Thank you, Netgalley and Roc, for an ARC for one of my favorite series, The Others! I am so excited to review this, and have already pre-ordered my hard copy.
“Just a game. Simon thought we’d had great fun. Bet the other wolves did too.”
“And you?” Monty said.
“We look at the same things, but we don’t see the same things. It made me realize how easy it can be to screw this up and send the wrong signal.”
The human rebellion has been brutally put down by the Elders, and the ones left are unsure of where they fit and what to do. The more human terra indigene are also unsure as to what the Elders want. Everyone is on edge, and territories are being redrawn.
Left mostly well enough alone is the Lakeside Courtyard, for which everyone is grateful. Blood Prophet Meg and Simon Wolfguard try to maintain the balance that they have worked so hard for, but when Lieutenant Montgomery’s bad seed brother shows up, will that balance be broken? Meg has seen the future and it is bleak- her, standing next to a grave in the woods.
What I loved
Reading about Simon and Meg is like coming home to me. I love their squabbles, Meg’s continued learning about what it means to be human, and more importantly, a woman, and Simon coming to terms with the fact that he is becoming an integral part of the human community while maintaining his wolf nature. The character development in this installation was rich and relatable, and the police and other girls in the community got a lot more page time. This helped the world build also, since a post-human wipeout world always requires some survivors to give context.
I also loved that the romance narrative is (slowly but surely) progressing! While a good fantasy does not require a romance sub-narrative, it is never unwelcome when done right, and I love the slow build up of Simon and Meg as they come to terms with the feelings they have for another. Can a Wolf love a human? Can a once-victim learn to love, physically and emotionally, when she was once denied those feelings? Bishop handles this so well, so delicately. The reader wants to know more.
What I didn’t love as much
There is not much to complain about, except for some minor characterization issues that are personal opinion. I felt that the Elders’ reactions to things were sometimes… out of place? I just can’t picture the all-powerful forces of nature feeling shame, or guilt about not knowing something. In my head, they’d just act like they meant to do what they did all along and then do what the terra indigene ask of them. Their feelings of humor at Meg’s reactions and other such little whimsies I understood more, since forces of nature would be capricious, but any admissions of fault just seemed out of place.
Lieutenant Montgomery’s brother’s characterization also felt a little heavy-handed. The man is evil, but is he too evil? There is no feelings of love, guilt, or compassion at all, only greed and self-interest. It made him very easy to hate, of course, but he was almost too easy to hate.
Like I said, personal problems. This did not stop me from full-heartedly loving this installation into The Others series, Etched in Bone, and anxiously await the next one! Anne Bishop is my hero. Five waves! Pre-order now so it’ll be on your doorstep March 7th!