Title: Murder of Crows (The Others #2)
Author: Anne Bishop
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Summary: After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.
The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard — Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader — wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.
As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.
So I just read the first book in this series, Written in Red a few days ago, and if you saw my review, you know that I loved it. I magically managed to get my hands on this one just a few days after that and I was so impressed with it.
I can’t help but compare these books to other Urban Fantasy ones and I’m so pleased with the differences. Instead of the common kickass heroine, we have vulnerable Meg. We get a great terrifying world without loads of humans having hot sex with supernatural creatures and dark night clubs and crap like that. Secondary characters have layers and depth and add to the story, instead of just being there to serve a purpose or offer comedic relief. There is amazing story lines and mystery and political power struggles, all woven perfectly into a gritty, dark world. I find these books so refreshing and they have ruined lots of other Urban Fantasy books for me now.
One of the things that I enjoyed so much about the first book was the interesting world that Anne Bishop had created, and in this book she just builds so much onto it. We get introduced to new characters and creatures, as well as delving even deeper into the ones we already know. The tension between the humans and the Others is rising in this book, with the Humans First and Last movement gaining followers, and we really get a huge display of power from the Others when Meg sees exactly what will happen to the humans if they don’t comply with the Others. They are truly scary when they are determined. It’s so exciting to be in a world when humans are terrified by the supernatural creatures, instead of infatuated. It feels so realistic and gritty to see these reactions when people are faced with things so unknown and dangerous and powerful.
A lot about Meg and her addiction to cutting comes to light in this book, we get to explore a bit more what it means to be cassandra sangue and how her need to cut is affecting her. Her kind aren’t known for living past thirty but the need to cut, to release her prophecies is something that Meg cannot physically ignore. The problem is that every cut she makes brings her that much closer to the one that will kill her or drive her mad. Seeing how difficult it is for her to try and control, as well as how every scrape or paper cut she gets affects her, it’s almost sad to watch because she wants to have a life and it keeps bringing up new problems. With this we get less of Sam in the book since he is a puppy and more likely to hurt Meg, so they are kept apart a lot, something that might be necessary but hurts them both.
Simon and Meg have few relationship issues happening in this book, trying to decide where they fall as friends or more. It’s funny because as the reader, you can see that they are totally starting to fall in love with each other, but between Meg who has been kept in a cage her whole life, and Simon who is a wolf before a human most of the time, neither of them see or understand that. Simon is struggling through this book with being too human and understanding his very human feelings for Meg, or translating his wolf instincts into human emotions. It makes you laugh a lot because they are just kind of bumbling around trying to figure out what’s going on, when it’s obvious to all of their human friends. I have to wonder though, when they do realize that they love each other, because it will happen, how is that going to sit with the rest of the Others? They all love Meg so I can’t imagine it will be a problem, but she is still human and in this book, several of Simon’s companions express concern at him acting more human. So I’m honestly not sure how it’s going to go down.
One of the most fun parts of reading these books is seeing the words or pictures that Meg gets with her prophecies and trying to piece it all together. It’s so interesting to see how she interprets things and puts them together to basically tell a story of whats going to happen. Everyone tries to figure out what they mean, but it’s exciting when the time comes, to see just how her prophecy plays out and how close they were to getting it right. I’m pretty sure that when the scenes finally came along that the prophecy foretold, I was jumping up and down, screeching “I knew it! I freaking knew it!”
A lot of this book had to do with the other girls in Meg’s compound, as well as just other cassandra sangue in general. Their blood is being used to create the drugs that make the Other’s lethargic and the one that causes intense rage. So Meg and the Others are trying to find where she came from and stop the Controller and free the girls. It’s sad because in this book we get to see Meg’s friend Jean, who helped her escape but she had to leave behind. Jean is still alive and being used, and she knows that Meg is important, but she still wants to be free so bad, it’s upsetting to read about. Seeing how these girls are treated is so sickening, and you start to understand where some of Meg’s problems come from. You really truly start to hate the despicable person that is the Controller and after just one chapter in his POV, I was ready for Simon to come along and rip his throat out.
This book was just as fast paced and suspenseful as the first one. There were some really dark and disturbing parts, one in particular that involved live girls being put into meat grinders, but they fit into this world so well and just add to the hatred of the Controller. The world building is really expanded with new information and characters, layering onto what we already learned from the first book. It think this series is great so far, with the dark atmosphere and sense that these books are just leading up to something big, I can’t wait to see what Anne Bishop has in store for the next book.