Genre fiction lover: Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Meg Corbyn - a blood prophet. Blood prophets are human girls known as cassandra sangue. They give prophecy but must cut their flesh in order for the prophecy to be heard. Meg's appearance at the Lakeside Courtyard has set off a series of game-changing events.
Simon Wolfgard - An Other. A race of non-humans known as terra indigene. His natural form is a wolf and he can shift into a human body. He is the leader of the Courtyard in the city of Lakeside. A Courtyard is a sovereign enclave where Others live within a city, created to foster cooperation and trade between humans and Others.
Vlad Sanguinati - an Other. Also known as Vampire. A high ranking member of the Courtyard's ruling body and often a right-hand man to Simon. The Sanguinati are very protective of Meg and would spread that protection to other cassandra sangue.
Lieutenant Montgomery - a human. Member of the Lakeside police force. Understands that how he works and interacts with the Others in the Courtyard can help foster the tenuous peace that currently exists between the humans and the Others. Is often privy to eye-opening information about the Others that most humans have no idea about.
The Elementals - a race of Others. Anthropomorphic embodiments of natural elements. The sisters Winter and Spring are very protective of Meg. If the terra indigene feel that humans are being harmful to the Others they may call on such Elementals as Fire, Water, Air etc. to wreak vengeance on human settlements. The Elementals have steeds who live in the Courtyard stables in pony form. The steeds have such names an Tornado, Hurricane, Earthquake etc.
Tess - she runs the snack bar that is part of the bookstore in The Courtyard. She is an Other. There is no name for what she is. Probably the scariest (M)Other of them all.
This book begins almost right where the previous book left off. The Elementals were pissed by the human commando team that attacked the Courtyard in an attempt to kidnap Meg. They brought down a winter storm of biblical proportions onto the city of Lakeside. Things have calmed down, but the humans are starting to feel threatened and resentful and Meg is having dark prophetic nightmares.
Not much was known about the mysterious cassandra sangue before Meg showed up. But now that she has escaped the institution where she was kept, her information about the inhumane conditions the young girl prophets are kept in, in hidden places around the country has raised alarm amongst the Others and the small group of humans in the know. Not only that but the effect of ingesting any of the cassandra sangue blood that was only hinted at in the previous book is revealed to everyone. It becomes a major issue since the man who kept Meg and others like her is using the blood to foment a war between humans and the Others. And because another human settlement has been obliterated because of it.
I hate it when I read a book like this. When it ends, I flounder a bit. The world is so immersive, the characters so real and the story so interesting that when it is over I can't dis-engage. And I don't want to read something else because I am still mentally back there with all of them.
The first book did a great job of building a fascinating world and introducing all these characters. This book deepens all of that. Here we learn so much more about the blood prophets, the girls, where they originally came from, how they are acquired and sadly... how inhumanely they are treated. It is sad that until Meg made her great escape no one seemed to know much or care very much about them. They were forgotten. But because of Meg and because of the single-minded pursuit of the man only known as The Controller who wants her back at all costs, their plight is front and center. And it is to everyone's benefit that it is.
It is also a testament, again, to how well Anne Bishop has built her world. The complexities of how the prophecy work, how important the body chemistry is while the prophecy is happening, and how the mental state of the prophet is significant is great stuff. It is also critical to the plot. It also very neatly answers the question from the first book why when the Others met Meg she did not smell like prey.
As in the previous book there are great moments of plot revelation, action sequences, villains that must be neutralized and character development. We meet some new characters including Others from around the country and some of the previous minor characters get some time front and center.
I also liked the progression of Simon and Meg's relationship. It isn't a romance per se. But Simon is incredibly possessive of Meg and he acknowledges that when he is in his human form, he is attracted to Meg's human form on some level. Meg is nervous when Simon is in his human form when they are alone, but isn't sure really why. Everyone else around them recognize it for what it is...a burgeoning of something. But everyone is also aware that Simon isn't human and Meg isn't mentally ready for anything remotely sexual.
I am loving this series and this world. Bring on the rest!