4 out of 5 stars.
I received an ARC of this book.
This is the fourth in a series I already very much enjoyed, so I was super excited to be able to read this one early.
Anne Bishop’s series “The Others” takes place in a world geographically a lot like ours, but in which humanity uneasily lives alongside the terra indigene, a collection of various mythical creatures who were the land’s original inhabitants. This includes vampires, shape shifters and other creatures older and more powerful than anything else existing. The humans live only in small settlements that are on land temporarily rented to them by the terra indigene and survive by being useful enough to convince the shape shifters and vampires to not eat them. As the series go on, the Humans First movement is stirring up trouble by insisting that humanity deserves more than the Others are willing to give them.
Meg Corbyn is a blood prophet, able to see the future when her skin is cut. At the beginning of the first book she had escaped from a facility where girls like her are kept and their prophecies are sold to those who can pay. She stumbles, disoriented, into the wintery night and ends up on the doorstep of the courtyard, a rare place where the Others try to live alongside humans, an embassy between the worlds. Despite their distrust of humans, the leader of the courtyard, a wolf shapeshifter named Simon, takes Meg in and employs her to work in the mail room. Meg slowly adapts to the courtyard and the friendship of the beings around her, and starts to be a useful liaison between humans and the Others.
In this fourth addition to the series the conflicts between the Other and the Humans First movement are coming to a head. Certain boisterous humans are advocating violence against the Others, forgetting their very precarious position in the world.
The entire series is very well written and the characters are very personable. Meg has to be taught about human behaviour by creatures who do not always understand it themselves, so the books have a good sense of humour. The best thing is probably the mounting tension and sense of urgency the writer is able to convey. The novels pull you in and make it very hard to stop reading. Especially this last book. The entire book reads like a walk home before a storm hits. It is hurried and anxious and makes for a very compelling read.The narrative is a good mix of day to day details and overarching plots and themes so you don’t get bored, but get enough minutiae that things seem real.
I completely enjoy these books. The world is well written and realistic and the action keeps you moving quickly through the text. A definite read for all fantasy fans!