Wednesday, May 4, 2016

REVIEW: "Murder of Crows" by Anne Bishop

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

For Ages 18+ (Language, Violence)
Urban Fantasy

Roc -- March 4, 2014
Hardcover, 354 pages
Read in April 2016
Purchased

Goodreads -- Author Website -- Publisher Website

RATING: 4.25 STARS

SUMMARY
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 murder 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 if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or 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.


THEMES AND TROPES
Alternate Universe, Addiction

READING CHALLENGES
2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge
2016 Spooks, Howls, and Fangs Reading Challenge

MY THOUGHTS 
Murder of Crows is second book in the Others series about an alternate version of Earth where humans live alongside the terra indigene (or the Others).  The terra indigene are a predatory species of shifters, vampires, and other supernatural beings who have developed a help me/help you relationship where the humans provide interesting things like books and technology while the Others don't eat the humans.  The first book introduced this world to readers by focusing primarily on the inhabitants of the Lakeside Courtyard, a designated Others neighborhood in the middle of a human city.  Written in Red also introduced the character of Meg Corbyn, an escaped blood prophet who became one of the first humans that the Others claim as one of their own.

The world building in this series is complex and richly detailed.  It seems overwhelming at first, but Anne Bishop's writing is seamless and it is easy to get absorbed in the story.  There is no info dumping here.  I also want to say that it has been two years since I read Written in Red and I was able to jump back into this world easily.  This book pays more attention to the world outside of the Courtyard and shows how well-developed this universe is.  The rules of the world are established early on and followed with little inconsistency.

Meg is the main protagonist of the series and the story primarily flows through her eyes.  She is adjusting to her life in the Courtyard, but continues to be plagued with an addiction to cutting brought on by the urge to speak prophecies when her skin is cut.  I said in my review of Written in Red that Meg is not your typical urban fantasy heroine and that continues to be true.  She is innocent by nature, but she has emotional strength which is growing exponentially as she becomes more comfortable in her new life.  I think this book helps showcase more of her character development and allows her to begin figuring out ways to help other blood prophets.

The residents of the Courtyard continue to be major players in this book especially Simon Wolfgard, the Others leader who is falling for Meg and doesn't even realize it.  I love the friendship between Simon and Meg and how they are shown to handle wanting to be close to one another, but not understanding how to actually go about it.  Simon is also key to learning more about the politics between human/Other interactions.  Some other Courtyard residents that I enjoy learning about in this installment are Vlad Sanguinati, vampire and owner of the local bookshop, and Sam, Simon's young nephew.

There are two main plots in Murder of Crows.  First there is the issue of two drugs which are being used throughout the country to cause massive damage to both humans and Others. Simon and his group are tasked with trying to figure out the origin of these drugs and the reason why they are being released into society.  This allows Anne Bishop to delve deeper into the world of blood prophets and the people who are trying to use their unique abilities for money and power.

The second plot involves the growing Humans First and Last movement which is political in nature and is attempting to convince humans that they are in charge rather than the Others.  Because of their relationship with Meg and some other humans, the Courtyard residents are wary of the end game of the Humans First and Last development.  They know that the ultimate result of such talks will be the extinction of the human race by some of the less tolerant Others.  This is a storyline that will be hanging around for the next few books in the series as a "peaceful" accord becomes less likely.

It is very easy to become engaged in this story.  The characters are complicated and finely tuned with the author using multiple narrators to help readers understand protagonists, antagonists and side characters even better.  The storylines move along at a brisk pace and the violence is balance wth subtle humor.  Most of the humor comes from the Others trying to understand various things about humans and vice versa.  I can't say enough good things about this series and highly recommend it to readers of my blog.

FAVORITE QUOTE
“Okay. I picked up a movie to watch tonight. You can watch it with me if you like. It's a chick movie. Merri Lee said that means girls like it, not that there are small birds in it.”
BOOKS IN THE SERIES

Written in Red (The Others, #1) Murder of Crows (The Others, #2) Vision in Silver (The Others, #3) Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4) 

5 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh. I have seriously GOT to start this series.

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    1. I love it so much! I am trying to patient and wait for a copy of book four to arrive at my library. But, I want it now!

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  2. I sooo have to read This series. So many people, both online and IRL have recommend these books to me. I've heard the audios are really good too.

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    1. I listened to the first book in audio and thought the narrator did a fantastic job so I'm sure this one was just as good.

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  3. Yay, glad you are still liking this serious -- it quickly became one of my favorites when I read the first 3 books last year and the 4th book was just as good! I completely agree that the world building can seem overwhelming but that the author does such a good job with it that it is so easy to become engaged.

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