Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “That would be the first thing on her feedback list: don’t make people-shaped cookies.”
A large group of crows is often referred to as a murder of crow. Tightly knit and family orientated, when of their own is killed, they not only remember the perpetrator…they will not rest until justice is served.
Meg Corbyn, a Cassandra Sangue, gained the trust of the Others when she risked her life to save one of their own. She now resides permanently in the Lakeside Courtyard and is accepted by the Terre Indigene who live there. But Meg is finding out that living among the Others is confusing as she is still learning the rules on how to be human…and free.
When Meg begins to dream of blood and feathers, Simon Wolfguard, leader of the Lakeside Courtyard is positive the visions have something to do with the recent violence sparking between the Others and the humans. Both species are attacking each other, urged on by ingesting two unknown but very addictive drugs.
As violence spreads through the land and Meg’s need to speak her prophecies comes more frequently, trouble comes looking for Meg. Meg’s controller wants her back and is willing to do anything to make it happen. Lakeside won’t let Meg go without a fight and soon find themselves once again working with the humans to stop a man bent on recovering his property at any cost and an epidemic that could destroy them all.
Any sequel worth its weight will not only continue to evolve the storyline, but also the world and the characters who live in it. Bishop exceeds all expectations in her second installment of the Others series, Murder of Crows. Murder of Crows is a splendid continuation of the spellbinding magic we saw in book one, Written in Red. More suspense, intrigue, action, humor, and hints of romance await readers as Ms. Bishop opens the door back to a world and inhabitants that demand your full attention. Steady pacing and smooth engaging narratives tell us a story that is both complex and linear with its multiple story lines. Vivid descriptions and realistic detailing draw you in quickly. Once again, the underlying tension ratchets up the suspense in the story, building to an action packed finale that left me exalted.
While Written in Red was a brilliant set up for this dark urban fantasy that showed us an alternative world teeming with unrest, fear, and racism that exists between predator and its prey who share this world, Murder of Crows goes above and beyond in the expansion this world while focusing on a deeper development and commitment of the characters; especially our heroine, Meg.
Meg Corbyn is still trying to gain her footing in her new life. Experiencing freedom for the first time, she struggles to grasp the intricacies and nuances of being human and also how to live among the terre indigene. Though still not a warrior in the truest sense, her loyalty, compassion, and intelligence continues to grow and shine. She is learning to trust her instincts more and has become more self-confident with herself and around others.
Bishop continues to expand our knowledge of her shape shifter culture as she reveals other various species of terre indigene, using them to highlight the unique changes that are happening within the Lakeside Courtyard. These changes are significant as it begins to alter the dynamics that currently exist between humans and the Others. Changes that not only affects some human perceptions but also some shape shifter perceptions. Bishop uses this information to push the boundaries of the overall arc beyond the area it was limited to in book one. Her introduction of new characters, backgrounds, and situations this early on allows for multiple future storyline options and graces this installment with a more serious and deadly intent.
“It’s bad out there. Maybe you should close your eyes.”
“Wolf,” she said gently, “I’ve already seen it.”
While the romance is as unsure as it was in book one, it holds a stronger place in this story. Bishops does a fabulous job of balancing the conflict between the Others and the humans against the conflict developing between Meg and Simon. We must remember that Meg is emotionally a teenager in a woman’s body. She has none of the instinct or knowledge that is intuitive to most of us when confronted with certain situations. Plenty of humor flows as Meg tries to understand the varying differences between friendship, sexual attraction, and everything in between. The laughs only come harder as Simon struggles to understand his feelings for Meg and what they mean as the rest of the courtyard watches and offers them advice.
“Who knows what Others really think about. Does it feel good to them when in human form in a way that’s commensurate with our experiences, or do they view it as an experiment-the equivalent of one of us tonguing the family pet to see what it’s like?”
Vivacious and personable secondary characters walk hand in hand with our protagonists; each more than able to hold their own against the powerful dynamics that make up Meg and Simon. An eclectic bunch whose personalities and individualism only serve to heighten the appeal as Bishop divulges deeper into their relationships amongst each other, the humans, and within themselves. I adore Meg’s interactions with them. She has come a long way since the first day she arrived; cold, wet, and scared.
“Would you like cookie?”
Nathan stared at her.
He stared at her.
“Three, and that’s my final offer.”
Multiple story lines and subplots run parallel and intertwine with some interesting and staggering results. Bishop have never been one to shy away from violence in her books and abuse is committed on many levels in here. Meg and the Others are learning who can and who cannot be trusted as the people behind the violence and their plans become more clear. There is a higher agenda we have not seen yet though Bishop has been dropping clues throughout the series.
Ms. Bishop has achieved a perfect balance of dark and light in this series. Enough intrigue and action to keep you glued to the pages while cleverly interjected humorous scenes keeps you from despairing that the outcome will be anything but wanted. As we race towards the end, we are once again given a viable resolution to the main conflict with just enough left to chance to transition us seamlessly into the next book; title to be announced. Once again, Ms. Bishop has managed to astound and captivate me with this series and I can’t wait for book three.