Genre fiction lover: Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
You know how people say, I read this is one sitting? Well, I literally did. I sat down this morning, started it, and did not get up to do another thing til I finished it.
Our story so far: Meg Corbyn, a young blood prophet known as a cassandra sangue, ran away from the only place she had known and stumbled into a place called a 'Courtyard'. It is an enclave, almost like a reservation, where the inhabitants are called the Others. They live, trade and do business with the humans. When they choose, they can also appear human. But they are not. Meg is hired to work for them as as their human liaison.
Little did they, or anyone else, know what a huge ripple effect Meg's disappearance and interaction with The Others would have.
In the first book, Written in Red - Anne Bishop, the plot -- such as it was -- was really centered on just Meg. Who she was was a mystery, what she was was a revelation. Her relationship with Simon Wolfgard, the leader of the Courtyard in the town of Lakeside served as a good backdrop for what was most important in the book, the worldbuilding. Into this mix was also a newly arrived police Lieutenant Montgomery who sort of acted as the de facto entree into the world for the audience. Through Monty we learn a lot and are witness to events as they unfold.
In the second book, Murder of Crows - Anne Bishop, the story & the world expands and we learn about the other cassandra sangue and how they've been treated and are given a close up stark look at why Meg ran. The ripples of Meg's running have spread outward to include the actions of the Others in the Lakeside Courtyard and their defense of not only Meg but the other girls like her.
In this book, the ripples widen further, so much so that Meg's defection has set off a chain of events and have dovetailed onto a wider conspiracy that have world-wide implications.
This is no longer just about Meg although our plucky heroine plays a large role still. Now that the cassandra sangue have been released and the conditions under which they have been kept have been exposed to the world, the consequences of decisions made by Simon hit them all hard. These girls have no coping skills, they have not been socialized in the normal way so many of them are experiencing stimulus overload. Some simply can't cope. Even Meg is starting to feel the effects of such data overload and she is beginning to break down as well.
During all this the faction known as Humans First and Last make a bold move and begin a propaganda initiative that starts to divide people against each other and begins to dangerously ratchet up tensions between the humans and The Others. Montgomery's situation with his ex-girlfriend and his daughter Lizzy takes a prominent role in this book. Since his ex was living with the charismatic leader of the HFL movement, that element comes roaring center stage and forms a lot of the main plot element of this book. I was kinda worried about poor little Lizzy and am glad we get some closure there.
The thing that I have enjoyed the most about this series is the world-building. This book really ups the ante with the complexity of what is going on in the wider world. Not only how ill-equipped everybody is with understanding the special needs of the cassandra sangue, but also showing how ill-equipped The Others are in understanding humans. One subplot from the previous books what that Humans have been waging a long term and subtle war against The Others in the social arena. They have been sly about showing The Others how they don't fit in with human ways. As a result, The Others have been reluctant to attend human schools, eat at human restaurants or interact with humans socially because they have been used to scorn.
In this book that ignorance of human ways has a terrible side effect. The Others are straightforward in how they deal with things. They are action oriented and often take words at their most literal value (Simon is confused as to how a young human would turn into a goat after a child is referred to as a 'kid'). So they don't realize until it is too late that words can be used as weapons as well. By the time they realize it, The Human First and Last has been manipulating the media to slant news stories to make The Others take the blame for situations they themselves set up for the sole purpose of casting doubt.
But all that is moot. Because we as readers know that just as much as The Others have misunderstood the humans, the humans underestimation of The Others is much, much worse. The book ends on a simultaneously hopeful and rather ominous note with Simon and Meg still at the center of it all.
Great story. Great series