or just one installment in a series of stories about human and terra indigene learning to live with each other in Thasia. Lake Silence seemed to be wrapped up nicely at the end. At the very least, I hope there will be more stories set in Thasia and read by Alexandra Harris, who does an amazing job as narrator. She brings the perfect mix of innocence and gravity to the characters that makes my enjoyment of the series even greater. As always, 5 Stars.

Our reviews in this series…

Advertisements

Etched In Bone by Anne Bishop

I LOVE THIS SERIES! I can’t tell you how happy it made me to have another installment to read. Usually, I save these books for audio because the narrator is so awesome. But when the book became available on NetGalley, I just couldn’t wait.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

etched-in-boneTitle: Etched In Bone
AuthorAnne Bishop
SeriesThe Others, Book 05
Publish Date: March 7, 2017 Roc
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s DescriptionNew York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves…

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


ivana 100Invested Ivana says…

After Marked In Flesh’s very large political conflict, the conflict in Etched in Bone is closer to home. Detective Crispin James Montgomery’s brother comes to town and puts the delicate balance of the courtyard in danger.

There are some interesting themes in this book. The main theme, the impact a toxic person has on the lives of others, will hit home for so many readers. I’m guessing just about everyone has been in the radius of a toxic person at some time or another. Even while we recognize their influence, many times we feel powerless against it. Monty and his family, along with the whole Lakeside Courtyard, feel helpless against the influence of Monty’s brother, Cyrus James—a self-centered, manipulative, immoral jerk. Though many of the residents of the Courtyard, including Monty and his mother, know that Cyrus James should be turned out, the Elders who are visiting the Courtyard want to understand how one bad human can impact a stable group, and so demand that Cyrus be allowed to stay.

Another theme in this book is overcoming addiction and increasing impulse control. Meg and her friends have come up with an alternative to cutting herself for prophecy. She has combined several decks of fortune telling cards in an attempt to create the Trailblazer Deck for other blood prophets. We see Meg deliberately using the cards when she has the compulsion to cut, even hear her thought process. This is excellent modeling and I’m so glad Bishop included it in this book. Lack of impulse control is linked to so many bad things like criminality, poor relationships, poverty, addiction, and other things that prevent one from having a genuine and satisfying life. It seems our country is suffering from a major lack of impulse control right now, and having good models is crucial.

Fans of the romance between Simon and Meg will be happy. Meg is beginning to grow and heal from her trauma, and though it is happening sooooooo slowly, this book finally marks a progression in the relationship between the two.

badge5v5Each book in this series gives me “big things” to think about while also thoroughly entertaining me. I love all of these characters and the careful life they’ve built. I’m looking forward to release day when I can “reread” this in audio. 😉

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

Again, this series is so unique, I can’t really recommend anything quite like it. But for other excellent urban fantasy series, see my favorites list.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Marked In Flesh by Anne Bishop

Things are bad in Thasia.  Jobs, housing, and food are scarce, and the Human’s First movement is blaming it all on the Others.  But are they really behind it, or is it all a diversion to mask a more nefarious plot?

Marked In FleshTitle:  Marked In Flesh
Author:  Anne Bishop
Series:  The Others, Book 04
Publish Date:  March 6, 2016
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionFor 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…

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

What drew me to this book: I’ve been a fan of this series since it started, particularly in audio. I love the culture Bishop has created and particularly love the innocent feel of the storytelling, despite some of the horrific things that happen in the story. This series is pretty unique in the Fantasy/Urban Fantasy genre.

Why I kept reading: The tension between the humans and the Others keeps ratcheting up with each novel! In violation of the lease agreements with the Others, who own all the land and natural resources, the humans are attacking, lying to, and denying services to the Others. This behavior is being egged on by a movement called Humans First and Last, a separatist hate group who believe Humans have a destiny to rule the world and the Others either need to be subservient or destroyed.

This story really shines a light on the ugliness of humans. We see it every day in the news — arguments over transgenders in our bathrooms, same sex couples marrying, and one religion vs. another vs. none at all; but, we don’t often see it the way Bishop presents it. Bishop’s stories show humans turning on humans quite often, but rarely do Others turn on Others. In fact, Others don’t even turn on humans who have earned their respect and protection. Marked in Flesh makes this abundantly clear with a particular plot point that I’m not going to spoil.

