Fourth in the "flawless" (The Reading Café) New York Times best-selling series from the author of Vision in Silver.
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....
©2016 Anne Bishop (P)2016 Penguin Audio
Avid Audible Listener
I could not make it through this one. I had forgotten how horrible Alexandra Harris does voices, especially the males. She makes Simon, the main male character, sound like a huge jerk, even though he is really not written that way. I just couldn't get past her.
Things are bad in Thasia. Jobs, housing, and food are scarce, and the Human's First and Last 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?
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 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.
Why 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.
Listen mostly to urban fantasy and suspense/thrillers but also enjoy mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, adventure, classic, modern, spiritual or general literature. And I always like a bit of romance in any of my stories.
This series is one of my favorites and I've been waiting in great anticipation for this fourth book to be released. Perhaps my expectations were too high after the previous three and the wait for this one but it felt rather drawn out with not a lot happening. All of these books surprise me really because there's a lot of the day to day interactions between the characters going on with spurts of excitement. But this book dealt too much with broad strokes and big picture and very little was added about the personal relationships between the characters. Maybe this is needed for where the story is headed. I'm still looking forward to the next book (assuming there is one). I only wish this book had been shorter. With a bit tighter story telling it might not have seemed so slow.
Few books have made me wait with more anticipation than the latest release in The Others. That anticipation is funny for me, too, because I am not an urban fantasy person and the description of the series seemed so silly - werewolves? Vampires? Really?!? And yet this series is so distinct and so beautifully character driven that it just works so well. And where book 3 was a bit inconsistent and tended to focus more on the humans, book 4 is all action as the Terra Indigene wreak unholy vengeance upon the humans.
Story: Blood prophets Meg, Hope, and Jean are having similar visions despite living in various parts of Thaisia. It all foretells the deaths of many wolfguards - and then terrible violence afterward. For Meg and Simon soon realize that the HFL are escalating their attacks and setting the humans on a terrible path toward destruction.
The book focuses nearly entirely on the Courtyards and TI this time - with special emphasis on the Vampires. Nix, Vlad, and several others become critical in not only stopping the violence but also mitigating the effects afterwards. They are among my favorite characters and I enjoyed greatly their sections.
We also follow Hope - a cassandra sangue in a different area and who is raised by a different wolfguard. Her area will especially become a hotbed of HFL violence and that area will be hard hit before the Terra Indigene forcefully react.
With the previous books, I had been surprised at how ineffective the TI had been with dealing with the human 'menace'. In this book, we finally get to see the truth wrath and power of the Elders as well as the elementals - and it's about time! Of course, with that scale of violence, there are some very poignant deaths this time around. This is one book where we finally get the promise of true global destruction fully realized.
I listened to the Audible version and I still wish we had a different narrator. She has a distinct pronunciation style that is distracting since it makes all characters sound the same (e.g., she pronounces food like fyoood). But really, that's my only frustration with this wonderful series - one of my favorites ever.
I love this book, from the performance to the storyline to the writing style. Anne Bishop has captured my attention and imagination since Written in Red and she has kept her promise to her readers from the first word. I must admit I am not a fan of her earlier work, but I think that shows how amazing this series is that someone who steered clear of her books is now trusting her with my emotional sanity. Everyone needs to read this book.
Always loved reading, now I love audio books because I can listen to my favorite books on the go!
I have only listened to the audio version and will continue to do so because the narrator is so great.
This series is unique but I think people who like the Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter or the Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs would also like these books.
The end when Meg and Simon were in the pond
It is impossible to express in words how much I love this series. Not just Meg and Simon but all the characters, human and other. It's amazing how so much has changed with the Simon and the others since the first book. And how the humans in Lakeside are versus other places in Thasia. Cant wait to continue reading this story.
Another excellent addition to the series. I enjoyed it all and the struggle between The Others and Humans First. Loved the elders sense of humour. And of course Simon and Meg growing closer.
