I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
It's sorta a spy-ops type of book, but the spies have superpowers. All sorts of superpowers. To the point where you'll be wondering why you don't find it over-the-top when, really, you should. But you won't. It is written with such a straight-face that you won't even bat an eye at a girl with leaves for hair.
The way the amnesia was dealt with was interesting and original and, at the same time, gave the author a chance to flesh out some other parts of the world by exploring events outside THIS rook Thomas' world. You get to see events from the past that aren't, technically, flashbacks.
And while the bulk of the book was spent covering supernatural material, the mystery as to who caused Thomas' memory loss (and how) was also well done and very suspenseful. I can even see the point of Bronwyn's appearance - it throws a bit of a wrench into the mix and I spent a good part of the book waiting for her appearance to "mean something".
Would I have liked the pace to be a bit faster, yes, probably... and I don't know that the last "manifestation" scene added anything to the story other than to make it a bit longer. But this might have been because by this point in the story I wanted to know who Thomas' enemy was...
I really enjoyed how the story was wrapped-up - the ending was believable and had a bit of a twist (twistedness too).
I particularly enjoyed the narrator. I found her to be very rhythmic and I loved the flow of her phrasing (almost sing-songy), seriously... I really enjoyed how it was read. And I think her male characters were excellently done too. I enjoyed it so much I'm actually going to go look for books written by this author and books read by this narrator.
I didn't know what to expect when I started this book. It seemed from the write up that it would have a very heavy supernatural bend to it. It does, but it doesn't at the same time. Hard to explain, but the world, the characters, and their motivations and behaviours do not feel supernatural, even if their existence is (this is a good thing, by the way). The "bad guys" are varied and supernatural in nature, but their actions are realistic, and how they are dealt with is believable.
The background/history of the characters and the world and how they got to where they are was really well-doled out/paced. We aren't subjected to lectures or long histories, but little snapshots of the past just in time to stretch out some suspense or fill a gap. There is a fairly consistent sense of humour throughout which actually comes across quite well as it fleshes out the main character, and certainly makes him more likeable.
There is an oddly placed fairly detailed erotic scene as we get close to the end of the novel. Not sure why this scene was so far into the story, nor why it was so detailed when other similar scenes were more cursory in nature. It was a well-done scene, just so much more detailed than other scenes that it felt more like it was fulfilling a specific requirement for X pages of erotica, instead of progressing the story.
I think the story ended at a logical point, but it isn't really resolved... and it doesn't feel like justice was properly served (but, then again, there wasn't a huge 'wrong' to be righted here, just a general sense that immortals are bad and should be removed). It seems clear that there are more books planned for this series; I would certainly read them.
When I first started the book, I thought the choice of a female narrator was a bit odd since the main character is male. That being said, however, she does an excellent job, and you can tell each of the characters apart easily; no exaggeration... she really does a terrific job, but it was still a bit odd when the narrator made a reference to being male (particularly in reference to sexual activities).
There are some sex scenes, but they are not particularly graphic. There is some non-graphic violence and I don't recall any foul language.
Might seem strange, but this book is actually more sexually graphic than the Succubus series. (Not that this takes away from the story at all - it's actually pretty decent sex, where Eugenie is an active and eager participant... and it's one of the few I've read that actively use and encourage safer sex. Thank you Ms. Mead. ) So if you don't like plentiful and descriptive sex, I'd skip this book.
I liked the first half of the book better than the second half. And the final scenes were my least favorite of them all... it was like the author wanted to explore some spiritual or philosophical topics and the only way she could add them into the story is to tack on a "voyage" near the end of the book. It wasn't exactly out of place (because Eugenie does talk of the underworld in other parts of the book), but it was so clearly an "add-on" to make a philosophical point that I really just wanted to skip this part.
Otherwise, I like the main character (her unpleasant name not-withstanding) and how she grew throughout the story. I'm not sure I like her choice in relationships, but I suppose that's part of the angst of the story. I will read more in the series because I think the characters are interesting and well-developed, even if I don't like them very much.
The narrator is very good and her voices are distinct and her men sound reasonable. Though I have to say I don't think she had the right voice for what I expected Eugenie to sound like. The violence isn't graphic, there is a lot of detailed sex, and I don't think there was any swearing. The Succubus series by the same author is actually a good choice if you like this kind of story (with a lot less sex) and it's wonderfully narrated.
Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Book Review Blogger.
Normally I’m not one to turn all fan girl in my reviews. In fact, I pride myself on writing cohesive, thorough feedback with actual words instead of squeals of delight and captioned screencaps. But in this case, I could use all of the above and more, and still not manage to do this series justice. It’s that good. Anne Bishop’s world-building is without parallel; she explores sensitive issues with tact and fineness, and makes you see them in an entirely different light. THE OTHERS’ universe manages to be dark, scary and magical all at the same time—I wouldn’t want to live there, but it sure makes for an absorbing listen! I finished MURDER OF CROWS in record time, and now I find myself unable to start my next listen because all I want to do is go back to the beginning and do it all over again!
I’m surprised by how much I like Meg because she’s not your typical Urban Fantasy heroine; sure she has her fair share of strengths, but she doesn’t mow down bad guys and physically, she’s incredibly vulnerable. I gained a whole new appreciation for her fragility in this installment. Cassandra sangue aren’t known for their longevity, and when every cut has the potential to be her last, it makes each bump and scrape feel life-threatening. I loved watching the dynamics between Corbyn and Wolfgard evolve, and this novel helped give a whole new meaning to “mixed signals.” The romance between them continues to be minimal, but I’m really enjoying just exploring the mere possibility of more.
I expected the world-building to slow down a bit in book 2, so imagine my delight when Bishop introduces even more awesomeness into her already overflowing universe. In the earlier chapters, I had some concerns about the HFL (Humans First and Last) movement having encountered similar plot lines in the past, but the author does such a fabulous job of putting her own spin on it that you never get a sense of déjà vu. Intuits, Skippy and a “snake charmer” type character were interesting additions to this series’ already all-star cast of supernaturals, and I enjoyed delving deeper into Meg’s prophecies too. Despite the story’s somber tone, there continues to be a darkly humorous side to Anne Bishop’s writing; from the terra indigene movies, to people shaped wolf cookies, to yielding a tea kettle & broom as weapons.
Alexandra Harris threw me through a bit of a loop with her change in narration. In WRITTEN IN RED, it was box on wheels or B-O-W and cassandra sangue, but in this installment those terms became BOW and cassandra sang—not major differences, but still noticeable. She reads at a slower pace than I’m accustomed to, although I think her style is well-suited to Bishop’s writing. It really adds a palatable element of danger to the story line, and helps keep listeners invested in the plot. The innocence of Meg Corbyn’s character really comes through in her narration and her wolf sound effects aren’t too shabby either!
Anne Bishop has quite possibly just ruined the next five books on my to-be-read pile because there’s nothing that can conceivably live up to MURDER OF CROWS. This novel is without equal, and the series itself remains unmatched—it’s quite simply, the best audiobook of 2014. 5++ ∞ stars.