While I think there is a message in Bishop’s tales — we need to be better to each other or we will destroy ourselves — this series is not a preachy political tale. It’s told in a sweet, innocent voice (Meg’s voice, I believe) that reminds me of fairy tales and oral histories. The relationships between Meg, the Courtyard Others, and the humans drawn into their circle are lovely; the way they interact and learn to understand each other is one of the highlights of the book for me.

badge5v4Why I recommend it: It’s quite simply a beautifully rich fantasy with excellent characters and world building. If you like audio books, the narrator, Alexandra Harris, does a wonderful job with the characters. This series is definitely top-shelf fantasy.

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you may want to check out the author’s popular Black Jewels series.

Vision In Silver By Anne Bishop

Vision In SilverTitleVision In Silver
AuthorAnne Bishop
SeriesThe Others Book 3
Publish Date:  March 3, 2015 by Roc Books
Genre:  Urban fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThe 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…

SPOILERS.  READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.


Nell, the third book in the Others series finally came out.  It’s SO good!

I don’t get your fascination with this series.  I read the whole first book, per your nagging, and though I did manage to get through it and I did kinda like it after I read quite a few chapters, I just don’t see the attraction.  The story was okay but it’s a very hard story.  Simon is not kind or good-hearted if you ask me.  Killing comes way too easy to them all.  I tried the second book, but something made me slam it shut and say “NO WAY!”  I can try it again, I suppose.  Maybe it was my frame of mind that day.

Simon’s gruff, that’s true, but he loves Meg, and he’s trying his best to keep his world from falling apart. So are all the characters in the book!  Besides loving all the characters, I like the role reversal in this book.  What if humans were not on the top of the food chain?  What if we were treated the way we treat other people and species?  We can be as cavalier about killing other creatures as the Others in the book are about killing humans.

I’d never be cavalier about killing a creature.  I love my animals more than people, for goodness sake!  Remember that motorcycle guy I tailed for miles after he purposely swerved to run over a squirrel crossing the road?  If I had superpowers, I’d MAKE him be nicer!  I mean, really?  What’d the poor squirrel ever do to him?  I used some colorful descriptive words to describe what I thought of him… and I still do today.

Well, in this series, a giant shape-shifting squirrel would hunt him down and run over him!  Vampires would suck out all his blood, and he’d become “special meat” for the Squirrelgard. Wouldn’t that be great?!

o_O  … You scare me.

 


Invested Ivana says …

I’ve been a fan of this series since it came out and I particularly enjoy the books in audio.  The writing and narration give the story a very innocent feel, in contrast to some of the awful things that actually happen in the story.  I described this book to Nellie as “light and fluffy,” because of that innocent feel and because of the way the romantic relationship is building between the main characters.  She totally scoffed at me, saying there is nothing “light and fluffy” about people being abused or eaten.  She’s so touchy!

Main characters: ♥♥♥♥♥  Meg, Simon, and Monty are all extremely live characters with full background stories that make me want to see them overcome their challenges.

Other characters: ♥♥♥♥♥  There is a whole cast of characters in this book that I’ve come to adore.  The reader gets snippets from these characters’ perspectives from time to time, which makes them even more real.

World:  ♥♥♥♥♥   The world of the Others is recognizable while being distinctly different from our own.  Because the world is as much a character in the books as the individuals, it is rich and wonderful.

Story: ♥♥♥♥♥   While the three books can be read individually, the richness of these stories is in the way they build on the events of the previous book.  It’s only been about four months since the first book, Written in Red, and the effects of the events in the first and second books are coming to a head.  Nellie will be happy to know that this book has a happy ending, at least for the moment…

Narrator:  ♥♥♥♥♥   Alexandra Harris does a great job with these books.  There is not a whole lot of distinction between the voices of some of the secondary characters, but it’s usually pretty clear who is talking.  The innocence of the voice she brings to the reading, however, is excellent.  I tend to listen to these books rather than read them.

Overall: ♥♥♥♥♥   Superb series, one of my favorites.  This third installment doesn’t disappoint.

If You Like This Book …

Certainly, read Written in Red (first book) and Murder of Crows (second book) if you haven’t already.  If you have, you may want to check out the author’s popular Black Jewels series.

%d bloggers like this: