Series: The Others #1
Published by Penguin Audio on March 5th 2013
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Length: 18 hrs 32 min
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As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.
Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.
I would highly recommend giving Anne Bishop and her The Others series a try. Such fascinating world building, appealing characters and just a hint of romance to spice it up.
The Cassandra Sangue or blood prophet known as Cs759 has escaped and from now on she intends to be called Meg Corbyn. But Meg was barely lucky enough to escape and trudging through a snowstorm with nothing more than jeans, sneakers, T-shirt, and light jacket won’t stop her from freezing to death before she can truly get free. With nowhere to go, Meg stumbles upon the Courtyard which is the land within the human city of Lakeside which belongs to the terra indigene–the Others or “earth natives”–who are not even close to human no matter what face they are wearing. As a blood prophet, Meg is the valuable property of the Controller and if he finds her, she will end up back at the compound forever locked away. So the two signs in the window of the bookstore can make all the difference to Meg, “Help Wanted” and “Human Laws Don’t Apply.” If she can get the job as the Human Liaison with the terra indigene, she will not have to fear being returned to the Controller. She will be safe, unless the Wolfgard or the one of the Sangiunati decide to eat her.
The Crowgard are finding their new liaison very entertaining and most of the terra indigene are intrigued by the human who shows kindness and respect to the inhabitants of the Courtyard. And the some of the residents are starting to think of the humans as more than just intelligent meat, or as they derogatorily refer to humans as “monkeys.”
Meg is winning over some of the terra indigene, but the turning point for all is when the leader of the Courtyard, Simon Wolfgard, leaves her in charge of his traumatized nephew when he has to leave for an emergency meeting. It is Meg who coaxes the young wolf out of a cage and into the sunshine for the first time in two years. That will earn her the loyalty of most of the terra indigene, but there are still others that see her “buddy-line” solution as nothing more than a Wolf on a leash and want to see her dead for the insult.
If Meg doesn’t have the protection of the Courtyard and from human laws, she won’t last long on the streets of Lakeside. Then again, the man who wants his property back has no use for laws, whether they are human or Other. He knows where Meg has been hiding and he is tired of waiting. If he can’t get the beasts to return her willingly, he will destroy the entire courtyard if necessary to get her back. Will the terra indigene turn Meg over to save their own, or do they now consider Meg to be one of their own?
Now that I have read this first book in the original series, I can see the similarities in the storylines between Written in Red and Lake Silence of a human who, through respect, wins the trust and loyalty of the very deadly locals. Just because they are both similar, doesn’t lessen the fact that both are really enjoyable stories.
I really like the fact that where most shifter/paranormal romances involve men and women who turn from human into animals, here the Wolfgard, Beargard, Crowgard, etc. are more animals who have learned to shift to resemble humans. Simon Wolfgard is the leader and often threatens to eat annoying humans. I thought it was funny when Simon invites Meg to watch a movie with him and his nephew, she hears a hesitency in his voice and wants to know if he doesn’t really want her to come over. But his reluctance isn’t about spending time with Meg, it is that just like how most women want to get home and take off their annoying bras at the end of the day, Simon wants to shed his human skin when he gets home so he can relax in his natural wolf form and he doesn’t think Meg can deal with seeing his wolf form.
There is no real romance to this story but as the story goes on we see Simon wanting to spend more and more time with Meg and sometimes uses excuses to himself to justify why he has to see her.
The only thing I find disturbing is the cutting of the blood prophets, which is how they prophesize. It makes me think of the real world young girls who cut themselves to relieve stress. The cassandra sangue experience pain in the cutting and the prophesies but also a euphoria that is almost sexual. I hope that no one finds that this story glorifies cutting.
I enjoyed this story so much that I purchased a kindle copy as well and used the whispersync feature to bounce between reading and listening so I could keep going with the story. I have already started Book 2, Murder of Crows. While I got a hint of what happens as this series progresses after reading Lake Silence, I am looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.
Meg said she was all right with him being Wolf while she watched the movie with Sam. He didn’t think she was lying.
He went upstairs and got Sam out of the bath, half listening to the grand plans the boy thought would fit into the couple of hours before bedtime. He let Sam dither over which movie to watch while he went into the kitchen and made the popcorn. Even in this form, the stuff didn’t have any particular appeal for him, but it was a traditional human treat when watching movies, so he made a big bowl of it for Meg and Sam to share.
He had just finished pouring the melted butter over the popcorn when someone knocked on the front door. Sam let out a sound that was part boy squeal and part Wolf howl as he rushed to the door and pulled it open.
The boy’s words tumbled over one another so fast, they made little sense except to convey happy excitement. Then Meg’s voice, still close to the door.
Simon cocked an ear. Why was she still close to the door? Had she changed her mind about spending time with them?
No, he realized as he heard her voice in the living room now. She had stopped to take off boots and coat. Why hadn’t she used the back door? Was front door a different message than back door?
He’d worked hard to learn the rules of doing business with humans, but there could be a whole other set of rules for personal interactions.
Frustrated now–and suspecting he was making a simple thing complicated–Simon brought the popcorn into the living room. He went back into the kitchen for two large mugs of water. Placing everything on the table in front of the sofa, he greeted Meg and retreated to the kitchen to shed the clothes and shift.
He crept toward the living room, silent and waiting. Sam and Meg put the movie disc in the player and got it started. He listened to the bits and pieces about other movies, listening to the boy and woman settling down on the sofa. He waited a couple of minutes longer, then slipped into the living room.
They were tucked at one end of the sofa, the bowl of popcorn on Meg’s lap, their eyes focused on the television.
A dart behind the sofa to come around the other side.
A moment’s tension. A moment’s fear. Then Meg patted the cushion and said, “I think we left enough room for you.”
He climbed up on the sofa, filling the remaining space.
“Popcorn?” Meg asked, tipping the bowl toward him.
As an answer, he turned away from the bowl, lightly pressing his muzzle and forehead against her upper arm. More tension, but when he did nothing, she slowly relaxed and began eating the popcorn.
Simon closed his eyes. Keeping his head against her arm, he breathed in the scents that were Meg. The hair was still stinky, but not so much now, and the rest of her smelled good. Pleasing. Comforting.
After a few minutes, he nudged her arm until his head rested on her thigh. Another moment of tension. Then, making no protest, she shifted the popcorn so she wouldn’t keep bopping him with the bowl.
A few minutes after that, he felt her fingers shyly burrowing into his fur.
The first time she sucked in a breath, he almost sprang up, thinking she’d heard something outside. Then he began to undestand the rhythm of her touch and Sam’s comments about the story. Dozing, he could follow the story through Meg’s fingers and breathing, only half listening to the boy’s “This is scary part, but they’ll be all right,” and “Watch what happens now!”
Pleasure. Comfort. Contentment.
Except for the hair, she really did smell good.