I was very excited to continue the saga but this book is so not the others it almost seems like it was written by a different author. I had to return this title. So disappointed 😕
I love urban fantasy and paranormal romance, but young adult and mysteries are also favorites.
I like where things are going. I'll listen to the next book, but there are still huge parts of the book just like the previous two that just aren't very interesting. I'm still looking forward to seeing where things go with Meg and Simon. We seem to be moving in the right direction. The interaction with the human pack is also interesting.
"Love the Series"
Its one of those series that you have to read and re read. The story telling brings the characters and the surroundings to life.
Can't wait to see where the next novel leads.
"As good as I hoped but want more Meg!"
This book carries on in the way I think we all would have expected with the stupid humans doing exactly what they were obviously going to do. So no great surprises in the plot.
The series has grown and is easy to follow, starting with just a few characters and then gradually adding more. The first 2 books were more or less told from Meg's viewpoint gradually adding more and more characters. Its a good way to build a series, the downside is there is much less of Meg and Simon in this book than the earlier books which I missed.
The book itself is excellent though and if you've read books 1 to 3 you should enjoy this one just as much.
Now got an annoying wait until March 2017 for Etched in Bone (probably longer for Audible version) for the next installment
As an aside I'm currently trying to get to grips with Bishop's much earlier Black Jewels series book 1 which unfortunately is not available on Audible UK and its much harder to follow so I think her writing style has definitely improved with time.
"A significant book in this series"
I enjoyed this. I’ve listened to all the preceding books, and find myself still engaged and interested in what Ms Bishop is going to do with her world and characters.
The narrator manages a big cast list pretty well - I love that the vampires all have a Transylvanian hint, that the wolves are all gruff, and that Meg is always… well clearly Meg. She even manages to get variation into the “Aroo”s the wolves do. So while I know some listeners have issues with the narration, I feel it’s well done.
There’s some heavy stuff in this book - without giving anything away, any reader of this series will have seen the way things were going, and my goodness do they go that way! The big guns of the Others finally make an appearance, there are a lot of new characters, and a few new communities to absorb, so to make space, there’s less of Meg.
These books are an interesting mix of some quite juvenile bits, super powerful entities distracted by cookies, some significant human unpleasantness, and the very slow build of a relationship between two beings who are from very different worlds and species, one with some significant history to overcome.
I’ll stick with this - the next is due out next year. You need to read the preceding books to get this one.
"Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!"
A great book in the series!
This story has grown with each book and now is a rich story set in a unique, fascinating world both utterly unfamiliar and recognisable.
Meg, trapped by a future threatened by her gift of prophecy, is a catalyst for change.Simon Wolfgard, falling deeper in love with her, struggles to find a way to save her from herself.
Their world is spinning out of control when stupid, shortsighted humans stoke a fight with the Terre Indigine they cannot hope to win. These humans don't realise that, for the most part, they are only tolerated by the Terre Indigine, who will destroy them if pushed. They push, and the Others strike back.
Can't wait for the next book. The slow boil of Meg and Simon's growing romance is killing me!
I'm not wild about the narrator but the story is wonderful enough that it can be overlooked.
"To much of the same spreads the story thin..."
the storm is coming the human world will never be the same. a great build-up and a wonderful plot ruined by everything in between. I grew tired and bored of long episodes of insipid and unuseful details. the end of the world as we know it may be coming so who cares what books they need to buy and who will clean up the vomit in the office or who will send an email who will go shopping and so on and so forth. the events would have been anticipating since book 1 finally come to conclusion but ruined buy a book that feels spread thin with details already well-known. all in all I'm disappointed
"love this series!"
another great epusode in the struggle for control of land. chilling meeting with the Elders.
Both story and characters develop in this instalment of the series with quite drastic results. can't wait for the next book!
Another brilliant book in this great series, such a lot is happening and the story really moves on in leaps and bounds. It was great to read how Simon and the rest of the others are doing and to see how Meg is growing more and more into her roll of trail blazer.
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