Ms. Bishop Continues Her Reign!
I would like to thank Roc & NetGalley for an e-ARC of this book to review. Though I received this e-book for free, that has no impact upon the honesty of my review.
Goodreads Teaser: "For 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..."
This eagerly awaited book picks up right were Vision in Silver left off, at the edge of humanity's extermination. Yet most humans remained oblivious to the fate they, or others, were courting. But the Simple Folk, Intuits, and a few smart humans remembered the stories, and knew the only way they could possibly survive what had been set into motion was by remaining friends with the Others. Or more specifically friends with the terra indigene that made up the buffer between the humans and the oldest of the Others.
As always Meg takes a role that is front and center, but this time she's sharing it with Hope and Jean, two other blood prophets that had been rescued from the Controller. Add to that several humans, not just Meg's female pack, but local police from Lakeside, and a smattering of others from around the known world. That alone made this book different from those that precede it. I'm still deciding if I like this new different or not. It's definitely good, but the intimacy of Meg, Simon, and the other Lakeside Courtyard residents created an addiction; I went into this book expecting more of the same, and while I got more, I also got less - all at the same time. I anticipate days of sitting with the story before I really know exactly where I stand on this alternate approach.
The new characters are good, as are the expanded roles for existing characters. The challenges each group faces make for interesting reading, and left me wondering where I'd stand in each player's role. For the terra indigene it's trying to find the perfect balance for not just themselves but those they've accepted responsibility for; for humans its trying to present examples of how they can, and will, work within the boundaries created by the Others. Why didn't the smart humans simply have Nicholas Scratch assassinated before he could cause any further damage? Was it for fear of making him into a martyr, thus furthering his cause? And why were people so quick to follow his lead? How did they become so dense, forgetting the agreements that existed with the Others - and the history of what happened to those that broke those agreements? It certainly makes for great commentary on the shortsightedness of humanity as a whole, and almost makes me wish that the earth did have protectors that would rise up and smite us for all the damage we've already caused. But then that may be wandering a bit far afield from the story. Maybe.
I found the confusion over interpersonal relationships was very entertaining, especially Simon's confusion over Meg and his questions of just how human he'd have to become to be her mate. Assuming she was ever ready for a mate. But I certainly think he's more than willing to take that chance and wait for her. And I get the feeling that her body already knows how she feels about Simon, even if her mind hasn't yet caught up.
This book read a bit more slowly for me than its predecessors, at least until about 3/4 of the way through. Not that it was to slow! Simply that the buildup to the end of the book took most of the book. It was an interesting balancing act, and one I've not really seen Ms. Bishop do before. But as always she did an excellent job of it, and I know that if there are any more books in this series (or anything else she writes), I'll grab them first thing! Ms. Bishop has a real talent for making you feel very strongly about her characters, either loving or hating them, rarely with anything in between. And of course the pace of the story flows right along with the emotional highs and lows of the protagonists, so you know that you'll always be in motion when reading anything she's written. I can't wait for another of her books; until a new one comes out I guess it's time to start re-reading another one of her series.