Series: The Others #4
Published by Roc on March 7th 2017
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.
New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves…
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
Anne Bishop created and destroyed her worlds in The Others series. In Etched in Bone, we see what comes next.
The Humans First and Last Movement has been destroyed along with a good portion of the human population. Humans forgot that they existed and thrived in Thaisai at the benevolence of the terre indigene who owned and leased the lands to them so they could create their towns and cities. Now the entire continent will wait to see when, and even if, Intuits, terre indigene and remaining humans can start again.
The Elders killed off a significant portion of the troublesome humans who declared they didn’t have enough and who tried to kill the terre indigene. But while they might have killed off many of the members of the Humans First and Last Movement, the Elders (Namid’s teeth and claws) have no idea that there is such a things as good and bad humans. To them, all humans were behaving badly. Since the decency of the human being destroyed wasn’t a factor in the Elders choices, there are still plenty of humans looking to profit off of others and who think they deserve more.
While most of the Elders have gone back into the corners of the wild country, a few have stayed behind to watch and observe the wolf and the howling-not-wolf (Simon and Meg) and the rest of the Lakeside Courtyard which now includes a human pack. They are still watching and waiting to see if leaving even some humans alive was the right decision.
One of the humans looking to profit off of others is Lt Montgomery’s own brother, Cyrus. Monty wants his brother gone before he creates a problem that could cause the Elders to finish what they started. But the Elders want to observe this “bad human” closely so that they can make a determination in the future of which humans are better to simply eat and be done with it. Everyone in the Courtyard and in the Police Department knows that Cyrus is a bomb just waiting to explode and destroy everything they have been working so hard again but with the Elders demanding a front row seat for the fireworks, they can’t do anything but watch and wait and hope. But while they are waiting and hoping, Cyrus is plotting and everyone is going to be sorry.
It is not just Lakeside and the Courtyard that are recovering from the recent purge. Many of the human-run towns in the midwest have been decimated and one of them in Bennett. They need new workers and trained professions. They also need to make sure there is a mix of the terre indigne, Intuits, Simple Life and humans and they want Simon’s help weeding out the candidates to fill the needed positions. This will set us up for Wild Country which releases in March 2019, where we will go to Bennett and see how things go with the candidates that we meet at the Job Fair.
I love the world building in this series and I very much like the twist of shifters who are animals who turn into humans (it is a very important difference).
I do have some issues with the cutting of the blood prophets and also some concerns that anything sexual in this series is references to rape, abuse and sexual assault. I understand that kissing isn’t a wolf-thing but in the first book, Simon address the fact that some humans like to come to the Courtyard to get wild and have sex with terre indigene. Even Simon did this, and wonders if it would be different if the human was Meg. This was the only book in the entire series actually addresses the fact that the feelings that Simon and Meg feel are strong than just a simple bond of friendship, but that if things changed from friends to more between Simon and Meg and it did not work out, their break up could have devastating repercussions throughout the Courtyard and the Town of Lakeside and maybe even Thaisai as a whole. In this series, Meg is uncomfortable with naked Simon when he changes from wolf to human because his nakedness (not really any of the others) makes her uncomfortable and she keeps him at arms length whenever tensions build between them. Yet in a moment after Meg experiences the haze and euphoria following a prophecy (which is basically an orgasm), a bad human sexually assaults her and was going to rape her but stops when he is almost discovered. So Simon and Meg exploring their growing bond sexually is a no-no and bad for the series but Meg almost being raped is a plot point?
The pros in this series outweigh the cons but I have had moments when I want to give the author a hug and ask if there is anything she wants to talk about.
Something thumped the back door of the Liaison’s Office hard enough to startle a growl out of Nathan, who was in the front room, and had Pete Denby, in his office upstairs, hurrying toward the back of the building to check things out.
Meg opened the back door, then stepped on the scrap of paper that almost fluttered away. She picked it up.
“Oh, you do, do you?”
Sure that whoever had left the paper was watching nearby, Meg stepped outside and shook her finger. “When someone makes a request for a treat, that person should say please. That’s the polite thing to do.”
She waited, sure that the puppies or juveniles who had left the paper would come slinking out of their hiding places with their head down and their tails tucked. But there was nothing but an odd silence that made her feel strange.
Feeling uncertain but refusing to act like a scared bunny, she shook her finger again and shouted, “You are being bad puppies!”
She looked up at Pete, who stood on the upstairs landing. “Just setting boundaries,” she said, going back inside.
Nathan was in the back room waiting for her. As soon as she crossed the threshold, he sniffed her. When he sniffed the paper in her hand, he pushed her further into the room, then hit the door with both front paws, slamming it shut.
He herded her into the sorting room and whacked that door shut before he shifted to human form.
The stunned look on his face stopped her from commenting about his being naked.
“Have you lost your mind?” He almost howled the words.
“Puppies need to learn manners,” she replied, annoyed by his tone. “Just because they want cookies doesn’t mean I’m going to run out and fetch a treat for them.”
“Puppies.” Nathan stared at her. “You think puppies left that note?”
“Well, who else…?” She thought about the storm that had swept through Lakeside last month and how something had explored the Liaison’s Office, poking round in all the cupboards while a thick fog had blanketed the city. And she suddenly remembered what other form of terra indigene like fresh-baked Wolf cookies. “Oh.”
Another thump shook the building.
“Stay here,” Nathan said. He slipped into the back room.
It felt like she’d waited a week, but she was pretty sure it was only a minute before he returned and handed her another scrap of paper.
want cukkies pleeze
Meg sucked in air, only then realizing she’d been holding her breath while she waited for Nathan.
“Meg,” Nathan whined, following her to the back room.
She opened the door and poked her head out. “The cookies will be here in a little while.” She paused, then added, “Arroo!“
Closing the door, she sank to the floor. Nathan, back in Wolf form, licked her face before slumping next to her. She burrowed her fingers into his fur and felt the tremors going through him.
“Guess I shouldn’t have scolded them, huh?” she said.
Nathan looked at her. “Roo!“
Meg pushed up from the floor when she heard someone calling her from the front room. “That’s the mailman I’d better get to work.”
Vlad stared at Simon. “Meg told the Elders they were…”
“Bad puppies,” Simon finished. “Yeah.”
A minute passed before Vlad said, “Why?”
“They didn’t say ‘please’ when they asked for cookies.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
Simon scratched behind an ear that was now Wolf-shaped and furry. “That’s okay. Meg said plenty for all of us.”