Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

etched-in-bone

3 out of 5 stars.

*spoilers for the first four books

What I most enjoy about this series is the world. The vast majority of fantasies that feature other types of creatures has them in hiding from humans, usually because of numbers. Despite vampires and werewolves being clearly superior hunters, humans outnumber them so much they have decided to hide as a defence strategy. This series does not have that. Humanity consists of small enclaves existing on land rented from the powerful “others” (a random mix of a bunch of mythical creatures) who see us as glorified snacks. Humans exists by the whim of those much more powerful, and are conscious (at least most of them) that one wrong move will wipe out their species.

I like the tension that constantly builds throughout this series as certain humans try to push the boundaries of what they can do and the Other threaten violent backlash. It builds right up until the fourth book, when humans finally tick off the Others too much and settlements are wiped off of the map. This fifth book now reads a lot more like the first book, being more concerned with one settlement and its inhabitants, rather than the ever-expanding scope of the last couple, where we were watching things that would affect most of the continent.

Meg is continuing to grow as a character, but she still needs to be rescued, which I find somewhat annoying. The plot of every books seems to be EVERYONE needing to protect the one character, which was okay at first, but is starting to feel a little repetitive. Can’t they attack someone else for a change? Her relationships have changed very little from the  first book, and the cast is much the same.

This is another one of those fantasy series where the villains are comically stupid and, while it is very satisfying seeing them get their comeuppance, their cartoonishness starts to grate after a bit. Maybe, though, it is just watching the Trump campaign and comparing it to the human-first movement in these books. You know that if this party takes it too far, and they will, it will end in complete disaster, but they keep doing their thing anyways. It has all the grace of a train wreck but you cannot look away.

I have enjoyed this series, but it is starting to get repetitive. None of the characters, nor their relationships, are growing enough to keep pace with the books and the central conflict is the same as the first book. It reads like the first book, over and over. The world is neat

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