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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.

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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
PublisherRoc Books
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Perspective: Third-Person Limited, Multiple POVs

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.


ivana 100 Nell, the third book in the Others series finally came out.  It’s SO good!

Nell 100I 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.

ivana 100Simon’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.

Nell 100I’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 super powers, 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.

ivana 100Well, 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?!

Nell 100o_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.

More Reviews:

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.

No promotional consideration was received for this review.