Soooo… I was in a reading slump which is why there was no review yesterday but decided to follow my own advice and sought out a book I knew I would like. Yesterday, I had a quick library run and picked up Murder of Crows. THANK ALL THE DEITIES I LISTENED TO MYSELF. Yeah, that’s another FIVE STARS for you, Ms. Anne Bishop. Congratulations on being amazing. You’re already on my list of favourite authors.
Opening the pages felt like coming home. I’d already decided by the end of the first book that Anne Bishop could do no wrong with these novels because the characters had already taken hold of my heart so it astounds me to no end that in this book, I’ve fallen in love with them even more.
Here are some of the things I loved:
- An expanding world and new characters. A host of new characters are introduced with the same finesse found in the first book. I was particularly fun to read about the Intuits of Great Island. I could really feel the connection and sense of community between their inhabitants and am looking forward to seeing what role they’ll play in the events of the next book, especially with their new resident.
- Slow-burn romance. Emphasis on the slow. A few glowing embers of a fire have appeared and I absolutely loved this. The relationship between Meg and Simon develops so organically — as it should — and it’s approached with care. The two of them are complicated in their own ways and it wouldn’t do their characters justice to have them jumping on each other for sexy times without developing anything between them. As with a lot of the things in this series so far, there is a very human story beneath all the supernatural elements and I really felt it in their relationship. This is because of how it emphasises the value of friendship. Meg and Simon acknowledge this on multiple occassions, both in thought and in words. You see it in how they, when faced with a misunderstanding that usually stems from the differences in their nature, talk things through with honesty. How they make efforts to understand the things about the other that confuse them. How they compromise. It is especially refreshing to see a male, Wolf character be honest with himself about such feelings, even though he doesn’t realise those feelings are much more than friendship.
- Tension galore and Captain Burke. I loved how the tension was so palpable in this book, especially as Captain Burke played a more active role. That scene in the with him and the Hot Crust employees was one of my favourites because it felt like an assertion of how serious the tensions between the humans and the Others were. You can’t just simply put a “Humans Only” sign on your doors and refuse to send deliveries to the Courtyard and not get away with it. The humans live because the Others let them, a fact that seems to be forgotten by the humans as they become more arrogant (stupid). It’s amazing how, while I understand where the humans are coming from, I can side with the Others quite easily. Of course, this issue is very much a parallel to the history of the real world, with explorers claiming ownership to land and resources belonging to indigenous peoples.
- The human pack. They played a bigger role in this book and it was great to see more scenes with them together. They go through the ringer a little in this, labeled as “Wolf lovers” and shunned by their friends and family as employees and frequent visitors to the Courtyard. But I loved how level-headed they remain compared to the rest of the humans. There’s a conversation they have in the sorting room where they come to the realisation that all of this fighting and tension between the humans and the Others merely comes down to misunderstanding. Both sides have never taken the effort to really get to know and understand each other, their interactions merely like a business deal. You give me that and I’ll give you this. That’s no way to co-exist. It was a really great moment because you could see, especially through Ruth, how much a little effort to understand can change things, and I hope we get to see more of that in the next book with the role that she’ll play in the Courtyard.
- A different heroine. I’ve seen some reviews that have said Meg is boring and I am here to argue that she is not. She is simply different. Most female protagonists in urban fantasies are made from the same mould: they kick butt, are stubborn and tend to break the rules, and are probably proficient with a *insert weapons of choice here*, or become proficient later on. But Meg’s weapon is her kindness, which I touched on a little in my review of Written In Red. She is kind. That is who she is at her core and as a cassandra sangue and it’s not a weakness. In a world filled with so much tension and violence both on the human and Others side, she is a bright ray of hope and peace. She is strong in her own way. She is smart. She is a survivor. And she, armed only with a broom, will save a Wolf, much to approval of scary Others, thank you very much.
Overall, it was another great read. Though I’m kind of hesitant to start Vision in Silver because Marked in Flesh, the fourth book, comes out and in March 2016 and who can actually wait that long? Barbaric, I tell you. Barbaric.