Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop.

Stars: 4 out of 5.

With Murder of Crows, we are back in the world of the Others, and I am very happy about that! This is a fascinating world and Anne Bishop lets us explore it a bit further in this second book of the series. I have also reviewed the first book in the series, Written in Red.

A lot happens in this book. We learn more about the origins of the drugs “feel good” and “gone over wolf”. We discover that there are human settlements on the Others land that are under the Others’ control. The people who chose to live there did so because they were persecuted by other humans for being different. The Others granted them asylum from persecution in exchange for work and goods. Those humans, Simple Life folks and Intuits, are not considered “meat” per se, but they are not considered friends either – they are simply tolerated as long as they don’t break the rules.

It was interesting to look at the settlements and the human / Others interaction outside of the Lakeside Courtyard. It was also a stark reminder that humans are just tolerated on this continent, and that there are a lot more dangerous terra indigene inhabiting the deep wild country that would not hesitate to wipe them off the land if provoked. It also served to emphasis just how progressive Simon is as the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard. He actually tries to work with the human authorities instead of just dealing with most of the problems the terra indigene way –  eat the intruder, throw the personal belongings out of the Courtyard for the police to find.

Speaking of the humans in the Lakeside Courtyard, we also see changes that are a direct consequence from the previous book. Meg has been accepted by all the inhabitants of the Courtyard. She is part of the Pack, even though she isn’t terra indigene, but she isn’t “smart meat” either. This is a source of confusion for Simon and and some of the other members of the Business association until they decide that she is just The Meg and leave it at that.

Another big change is that the humans working in the Courtyard become Meg’s human pack, so they transition from being just employees who are not eatable unless they misbehave to people the Others feel obliged to protect, especially when the rest of the human population of Lakeside turns on them and dubs them Wolf lovers.

And the Others finally turn their attention to the cassandra sangue  and those who keep them and bleed them for profit. The consequences of that attention will be life-changing for everyone concerned…

I loved this book. I got to spend more time with all the characters I grew to love in Book 1 and watch their relationship develop and become stronger. I got to see more of this fascinating world of Others and discover a bit more about its inhabitants.

So by now you are probably wondering why I only gave this book 4 stars instead of 5? I have one problem with it, but it’s a problem significant enough to deduct a whole star, because it tarnished my enjoyment a little.

There are a lot of things happening in this book, and a lot of different forces threaten Meg and the Courtyard inhabitants, as well as some of the other terra indigene we encounter, but there was almost no suspense, at least not for me. And the reason for this being that Meg would always have a prophesy that would warn them beforehand about the bad stuff coming their way, so that they are prepared. I understand that it’s part of who she is and what this whole world is about, but it kills the suspense. I don’t worry about the characters anymore, because I KNOW nothing will happen to them, no matter how threatening the danger is…

It could have been easily rectified though. Meg is only one blood prophet. The Controller has a whole compound full of them. Why don’t the bad guys get prophesies before they set out to do anything as well? That way they would at least see what would work and what would fail miserably. Or we could have the Others fail to interpret Meg’s visions correctly, or understand the warning only AFTER the fact. If some of the evil plans actually succeeded and there had been casualties among the cast we grew to love, I would have been more invested in the story. It’s hard to be worried about characters when the author portrays Meg’s power as infallible.

But despite that, I enjoyed Murder of Crows and I would definitely recommend it. Can’t wait for Book 3 to come out.

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