Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Anne Bishop - Etched in Bone

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…
As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.
With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave.

Comment: This is the most recent installment in the Others series by author Anne Bishop. This series has been very successful and the world building one of the best that probably has been created in the last years in fantasy.
Although this was also the last book in the series that focused on characters Meg and Simon and the Lakeside Courtyard community, it appears the series will continue in another setting, still featuring Others and humans and this is great news!

In this last installment we see the repercussions of the Elders' actions in the last book when the humans' movements against the Others were defeated in a huge counter attack.
In the Courtyard life seems to go on as usual, with the normal situations to be dealt with but suddenly things change because two Elders decide to see what's special about the human pack within the Courtyard and also because Monty's brother and his family come to live in Lakeside. But the brother's reputation isn't the best and his actions shady and with second intentions. How will his presence affect the balance the community has? Can Meg and Simon maintain the human pack intact?

As it has happened with the other books in the series, I was very eager to red this one and when I finished it, this feeling of having been with beloved friends was still with me as well.
I know I keep repeating myself in every comment I write about this series' installments but this author is an absolute genius when it comes to give life to every character, to construct a community and our understand of it. Even when nothing more serious than a simple conversation happens we still have the feeling is an important part of the whole thing. I really like how each single word seems to matter and always gives us some feeling or notion.

The plot isn't too complicated, basically the Elders show up, they don't reveal themselves to many characters but they are key in why certain decisions are taken, namely why it's allowed for Monty's brother Jimmy to stay in the Courtyard for so long. All action revolves around this idea and many decisions seem to derive directly from Jimmy's actions and choices. There's an interesting sociological aspect here, even from a reality POV, and obviously things don't go too well for Jimmy... but there's a good pace in the story and, like I said, because everything feels important, it feels like we are just getting news from people we care about and time doesn't seem to go by in a unsatisfactory way.

The personal relationships are the best part of this series...it's amazing to see characters that were "designed" a certain way or come from a specific background, I'm referring to the Others in particular, and how by dealing with humans, other emotions and expectations come to surface.
Simon and Meg, an Other and a human (even if special) have a strong bond and in this book we finally have them talk about it. I do confess the end wasn't what i expected but it was extremely sweet and adorable.

I don't have enough words, nor can I write them with talent as mrs Bishop does - and she makes it seem to easy and flawless - but this series really is amazing. It offers such a large range of emotions and human aspects, even in the characters who are not human. The best thing I always get out of these books is simple: be a good, honest and loyal person and no matter what is around you, no matter how bad things can get, you'll always have your own conscience and, eventually, maybe, someone else will know the goodness of your heart.
Grade: 9/10

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